Saturday, July 25, 2009

From Pools of Oheo to Pipiwai Trail: two fab falls in the jungle

After the long drive of the Hana Highway to the Pools of Oheo (part of the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park) many visitors turn the car around and miss what may be Hawaii's best waterfall hike.

Just across the highway from the popular pools is the Pipiwai Trail, which climbs about 800 feet over 2.25-miles before coming to a halt at Waimoku Falls—cascading 400 feet in the center of a green amphitheater. Along the way you pass by the top of the Falls at Makahiku (a 200-foot white ribbon), cross two footbridges over a bedrock stream gorge, and travel much of the distance on a boardwalk through a bamboo forest. It's easy to spout superlatives about hiking in Hawaii, but this one you gotta do.