The Road to Hana: Pipiwai Trail and the Seven Sacred Pools

When I asked Cody what he wanted to do on this trip to Maui, he said he wanted to go on a hike. Of course a ten-minute (risk-filled) jaunt to Kihalulu wasn’t going to suffice. 😉 During my research, I read about a hike through a beautiful bamboo forest with a 400-foot waterfall to reward those who made it to the very end of the trail. The hike is known as the Pipiwai Trail and is located in Haleakala National Park on the eastern side of Maui. The thought of hiking through a bamboo forest was intriguing to us both, so needless to say, it was immediately added to our agenda.

Entrance to the Bamboo Forest

Entrance to the Bamboo Forest

We paid the $10 fee to enter the Park, however, before heading off on the hike, we decided to make a quick pit stop to check out the ‘Ohe’o Pools (or more famously known as the Seven Sacred Pools). According to Maui Revealed, there aren’t really seven pools and there’s nothing “sacred” about them, it was just a genius marketing ploy to get more visitors to Hana. While there aren’t exactly seven pools, there are a series of beautiful waterfalls and corresponding pools that cascade down eventually leading into the ocean. (Just watch out for the warnings!)

Oheo Gulch Warning

“Dangerous currents, rough surf, sharp rocks, and the presence of grey sharks just offshore make ocean areas unsafe for swimming.” So… who’s up for a swim??

Seven Sacred Pools

Seven Sacred Pools

Oheo Gulch

Pipiwai Trail

After some people watching at the ‘Ohe’o Pools, we started off on the 2-mile long Pipiwai trail. As expected, there were some hazards on the trail, however overall, it was very well maintained and a pretty easy hike. We started mid-afternoon and I was a bit surprised at how many people were hiking that day. We managed to find a pace that allowed us to explore the trail without other hikers trampling over us or slowing us down–and it was nice to find some solitude along this busy trail.

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

The entrance to the bamboo forest was one mile into the trail, and it was worth every step. Upon entering the forest, the tall bamboo shoots blocked out a lot of the sunlight making it feel later than it actually was. One of my favorite moments of the hike was when we stopped and just listened. We listened to the breeze blow through the bamboo and we listened to the nearby waterfall plunging into the small pond below. It was such an incredibly peaceful moment.

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Amazing Tree along the Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai Trail

All too soon, it was time to start heading back to the car. We didn’t make it to the end of the trail that day, not because we were tired, but because we basically ran out of time. The next part of our road trip was going to be the most dangerous part of the entire day and I wanted to make sure we were well on our way before the sun came close to setting.

One quick word of advice, don’t hike this trail in flip-flops. YES, I KNOW the guidebook says the same thing, and yes, I KNOW I packed my hiking shoes that day, but I figured it wasn’t a huge deal to hike in flip-flops. The last half mile or so was when my feet really started to hurt and by the time we got back to the car my poor feet were killing me. I guess you live and learn…

One final thought: After exploring more of the eastern side of Maui, we have decided to spend a few nights over on the Hana side on our next visit. There are so many places that are missed on a one day exploration on the Road to Hana and when you stop to explore you can’t help but feel rushed. I want to be able to unwind and spend more time at some of my favorite spots on Maui–all which happen to be on this side of the island.

5 Comments

  1. February 17, 2014 / 7:15 PM

    Wow that park looks great! Reminds me of the national park in Costa Rica! Looks like your having/had an awesome time :))

    • February 18, 2014 / 12:13 PM

      I have never been to Costa Rica, but it’s on my list. I’ll have to check out the National Park 🙂 We had such a fun time in Maui, I already can’t wait to go back…

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