Monday, July 6, 2009

More than Two at Twin Falls

More than a half-dozen sweet waterfalls with swim pools can be sampled on a 2.5-mile (round-trip) hike at Twin Falls Botanical Preserve—located just as the Hana Highway starts its 35-mile coastal roller coaster. Given the right conditions—sun and mellow-flowing water, these rank up there with any of Maui's more publicized freshwater soaks, and among the best in Hawaii. Several have rope swings and places to jump from on the ferny bedrock caverns that encase the pools. One of the pools draws most of the daredevil leapers, but it truly is hard to decide a spot to take a swim; they're that good.

A tree-shaded pathway leaves from the Twin Falls Fruit Stand (many people come here just for the organic goodies) alongside the stream, meandering through the flora of a number of small farms So you also get a botanical garden for the price of admission, which is free, but you really should use the can inside the gate to give these people a few bucks. From the top of the falls, adventure hikers can get into the botanical thicket of the Ko'olau Forest Reserve.

Don't try to do this place as part of a Hana Highway day trip, but rather as a trip that might also take in Paia, Jaws, and Baldwin Beach Park. Many visitors here miss a few of the falls, and also spend frustrating moments wandering around, since the trails are not well marked. This probably saves the place from overuse—though it does see plenty of visitors. See page 119 of Maui Trailblazer.