Ka’anapali on West Maui is known for its world-famous beach, and family-friendly atmosphere.
For visitors looking for a break from resort town comfort, a waterfall hike is one of the best ways to get close to the wild nature of Maui.
The best waterfall hikes are on East Maui, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find decent trails near Ka’anapali! Read on to find out more.
Makamaka’ole Stream Trail
Also known as 13 Crossings, Makamaka’ole Stream Trail is the nearest waterfall hike to Ka’anapali. This hidden gem of a trail crosses the Makamaka’ole Stream, and finishes with a close look at the lower section of Makamaka’ole Falls.
The hike can be tough going, and water shoes are highly recommended. The trail was given the nickname 13 Crossings because this is how many times you have to cross over the stream during the trail.
Expect to get wet feet during at least one of these crossings!
Makamaka’ole Falls themselves mark the end of the trail, and visitors can enjoy the chance to experience the power of the falls close up.
Along the way, take in the small bamboo forest and the Banyan trees. For those who don’t want to make the drive to Hana, Makamaka’ole Stream Trail is a chance to enjoy East Maui wonders on a smaller scale.
How To Get There
The trailhead for the Makamaka’ole Stream Trail begins just next to the Kahekili Highway. If you’re approaching from Ka’anapali, follow the road until you pass the bridge over the Makamaka’ole Stream.
Parking is found on the side of the road, just past the bridge. There’s limited roadside parking.
The trail is pretty hard work at points, particularly following heavy rain. We recommend using walking poles and wearing sturdy shoes. The hardest parts of the trail are the crossings, which can be slippery.
Waihe’e Ridge Trail
Waihe’e Ridge Trail is one of the most popular trails on West Maui, and part of the reason for this is the diversity.
Hiking along the Waihe’e Ridge Trail grants you exceptional views of the coast, sweeping mountain landscapes, and, yes, the occasional waterfall.
From the Waihe’e Ridge Trail, hikers are able to see the upper and lower levels of the Makamaka’ole Falls.
Unlike other trails, the Waihe’e Ridge Trail doesn’t get you close to the falls. However, it does grant you the opportunity to see the length of the falls, and to appreciate the way it cuts through the landscape.
As you follow the trail along, you’ll pass in and out of cover. The first view of the falls tends to come roughly a third of the way down the trail, so start keeping an eye out when you feel the elevation climb.
How To Get There
Close to Central Maui, the Waihe’e Ridge Trail is only a short drive from Ka’anapali. However, the road is tricky, and we recommend setting off early to get a parking space close to the trailhead without much effort.
To access the Waihe’e Ridge Trail, follow the Kahekili Highway until it intersects Maluhia Road. Turn, and follow the road until you reach a decently sized parking lot.
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail is popular, and the parking lot can be full, so we recommend an early start.
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail can be tough going, and we recommend walking poles, particularly after wet weather.
The trail typically takes around three hours to complete, factoring in time to stop and enjoy the views.
We might be stretching the definition of “near” with this one, but Twin Falls is one of the first waterfalls on the Road to Hana.
Just past Mile Marker #2, Twin Falls is roughly 15 minutes from Paia, and a reasonably easy trip for visitors traveling from Ka’anapali.
If you want to spend a day exploring the North Shore, or taking a look at the Upcountry, Twin Falls is a quick diversion that’s worth a little effort.
There are several falls along the moderate hike, and visitors can get close to the water. On calm days, you might even have a chance to take a dip in the plunge pool!
How To Get There
The best way to get to Twin Falls is from Paia on the North Shore. Follow the Hana Highway east past Paia, until you reach Mile Marker #2. You should be able to see a bridge, and a dirt parking lot.
This is the only parking lot for the Twin Falls trail, and there’s a $10 fee.
Traveling The Road To Hana From Ka’anapali
East Maui is home to the greatest waterfall trails on the island, with many of them accessible from the Road to Hana.
The Road to Hana is a popular trip, as visitors that don’t mind some pre-planning (and an early morning) can visit many of the best stops in a single day, and still be home in time for happy hour.
It is possible to tour the Road to Hana from Ka’anapali, although you’ll want to set off early to beat the traffic through Lahaina.
We recommend planning your stops before you set out, so you can see everything you’re interested in.
If you want to spend a little more time on the Road to Hana, consider overnight accommodation in Hana town, or check out the camping options in the national parks.
Are There Waterfall Hikes Near Ka’anapali?
Ka’anapali sits between the coast and the West Maui mountains. Although there are many hiking trails close to Ka’anapali, few of them encounter waterfalls.
The best waterfall trails on Maui are found on the east of the island—some of these falls can even be spotted from the road!
West Maui does have some impressive waterfalls, such as the massive Honokohau Falls, but they aren’t always accessible by trail. If you want to get a glimpse of Honokohau, you’ll need to take a helicopter!
The best waterfall trails near Ka’anapali are Makamaka’ole Stream Trail and Waihe’e Ridge Trail. Both moderate difficulty hikes, they offer you different ways to discover the Maui waterfalls.
Otherwise, take a trip to East Maui! Twin Falls is only 15 minutes from Paia, and the easy trail encounters several falls.