Hidden Hawaii Waterfall Adventure
Aloha! Welcome to Hawaii!
Hawaii has to be one of the most beautiful and jaw-dropping landscapes on earth. One minute it’s a landscape of rough hardened lava or black sand......
.....and the next minute it’s a lush green tropical forest with gorgeous flowers and waterfalls or beautiful blue ocean.
In fact, I have never seen so many waterfalls in one place! They appear to practically be everywhere!
Sure, you can go to plenty of touristy waterfall locations (like Akaka Falls pictured above) on your trip to the Hawaiian Islands but those will most certainly be swarming with other tourists, especially in busy travel seasons. You’ll pay an entrance fee and wander through a line of other vacation-goers all trying to see the waterfall(s) and get pics from behind a fence. What if you were one of only a few people at a waterfall? What if you could swim in a pool of water under it? How much fun would that be??!! Also, what if seeing these waterfalls cost you $0? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Sound good? *Almost no* tourists and FREE? Hellz yeah, sign me up!
Here’s an adventure we did while in Hawaii and I have recommended it to everyone I know that is heading there (Maui, specifically) on vacation! You’ll have to be up for a hike and definitely getting wet and a little muddy but it’s THE MOST FUN and it’s just far enough off-the-beaten-path that you won’t be fighting the crowds (although I can’t guarantee you’ll have the place totally to yourself but it certainly won’t be a tourist trap destination).
Before our trip to Hawaii, I did a lot of research on the internet. It was a big trip for us and the stars were all aligning in a way to make it possible for us to see 3 different islands. (Side note: I DO NOT recommend that…too much time spent traveling between islands and packing/unpacking.) Maui, unfortunately, was the island we were spending the LEAST amount of time on and I was really disappointed because I felt there were so many things I wanted to see/do while we were there! Given our time constraints, we absolutely could not do the Road to Hana even though I desperately wanted to. However, our alternative ended up being a much better fit not only for our specific time-crunched situation but for our family unit, as well. It had enough parts adventure + mystery + surprises + awe-inspiring beauty that it kept all 4 of us fully entertained!
Here’s what you will need for your outing:
- swimsuits (wear under your clothes)
- tennis shoes or sturdy water shoes (definitely NOT flip flops)
- bug spray/sunscreen
- a few light snacks, bottles of water
- waterproof camera/GoPro if you’d like some photos (YOU DO!)
- towels (although I recommend leaving the towels in the car so you can sit on them for your drive back)
Ready for your adventure? Here we go!
On Maui, you’ll head as if you are going on the Road To Hana (because, technically, you will be on it… You’re just not going ALL the way to Hana). Once you get on HWY 360 you’ll want to start watching the mile markers. After you pass Mile Marker 6 you’ll need to pay close attention. Somewhere around the 6.5MM is a break in the trees on the side of the road. Most likely there will be cars pulled off the side of the highway on both sides. This means you are in the right spot.
Find a place to park (literally pulling into the grass on the side of the highway just as these cars in the photo did) and make sure you are NOT blocking the gate on the property across the road. We parked there (momentarily!) to unload our stuff and for me/kids to get out of the jeep and as luck would have it the property owners happened to be driving out through the gate while we were in the process of unloading. They were not very friendly about it and of course we moved our vehicle (as we were planning to do anyway) but simply be aware of your surroundings and if you are blocking anyone’s entry/exit for their property. No need to return from your hike and find that your vehicle has been towed! Yikes! That would make for a bad day on vacation—-but hey, it would certainly make for a day you would never forget! Ha!
Once you are parked and you have grabbed your items you want to take with you (be prepared for everything you take to potentially get wet AND DO NOT bring any valuables with you because you might have to leave your items unattended for a bit) -you will look for a small opening/break in the trees as your point of entry for the hike. A VERY SMALL break in the trees. If we hadn’t seen people go in there, we might have missed it ourselves but simply know that it’s there and you’ll find it if you walk the tree line and look for the path.
Once you enter the trees you’ll feel amazed at how quiet and serene the place is even though you just stepped off a highway. You’ll hear birds and eventually rushing water at different times as you traverse the path. The best noise of all though? --It’s the clacking of the tall bamboo shoots swaying and clacking against each other in the breeze. Such a wonderful sound and I wish I had recorded it. TIP: Record it!
(I was probably only 5 minutes into the hike when I fell on my a$$! Notice the mud.)
The directions at this point are pretty easy. Follow the path. It will lead you over streams, up slippery muddy slopes, across shallow riverbeds and through wild bamboo forests but most incredibly of all, it will dump you right into the edge of multiple pools made by different waterfalls. -Hidden gems that most folks visiting Maui will never see. Each one is a surprise when you find it! Swim in the pools and play under the waterfalls until you wish to carry on and find the next one!
(The above pic is of rushing water--it was LOUD! There was a 2x4 spanning across it which is what was being used as a "bridge". It wasn't high up at all but the way the water was rushing so fast, it felt/sounded more dangerous than it actually was. It definitely helped amp up the adrenaline on the hike!)
Some of the hiking will be quite slippery so watershoes or tennis shoes are a must. Definitely NOT a flip-flop kind of hike. We hiked and swam and hiked and swam climbing over boulders and slipping on the muddy path but all in great amazement and having so much fun! It felt like an unscheduled day, honestly, and considering the day we visited happened to be Father’s Day, it was a terrific way to spend the day together as a family.
At the time my kids were 5 and 10. The 10yr old (girl) is extremely adventurous so this was no problem for her. The 5yr old was mostly fine but since you never know how far it is to the next waterfall, my daughter and I eventually left the hubby and the boy-child to play and swim at one of the waterfalls and we carried on for a bit further hoping to find the final REALLY BIG waterfall. Sadly, we got to a point where it was a long way of mostly dry riverbed and large boulders. I wasn’t sure how far down that path we would have to go and since we didn’t bring our cell phones I had no way to communicate back to my hubby that it would likely be a while if my daughter and I decided to push on further. Against my daughter’s wishes, we turned back. I’m disappointed because I have heard that the last waterfall is the most amazing one and is possibly 100 feet tall. We didn’t get there. However, that gives us something to look forward to some day when we return.
I'm grateful for the multiple waterfalls we saw, despite not making it to the "final" one! These were still pretty amazing to see and play in!
We joined back up with my husband and son and played in the pool under the waterfall for a little longer and then made the journey back to the car. The kids were happily talking about everything we had seen along the way and we were all hungry and anxious to get some food. (We did not pack snacks, which is why I suggest them for you!)
Once back at the Jeep, we dried off and decided to head back to town for some food. However, before doing so, I asked my hubby if we could drive just a “bit” further up the highway because I had heard there were Rainbow Eucalyptus trees along the highway. I had no idea how far we would have to drive to find them but it turned out we found them RIGHT AWAY! Literally just a little further up the road was a huge patch of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees which were incredible to see! Truly amazing in real-life! After snapping some pics, I was completely happy and agreed to get on with searching for some food. Have you ever seen rainbow colored trees in your life? This is your chance!
As luck would have it on our way back down the mountain, we came upon a little roadside stand near Huelo Lookout that had fresh pineapple (which seriously tastes AMAZING in Hawaii), banana bread, coconut candy, and fresh sugar cane juice. -I’m not going to lie the food from that little roadside shack tasted SO GOOD!
We all happily snacked on these incredibly yummy treats and recounted our adventure as we drove back down the mountain to the resort. (I don’t remember exactly how long it took but I would guess around 60-90 minutes at most.)
That trip was 5yrs ago and my kids regularly bring up that fun-filled day of not knowing exactly what was around the corner or what to expect over the next muddy embankment. Clearly, it left an impression on them and I promise you it left an imprint on my husband and I, as well.
Someday I hope to return to Maui and spend more time on that incredible island but until we do, I hold on to the memories we made there on that very wonderful Father’s Day. If you are heading to Maui, I highly recommend this hidden adventure!
Download these printable directions HERE to take with you when you go!
Items you might need to snag before you leave on vacation:
- Anti-Bug Sunscreen (combo/all in one!) can be found HERE**
- Watershoes for the whole family can be found HERE**
GoPro Hero 7 Bundle can be found HERE**
If you have any questions please shoot me a note at info@PicklesAndPunch.com or message/DM on Facebook or Instagram. I hope you enjoy your hike!
Thanks for coming along on the adventure!
~Pickles and Punch
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