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Archive for July, 2011

We had heard that the Pipiwai Trail was one of the best hikes on the island of Maui. Unfortunately it is located on the far southeastern part of the island, a good distance from just about everything else on the island. It would certainly be helpful to stay in Hana. We were staying in Kihei however, and decided it was worth getting up early for.

We left our condo at 630am and headed out along the Hana Highway. We decided to go against the grain and head in a counter-clockwise direction, in the hopes of avoiding most of the traffic that is normally found along the Hana Highway each day. So we headed up through Kula and onwards towards the Haleakala Visitor Center via the Kipahulu highway. The views are very impressive as you ascend the Haleakala volcano, and we could even see the Big Island:

Looking back towards central Maui, you can just see the towns of Kihei and Wailea
Maui Panoramic

View of the lava fields and the Big Island in the distance:
Lava Field View

We arrived at the Kipahulu Visitor Center around 930am. The parking lot was pretty much empty, with only a few other cars. We stopped in at the visitor center to ask them about the trail conditions. The staff there was very helpful and gave us a good update, and directions on which trail to take. So we headed up the trail and across the highway. The first part of the trail is a bit of a climb, some of it through an open field with little shade. Within half an hour or so, we arrived at the Makahiku Falls Overlook, although as we had learned at the visitor center, the falls were pretty much dry and no water was flowing from the top. Still a pretty good overlook though into the valley below the falls. A few minutes later we arrived at a fork in the trail – to the left was the main trail, to the right was Makahiku Falls. Since we knew the falls were dry, we decided to check it out – despite the various warning signs. We definitely would not have gotten so close if the water was flowing, and looking back now might not have gotten so close regardless. I was pretty nervous while standing near the edge, as my survival instincts were telling me this was not a place I should be. I reached out with the camera and took a quick photo downwards. This one still makes me a bit nervous to look at:

Looking down the falls

I walked across to the other side, and made my way upstream, to get a better vantage point of the infinity pool at the top of the falls. What an amazing view, and a sight I will not forget:

Infinity Pool

From there it was back to the main trail. There were a few other small side trails along the way, leading to other small waterfalls and pools. We checked out most of them – some were worth it, some not so much.

One of the highlights of the trail that we had been looking forward to was the bamboo forest. We knew it was coming, but weren’t quite sure where it was on the trail. We came to a bridge, and the bamboo forest appeared before us:

Into the Bamboo Forest

It turns out it is near the mid-point of the trail, 1.2 miles from the visitor center:

Bamboo Forest

This was our favorite part of the entire trail. We could have made it this far, and turned around satisfied. There is a nice boardwalk throughout much of the bamboo forest. It definitley made for easier walking, although it seemed a bit slippery in places where the boardwalk was wet (it might be rather hard to walk on in the rain).

Pipiwai Boardwalk

Amazing Bamboo Forest

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai trail

We eventually made it to the end of the trail, and were treated to the view of Waimoku Falls. It had been dry for a while prior to our visit, so there was not a lot of water flowing. But with a drop of 400 feet, it was still an impressive sight:

Waimoku Falls

We stopped here for lunch, and ate while wading in the stream below the falls. There was a nice shady spot along the stream, but a large group of people had all the good spots taken. But we were quite happy to take a break and have some food and water. Bring lots of water… we barely brought enough, and were getting quite low by the time we reached made it back to the Banyan tree:

Banyan Tree

We knew that hiking in the heat would require a great deal of water however, so we had a cooler in the car full of water (as well as more food for the long drive home.

It was a great adventure, and one that I would certainly recommend. The overall grade of the trail was not that steep, and the boardwalks through the wetter areas were quite helpful (although somewhat slippery as I mentioned above)

One of the many spiders along the way (they really seemed to like the bamboo forest – stick to the trails)
Maui Spider

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