After a fun-filled adventure on the Road to Hana, we were glad we decided to stay two nights in the pristine town of Kipahulu in our sanctuary of Halemano. Not only did we drive the 52 miles at our leisure and not worry about making the return trip all in one day, but the entire next day, we were able to enjoy the gorgeous Haleakala National Park located just a few minutes away!
We arrived at Haleakala National Park early and discovered an almost vacant parking lot. YES! The park was ALMOST all ours..for now…
Out came the camera gear, snacks, water, sun screen, insect repellant, hats and sunglasses. It was time to explore!
First up, the Seven Sacred Pools otherwise known as Oheo Gulch.
From the parking lot, a one mile loop takes you to a scenic vista closer to where the Oheo Gulch spills out into the ocean, and then the trail leads you back up to the parking lot.
Swimming is a popular activity here and usually allowed in the pools, but this time, it was closed due to flash flood warnings.
Did this stop people from swimming in the pools later on that day? HAH! Of course not! Lucky how some people are immune to being swept out to sea! (Which is actually what has happened in the past.) Signs were posted around the pools telling of how unfortunate swimmers were caught up in flash flooding and taken out to sea. So basically, enjoy the beauty, but heed the warning signs!
Next, it was time to experience the Pipiwai Trail, a 4 mile round trip hike that takes you through a wonderland of waterfalls, lush foliage, bamboo forests and the grand finale, Waimoku Falls.
Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or proper hiking sandals because of weather that can change in the blink of an eye like it did for us. A large portion of the hike is on a boardwalk that can get quite slippery when wet. Don’t be like the young girl we saw in the middle of the hike who was struggling to gain traction in her flip flops in the rain!
About .5 miles into the hike, we came across the 185 foot Makahiku Falls.
I mean, this is what Maui is all about! Lush rainforest with magnificent waterfalls appearing out of nowhere! Even though my legs were beginning to get sore, this view was so worth it!
The highlights just kept coming. Next up, one of my favorites – the gigantic Banyan tree!
We continued our hike until we reached this bridge leading us into the black abyss of the rainforest.
But before discovering what awaited us across the bridge, we stopped midway to ooh and aww at these most gorgeous waterfalls!
After crossing the bridge, we ascended into my personal highlight of the hike…the enchanting Bamboo Forest!
Tightly packed bamboo towered above us providing cool shelter from the sun allowing sunlight beams to flicker through small openings. As the wind blew, the hallow bamboo swayed and struck together creating the sounds of musical chimes…our very own concert!
(For those of you who watch The Amazing Race – wouldn’t this make for an interesting pit stop?!)
Following the Bamboo Forest, the lush rainforest reappeared and so did more challenging terrain to navigate.
Before reaching the Waimoku Falls, there was one last obstacle we had to conquer – the crossing of a stream. I read about it in the guidebooks, and it wasn’t that bad. You can rock-hop across or do what I did and just immerse yourself and wade on through.
After what was a memorable journey thus far, we finally reached our destination – Waimoku Falls.
Looking up from the base of this 400 foot sheer masterpiece, it’s easy to see why so many travelers flock to this very spot!
My husband dared me to immerse myself under the waterfalls for a photo. Had it been a hotter day where I could have enjoyed the FREEZING water and had it not started to rain, I probably would have taken on the dare. Alas, a photo with my hubby several feet away from the falls is what we agreed upon. I suggested he take the plunge. His excuse was that he didn’t bring his swimsuit. That didn’t stop other gents from dawning their undies and striking a pose under the falls!
After enjoying the refreshing combination of mist and rain, we decided that it was time to head back before the trail became too slick. But I spoke too soon! This time we experienced the trail in a totally different way – wet and muddy! Nevertheless, the Pipiwai Trail was one I will always remember with great fondness!
Haleakala National Park is a treasure trove of everything you would expect from Hawaii and something everyone should experience once in their life!
Many people have asked if we did the sunrise bike tour, one of the most popular attractions at Haleakala National Park. Looks of “Are you completely and utterly crazy?!” shot back at me when I answered their question with “No.”
We already had a lot planned, and although catching a glorious sunset overlooking the clouds sounded very appealing, we decided to save it for another day…
...a day we can dream about and look forward to!