Pipiwai Trail & the Bamboo Forest: One of the Coolest Hikes in Maui

There’s no shortage of scenic hikes on Maui, but the Pipiwai Trail through the bamboo forest is one of the coolest. The 4-mile trek (3.8-miles to be exact) winds through a lush bamboo forest and ends at a spectacular 400-foot waterfall called Waimoku Falls. To experience one of the best hikes that Maui has to offer, be sure to add this adventurous trek to your vacation bucket list!

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Bamboo Forest in Maui

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Pipiwai Trail: One of the Coolest Hikes in Maui

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Huge Banyan tree

If you’re looking for a fun and unique hike in Maui, then the Pipiwai Trail is definitely worth checking out. This trail takes you through a bamboo forest and up to a base of an enormous waterfall, making it one of the most scenic hikes on the island.

Plus, it’s not terribly difficult or strenuous, so even novice hikers can enjoy it. So, if you’re up for an adventure during your vacation in Maui, be sure to check out the Pipiwai Trail!

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know to hike this awesome trail to Waimoku Falls.

What is Kapu? Kapu is an ancient Hawaiian code of conduct that governs all aspects of life. The word Kapu means “forbidden” or “off-limits.” When hiking and exploring in Hawaii, please respect Hawaiian culture and signs that say Kapu.

Hiking Guide: Pipiwai Trail & Bamboo Forest in Maui

The Pipiwai Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Maui. The trailhead is located near the town of Hana for anyone exploring Maui’s famous Hana Highway.

The trail winds through the lush rainforest of the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park. Along the way, you can see a huge banyan tree and Makahiku Falls, which run along the Ohe’o Gulch Stream.

Continue through the bamboo forest, and the trail ends at Waimoku Falls, a stunning 400-foot waterfall that tumbles down into a pool below. There are trail signs warning hikers not to go to the base of the waterfall. Be safe.

The entire hike is around 4 miles and can be completed in roughly 2 hours. However, there are plenty of places to stop along the way and take in the scenery, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of time.

The trail is well-marked, well maintained, and easy to follow, making it a great option for hikers of most experience levels.

Pipiwai Trail Details

Pipiwai Hiking Trail Details:

  • Distance: 3.8 to 4.0 miles out and back
  • Difficulty: moderately challenging – there are steps
  • Where to Park: Parking lot at the Kīpahulu Visitor Center
  • Time to Hike: roughly 2 hours

Things to Consider

Bring water and snacks – Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. Even though Maui is a small island, this part of Maui is actually really rural. You are not going to see grocery stores or many places to eat, so be sure to bring water and snacks for your trip.

The trail can be strenuous at times – What makes it strenuous is the lack of airflow, making the area humid and stuffy. There are some stairs. It isn’t necessarily a challenging trail to hike, though.

Wear comfortable shoes and breathable clothing – You might also want to bring bug spray if you’re into bug spray. We don’t like getting bit by mosquitos (they love me).

Hike early in the day – The trail can be crowded on weekends, so it’s best to start your hike early in the morning.

Google maps – we used Google maps to get to the Kīpahulu District.

How Long Does it Take to Hike?

The Pipiwai Trail is a moderate hike and takes most people between two and three hours to complete.

The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow.

However, some sections can be slippery when wet.

What Should You Bring?

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Maui jungle

We wanted to share some things for you to consider bringing to hike and explore this part of Maui.

National Park Pass – There is an entrance fee since Haleakala Crater is part of the National Park Service.

If you hold the annual National Park Pass, bring it! You can use it to park within Haleakalā National Park.

Bring a Day Pack – We took our favorite day pack to hike within the park and road trip Maui for the day.

Wear Comfortable Hiking Shoes – Pablo likes to hike in hiking shoes, but I tend to explore Maui in hiking sandals.

Water Bottles – Bring water. As we said earlier, the Road to Hana is pretty rural, so be sure you bring water and snacks for this long trip, especially if you are staying on the island’s west side. We fly our water bottles with us.

Breathable Clothes – It is humid in the bamboo forest; wear breathable clothes that wick sweat.

Buy a Guidebook – We purchased Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook by Andrew Doughty, and it helped us plan our trip. It is worth the cost and shares all the best things to do and secret spots to explore. This is the best thing we bought to help plan our trip!

Our Personal Experience

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Lava rock coast

When we hiked here, we were awe-struck. Neither of us had wandered through a bamboo forest before, and seeing the 400-foot Waimoku Falls at the end was incredible. We visited in early February and hiked during the week, and there were not many people on the trail.

We prefer to travel to places in the off-season. The weather was excellent – we could wear shorts, but it was not hot.

We were so glad we brought our National Park Pass and didn’t have to spend extra money parking at Haleakala National Park. We explore the Seven Sacred Pools (‘Ohe’o Gulch) and the coast after the hike.

The coast is breathtaking and lined with lava rock. Unfortunately, you cannot swim over here – the currents are strong, and the water is turbulent.

It took us all day (about 12-13 hours) to drive round trip from Lahaina, cruise the Road to Hana without any stops, hike, explore the coast, and go back to Lahaina. So be sure to give yourself plenty of time. There are breathtaking views along the Road to Hana scenic drive. We left our condo early-morning (around 5 or 6 in the morning).

Where to Stay: We stayed at The Kulakane and seriously LOVED it! We will be back.

Flying to Maui: Fly into Kahului Airport (OGG). Book your tickets on booking.com.

Renting a Car: Rent a car – 6+ months ahead of time. We got a jeep to rent SUPs.

Travel Insurance: We ALWAYS get cancel for any reason travel insurance. We use Travel Insurance Master. You can pick the exact coverage you need.

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Final Thoughts on Hiking the Pipiwai Trail in Maui

If you’re looking for a fantastic hike on your trip to Maui, be sure to check out the Pipiwai Trail. This trail will take you through a bamboo forest and past some beautiful waterfalls, and it’s one of the coolest hikes on the island. Driving to this part of Maui is well worth the time and full of amazing views with diverse scenery.

We hope this travel guide helps you plan your next excursion to Maui.

Aloha,

Ashlee + Pablo


Where are you headed next?

You might love checking out more of our Maui articles:

Are you planning to visit Oahu?

Check out our article on How to SUP to the Mokes!

Pin the complete guide to hiking Pipiwai Trail!

We’d love to hear from you!

Tell us when you are going to hike here!

What are your Hawaii travel plans?

Which Hawaiian Islands have you visited?

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation writer and founder of The Happiness Function based in Oklahoma. Her goal is to help inspire people to build a life they love by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally, connect with nature, and explore off-the-beaten-path. You don't have to spend a lot of money or use a ton of vacation time to explore close to home. Ashlee holds a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability and has a passion for the outdoors. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! They camp in their Aliner often and love road trips and hiking.

12 Comments

  1. Burt Randall on April 22, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    This article is awesome…when are you’guys going back to Maui ?!!



    • Ashlee Fechino on April 22, 2022 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Uncle Burt! Thank you for stopping by and reading our latest article! We hope to go back soon 🙂



  2. katie on April 27, 2022 at 11:59 am

    awesome post! I love reading about shorter day-hikes. I’ve only been to Oahu in Hawaii but I’ve been told the real views are on Maui



    • Ashlee Fechino on April 30, 2022 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Katie – Maui definitely has some awesome hiking trails. You will have to check them out. Hope you can make it soon. We have another article about all the great things to do at Haleakala including the best (in our opinion) hikes – you might enjoy it 🙂



  3. Brittany on April 27, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    Wow, this trail is awesome! I feel like the terrain is so different than what you’d imagine from a hike in Hawaii. My husband and I are thinking about going to Maui in the next few years, so I’ll definitely keep Pipiwai Trail on my radar. Thanks for sharing!



    • Ashlee Fechino on April 30, 2022 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Brittany – thanks for reading our blog! You two are going to have a blast visiting Maui. Hiking the Pipiwai Trail is a must! Happy trails to you.



  4. A Capone Connection on April 27, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    I was in Maui on a cruise excursion and it was awesome. I didn’t get to go hiking though and this looks awesome. That Banyan tree is incredible. Thanks so much for sharing. Saving this for when I go back.



    • Ashlee Fechino on April 30, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Hi there – we hope you can make it back to hike the Pipiwai Trail next time. We thought hiking in Maui was just incredible – almost forgot we were actually on an island in the middle of the Pacific at times.



  5. Marianne on April 28, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    The Pipiwai trail looks amazing! I can’t wait to go to Hawaii to explore the islands and do some scenic hikes.



    • Ashlee Fechino on April 30, 2022 at 2:25 pm

      Marianne – you are going to love Maui! Thanks for reading our guide to hiking the Pipiwai Trail 🙂 Safe travels and happy hiking.



  6. Hannah on April 30, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    What a gorgeous trail! I’ve been to Maui twice but not to Pipiwai. I have been to Hana though. I want to go to Haleakala National Park so bad though! My husband and I are light/moderate hikers so this is doable. We are going to Oahu in August and I’m so excited!



    • Ashlee Fechino on May 2, 2022 at 12:21 pm

      Have fun on your Oahu trip! You will have to explore more of east Maui next time you go.