Upper Makamaka’ole Falls, Hawaii

Upper Makamaka’ole Falls in March 2012

As I was doing research to determine where waterfalls were found on Maui, I found that most of the easily accessible waterfalls were found in the eastern portion of the island. There were some falls to be found in the extremely rainy western portion of Maui, but it seems a helicopter is required to view many of those falls. One day I’ll shell out the additional money to do that, but I decided against it when I made my visit in March 2012.

As I was sitting in my hotel in Kahului, I started searching for other falls in Western Maui that could be visited without the aid of a helicopter. There were a few, and the most easily accessible seemed to be Upper Makamaka’ole Falls. Lower Makamaka’ole Falls is found along the roadside, apparently, but I also decided against visiting it.

To view Upper Makamaka’ole Falls, start hiking along the Waihe’e Ridge Trail. The first portion of the trail consists of hiking up a pretty steep paved path. That may be enough to wear you out quickly, but keep going.  The hike doesn’t let up, but it’s so worth it. About a 1/4 of a mile along the hike, look to your right. Upper Makamaka’ole Falls will be there. It is pretty far away. The photographs I have were taken at the most extreme zoom with my 55-300mm lens.

Since it’s so far away, you might wonder what is the worth of visiting Makamaka’ole Falls. Well, I have to admit the falls are secondary. If you continue along the Waihe’e Ridge Trail, you’ll be rewarded with some absolutely stunning, spectacular scenery. Amazing views of Kahului are to be had, along with views of the lush, but steep mountains. You’ll also see one or two other falls along the way, though they too are in the distance. It’s 5 miles round trip, but it’s well worth it!


  1. I would suggest coming from the west, starting at Kahului and driving along Route 340.
  2. Drive along Route 340, paying attention to the mile markers.  You really want to start paying attention after mile marker 6.
  3. About 0.9 of a mile after mile marker 6, there will be a pretty sharp curve (common on Maui), and right after that, you’ll come to a sign for Mahulia Boy Scout Camp. Carefully turn left onto that road.
  4. The road is pretty narrow, but keep driving down this paved road for 3/4 of a mile to the parking area. It will be relatively obvious, and you may notice the paved path leading uphill.
  5. Park, and start hiking up the Waihe’e Ridge Trail. After about 1/4 mile, look to your right for the falls.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/difficult, steep at first)
Height: 270′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip to see the falls, 5 miles round-trip on Waihe’e Ridge Trail

Where in the World is Upper Makamaka’ole Falls?


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