Upper Waikani Falls

Upper Waikani Falls - A Waterfall So Nice They Made it Thrice!
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Maui has many gorgeous waterfalls on the Road to Hana, but few are as mesmerizing or special as the Upper Waikani Falls. Also known as the "Three Bears," you owe it to yourself to stop and gaze at the natural beauty. Even if you don't go in the water, you can't afford to miss out on this scenery. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

When it comes to natural beauty, is anything as lovely as a waterfall? The sound of rushing water cascading down into a pool below is always a treat, especially when you’re on a tropical island like Maui.  There’s also a scientific reason why people feel so connected to waterfalls. The secret is the abundance of negative ions produced from the water molecules smashing into each other. Ironically, negative ions produce positive feelings in people, as the ions bond with the ones in your body to “recharge” your biological battery. A few hours at a waterfall and you’ll feel brand-new. 

Maui has many waterfalls, particularly on the Road to Hana. In fact, there are over 15 unique waterfall locations on the route, and each one looks like it should belong on a postcard. That said, the Upper Waikani Falls stand out as three of the best on the island. With such tough competition, you know that they’re worth a look. The Upper Waikani Falls is on the northeastern side of Maui, off the Hana Highway. The quickest way to reach them is to head north from Paia.

And, a look may be all you can get at Waikani Falls. Reaching the falls is actually pretty hard, considering that you have to drive on the Hana Highway, which is nerve-wracking, to say the least. Parking near the falls is limited, and you’ll have to do some hiking to reach the water itself. However, if you can brave all the obstacles, you’ll realize why they’re worth the trouble. 

Another name for the Upper Waikani Falls is the “Three Bears.” The nickname stems from the fairy tale about Goldilocks since all three waterfalls are next to each other, complete with a “baby” waterfall at the end. 

If you can manage it (depending on how long you’re on Maui), we recommend visiting the falls after heavy rain. If it’s been too dry for too long, the water can seem lean and emaciated. In that case, snapping a few photos from the comfort of your car should be okay. You’ll have to traverse a winding pathway to get up close to the falls. If you’re not much of a hiker, you might struggle a little bit. 

Overall, if you’re ready and willing to go through all that for these Upper Waikani Falls, you’ll be rewarded. 

How To Get There:
Drive .10 of a mile past where you can spot the falls from the roadside. You’ll find a small parking area and then you will need to walk back on the narrow road to your short hike. Make sure to not park where you can hinder traffic as this can be extremely dangerous.

Insider Tips:
-Reaching the Upper Waikani Falls is not easy. First, you have to go on the Hana Highway, which is itself a somewhat dangerous (but gorgeous) expedition. There are hairpin turns and blind spots the whole way, meaning that it will take far longer to reach the falls than you would expect. 
-Once you’re there, parking is often nonexistent (unless you come really early). So, you’ll have to park down the road (there is a small area to pull off about 1/10th of a mile away) and walk back. However, the highway doesn’t have a shoulder, so you’ll be walking next to various cars and tour busses speeding past.