In 1969, Kipahulu Valley and 'Ohe'o Gulch were added to Haleakala National Park, which stretches down from the crater's summit. 'Ohe'o means "Something Special", and it certainly is. When water levels are up, there are many more than 7 pools (as the inaccurate name suggests). The pools are currently not open to swimming.
(Obey all signs here, as some areas are known for rock slides and have killed people. Since the pools are closed to swimming, think twice before swimming directly below a fall if you look elsewhere. Natural debris upstream has been known to flow over and on top of unaware swimmers. Also, it's best to keep your head above water due to potential waterborne bacteria. This goes for all streams and waterfalls on Maui.) All in all, hire a permitted guide to take you to legal, safe spots.
Some of the highlights you'll see:
The short video below was taken not long ago while making the 2 mile hike to Waimoku Falls. It's a great hike with beautiful scenery.
Kipahulu, meaning "fetch from exhausted gardens" was home to many ancient Hawaiians. This area, with over 700 sites and ruins, is known as the home of the God Laka, a god worshipped by canoe builders due to the area's high quality of koa wood.
Kanekoela Heiau is the 3rd largest Hawaiian Temple in the State and is said to be the location where many Kahuna were trained in their profession.
You'll many of the ruins along trails around the park areas and camping areas. Please be respectful and don't touch the ruins.
It is said that the fire goddess, Pele, chased Kamapua'a, the pig god, to this area. It is also said that Kipahulu was the home of a legend about The Love-Snatching Wind of Kipahulu. In this story, a woman from Kipahulu left her husband and children for a man from O'ahu. In her husband's grief, he visited a kahuna that was well-versed in "Hana Aloha Sorcery", which was a sorcery of love. The Kahuna had the man speak and blow into a shell that was then wrapped up and thrown into the sea. It eventually found it's way to Kalia, Oahu, where the woman came upon it. She opened it and was reminded of her love for Kipahulu and her family. Home-sick, she returned to her family.
It's nearly impossible to see and experience everything on the Road to Hana (and beyond) in a day, which is why we recommend spending at least one night camping in East Maui to experience the island's beauty more fully.
Kipahulu campground offers close proximity to 'Ohe'o Gulch and the gorgeous Pipiwai Trail, and includes a bathroom, trash cans and a nice mixture of quick hike-in and drive-up camping spots.
If you don't feel like cramming your camping gear in your checked luggage, Camp Maui-X offers an assortment of options for travelers, including:
Much thanks to Van James with Ancient Sites of Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i for the additional insight into 'Ohe'o. We recognize the use of diacritical markings of the (modern) Hawaiian language including the ʻokina [ʻ] or glottal stop and the kahakō [ō] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawaiʻi such as Lānaʻi). However, you may notice these diacritical markings have been omitted on some parts of this website to ensure the best online experience for our visitors. We recognizes the importance of using these markings to preserve the language and culture of Hawaii and respectfully uses them in all communications beyond the online platform.
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