Lower Hanawi Falls: Not in the Guidebooks

Lower Hanawi Waterfall, the best on the Maui

The best waterfall in Maui is certainly a debatable issue for experts and locals. For me there is no debate at all.  After visiting multiple waterfalls throughout the nine days of adventure, this waterfall still takes my breath away. Not only was it extremely tall but the water flow pouring over the cliff was enormous and had such power as to fill the entire canyon with mist. The roaring water could be heard from a long ways away.

What made this even more special was the solitude I enjoyed here. Yes, you heard that right: solitude. This was my own personal waterfall for an entire afternoon. There was no one else in sight. How could I be so lucky? This waterfall is not listed in any guidebook that I came across. I searched many. I learned of this waterfall's existence through a lot of research on the island, on the streams, and through the internet.  I'm certainly not the first person to visit this waterfall and I have seen exactly 3 pictures taken by other adventurers of this waterfall. 

This waterfall also required 1.5 hours of hiking, much of it upstream. Although this is not an easy hike, I found it much easier than several that I had done in Kauai.  The trail is not marked. The jungle is thick.  there were times when I was not certain if I was even on the right trail. One challenge I faced after about five or 10 minutes of hiking was a fork in the trail:  
Fork in Trail of Lower Hanawi Waterfall hike
This is the picture of that crucial moment as I contemplated going to the left or to the right. Both trails appear to be equally traveled. There was no sign or other trail marker to indicate which way to go. Using my common sense, I made a decision which turned out to be correct.  However I did not know if that decision was correct until about 45 minutes later when I reached the stream.  At that point I started going upstream until I was stopped by the waterfall.  

My first view of the waterfall took my breath away. Not only is the waterfall enormous, but it had a heavy stream of water pouring over the cliff. Paradise found!  

First View of Lower Hanawi Falls
Of course I kept going and spend plenty of time here taking pictures. There was also an opportunity to skinny dip in these quiet, eden-like garden.  As I climbed over the very slippery rock to the base of the waterfall, the plunge pool was quite a sight to see. The beautiful blue color, the mist-filled air and the noise of crashing water will always be etched in my mind.  
Plunge Pool
What a spectacular adventure:  one I shall not forget.  Certainly a highlight of this year!


  1. So when you get to the fork in the trail do you take a left or a right?

  2. I would like to know which fork you took as well :)

  3. The fact that no one goes is what makes it special. What do you gain by sharing it's location? If you really were into nature and cared, you would be much more vague.
    Maui locals do not like Maui revealed. Don't be a dick.

    1. "Unknown" links to "Shawn Love Spillett." Thanks Shawn.

  4. Nice to see a "friendly Hawaiian" comment here.
    I find it disturbing that Hawaii welcomes all the tourist dollars and likes to herd them anywhere to drain their wallet. As long as we're spending money, that's OK. But if we want to see a little of the island ourselves (without paying), that is suddenly taboo.
    Meanwhile, many PUBLIC lands are obscured, hidden and sometimes trails even intentionally made more dangerous by locals. I'm from southern Utah. We welcome the world and I'm MORE THAN HAPPY to find a tourist in a secret location off in the wilderness. That means that they are having a wonderful journey of discovery too. They are equally human and I respect that.
    Thank again for the anonymous sincere comments.


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