Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Road to Hana Waterfalls, Maui

A trip to Maui would be incomplete without traveling the "Road to Hana".  This winding road is liable to make anyone motion sick. Besides the multiple curves and cliffs that are perched above the ocean, waterfalls are found in abundance.  I have never been in any location where there were so many beautiful waterfalls so easily accessible.  Most of these are located beside the road. Many of them are easily missed if one is driving too quickly and not looking down into the river beds as the bridges cross each ravine.

In the interest of photography and also hoping to help other people who may travel this road, I will document the waterfalls that I was able to visit. There are many other websites that do the same that are catered towards the tourists. Mine is catered towards photographers. The waterfalls will be listed in the order they are found traveling from the middle of the island towards Haleakala National Park.  Two waterfalls which I visited are not pictured because the flow of water was so poor that they were not attractive:  Wailua waterfall and Alelele waterfall.  Another waterfall which I had hoped to visit but could not reach because of time was Punalau waterfall.

Upper Waikani Waterfall
Upper Waikani waterfall is the first really spectacular waterfall that I've visited. This is beautiful from many different angles. It can be seen from the road. Hiking down a steep rocky trail can lead to the waterfall itself where people can swim. I crossed over to the far side of the waterfall to take this photograph, trying to get a different perspective from the typical scene.

Nemo Waterfall
The next waterfall is not located on the road. Instead it requires a short hike on to EMI property. This was very easy to find but also very beautiful and private. I had my own waterfall and a beautiful swimming hole to myself.

Hanawi Waterfall
Hanawi waterfall is located next to the road. This is actually the same stream that Nemo falls comes from. Nemo falls is higher up on the hill.  Hanawi is located next to the road. The terrain is so steep that one cannot hike from one to the other. You have to access them from different locations.

Bamboo Falls
The next two waterfalls do not have any particular name. These are located right next to the road in a bamboo grove. They are easy to drive by and not notice. Bamboo waterfall was located slightly higher than Chute falls.  Both of these names are given by me. I do not know of any official name which they have.  These are both past Hana, getting close to the national park.


Chute Falls, right next to the road
Driving on, but not much farther than the previous waterfalls I came across a beautiful sight:  Hahalawe Waterfall, also known as "photo falls".   I read this was also called "Photo Falls" and when I scouted it out online before coming I could only find very bad photos of it. I even mentally put it on the "not worth a stop" list. When I saw it driving to Oheo Gulch, I knew it had great potential. When driving by, the waterfall was half in sun and half in shade. Bad timing. Fortunately I was returning this way the next day and visited earlier in the morning. Conditions were right and I hope my photo does justice to this beautiful waterfall.

Hahalawe Waterfall, aka Photo Fall
Lastly I came to the national park and the waterfalls of Oheo Gulch. Here I discovered the "Seven Sacred Pools".  Although it was January, rainfall had been very scarce lately in the water flow in these pools was quite low. They were not as photogenic as I had anticipated. Despite that, I was not disappointed because of all the other discoveries I had made on this trip.
Oheo Gulch Waterfall
The last waterfall worth mentioning is also located in Hakeakala National Park:  Waimoku waterfall is located at the end of the Pipiwai trail. Hiking up to this waterfall is a delight and is very rewarding for the photographer. The waterfall itself is extremely tall. It is a little more difficult to photograph because of its size. However it is very worthwhile to visit. I enjoyed eating a picnic lunch next to this wonderful waterfall.

Waimoku Waterfall is about 400 feet tall!

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