Haipuaena Falls

Haipuaena Falls - Hidden Small, Serene Waterfall and Pool
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Haipuaena Falls is a small waterfall hidden from view along the Hana Highway. It is at mile marker 11.5, and the trailhead is near the bridge. While the falls are only about 25' tall, the pool, lush vegetation, and the few visitors make this perfect for stretching the legs and a dip in the cool waters. The hike to the falls is about 100 yards, but the terrain can be muddy with some rocks to navigate. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Driving and exploring the Road to Hana will lead many intrepid explorers to search for the abundant waterfalls along the route. One waterfall that’s hidden from view and possibly worth your time and effort to visit is Haipuaena Falls.

Haipuaena Falls is a small, picturesque waterfall at mile marker #11.5 on Hana Highway. Here, you’ll find a small bridge with a small turnout on one side for parking. Once parked, you will spot the 100-yard long trail to Haipuaena Falls on the far side of the bridge. The hike is easy and leads you into the jungle and past wild ginger, bamboo trees, rainbow eucalyptus trees, and other exotic vegetation. The path is slightly uphill and may be damp and slippery, so wear appropriate footwear.

Before reaching Haipuaena Falls, you’ll come to another trail that veers to the left that leads uphill. It leads to the upper falls, but seasoned hikers warn that the trek is dangerous. The trail is muddy even in dry seasons and becomes narrow and very steep. Most advise not taking the risk as safer and easier trails abound along Hana Highway to explore.

Haipuaena Falls is small and may not be very impressive by Hawaiian standards. It’s about 25-feet in height and isn’t very wide. However, since not many people know about it, the setting is beautiful, and you may have the falls all to yourself. The backdrop of rocks, ferns, and greenery makes Haipuaena Falls feel like a sanctuary and an oasis. 

Some visitors to Haipuaena Falls said they enjoyed wading and swimming in the pool. The shallow end is closest to the trail’s end, but the terrain and beach are rocky, so bring water shoes. Water temperatures are cool since vegetation surrounds the pool and sunlight is limited.

If you’re itching to visit the other upper falls, there is a safer means than taking the trail we mentioned, although it’s still hazardous. You’ll need to hike to the top of Haipuaena Falls and then walk upstream to the second fall. However, rain, fast stream currents, and other conditions make this hike dangerous, so attempt at your own risk. And from what we could ascertain, the falls and pool are about the same size as Haipuaena Falls.

If you happen to be driving Highway to Hana, and you’re looking for a serene oasis, we think Haipuaena Falls is worth investigating. Pack a picnic, some blankets, water shoes, and bask in the solitude of Haipuaena Falls. 

Insider Tip:
There is room for only one parked car at the bridge turnout. As with many Hawaiian freshwater streams and waterfalls, leptospirosis bacteria may be present. Please do not drink the water, allow it into fresh wounds, or get in your eyes.