The Pipiwai Trail
Few trails on earth are as spectacular as Maui’s Pipiwai Trail. Part of the Haleakala National Park, this nearly 2-mile halcyon trail provides a fun and adventurous way to reach some of East Maui’s most treasured gems at the destination point of the famed Road to Hana. Along the way, you have the option of experiencing rare destinations including the famous Seven Sacred Pools, a lush and gargantuan bamboo forest, a towering waterfall of skyscraper magnitude, and an impressively large banyan tree. If you are planning a trip to any of the aforementioned East Maui Destinations, this trail is the safest and easier path to them all.
Word of Caution
There are several areas along the path that are no longer accessible or recommended for visiting. Unfortunately, due to the many fatalities, the park has officially barred entrance to the marvelous infinity pool, which is considered the true zenith of the enchanting Makahiku waterfall. IF YOU DARE to attempt to gain entrance to this restricted are keep the following points in mind.
1. The only way to get to the infinity pool is by going under the fence. This is not something I recommend AT ALL. The national park service has placed this barrier in order to protect you from harming yourself and losing your life. Not all adventures are worth the risk. This being one of them.
2. The national park services strictly prohibit access to this area of the Haleakala National Park. If you are caught inside, you can face significant fines and will be required to attend a court hearing.
3. Because we care about your safety and desire to follow the laws of the land, I will not be providing information on how to reach the Infinity Pools. As a professional working in the excursion industry, I want you to have as much fun as possible while visiting our home. If we are recommending you to not do something, it is because we have the best intentions and outcomes in mind.
How to Get There
If you decide to make the trek to the Pipiwai trail on your own, remember that the land is part of the Haleakala National Park. As such, the entry does require payment. You have two options. You can pay for a three-day all-access park pass for $15, or you can purchase an annual pass for $25. Both options grant access to everything within Haleakala National Park. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks for energy. Pace yourself so that you can see all of the amazing sights along this incredible trail.
One of the best things about the Pipiwai trail is its ease of access. Compared to many of Maui’s other noteworthy places destinations, this trail is a breeze to find, and the best way to access some of the other great prized emplacements. To reach the Starting point of the Pipiwai Trail, simply drive to the Kipahulu Visitor Center. The trail is not a far walk away. Once on the trail, you can choose to either go west towards the Seven Sacred Pools, or East and into the Bamboo Forest towards Waimoku Falls. My recommendation is to head east first and relax at the Seven Sacred Pools after you hike back.
Within about half a mile of starting your journey east, you will encounter your first waterfalls. The scene looks like something straight out of The Jungle Book and will astonish you. As wonderful and as unforgettable as this awe-inspiring scenery is, it is only the beginning of the marvels you will experience.
The Banyan Tree
As you continue on the trail, the next point of interest is the gigantic banyan tree. The tree is tremendously large and almost overwhelming in size. If you don’t know how banyan trees are formed, prepare to be amazed. Every tree connected together is actually the same tree. Banyan trees are a type of fig tree that uses aerial prop roots to take root a distance from the main trunk. Once the daughter roots dig into the earth, they grow strong and robust. Eventually, these roots form into trunks of their own. This unique propagation process allows a banyan tree to grow as wide and far as possible, with soil and space being the only limiters. Although there is an amazing Banyan tree in Lahaina on the front street, there is nothing quite like seeing one in the midst of the Hawaiian jungle.
The Bamboo Forest
If you are able to continue further beyond the banyan tree, you will enter the lush and bamboo forest. The change from deep forest trees to a bamboo landscape is dramatic and almost startling. During this part of the trail, there is a wooden path to help make your trek a little easier. The landscape at this point looks like something almost from the Mesolithic era from the old world. You almost expect to see hunter-gatherers looking for bison to hunt, or wild vegetation to pick. It is an impressive scene that will leave you contemplating how much beauty is still left in the natural world. A true reminder of how far we’ve come as a species.
Enjoy and Let Enjoy
Before you leave this amazing and scenic natural landscape, remember that the beauty of this magnificent park is very fragile. Treat it with respect it deserves. Help preserve this rare Eco-system by remembering to remove anything that you brought with you. Be respectful of the land. It is one of the rare places on earth where you can enjoy such natural splendor. It is important to be conscientious and maintain the magic you’ve experienced here. Help future visitors experience the same sense of awe and wonder that you have just enjoyed.