Even in the middle of a sunny day, hikers here will often find they are strolling along in near darkness. The towering bamboo is so thick in places that it nearly blocks out the sun, and it creaks and whistles high in the branches as it blows in the East Maui wind. The dense jungle of bamboo aside, what makes this hike such a Maui favorite is the multiple waterfalls and swimming holes. Reaching the waterfalls can be treacherous, however, as the trail leading down from the highway to the falls is steep, slippery, and dirt. Even the entrance requires skirting a fence that has been cleared for easier entry, and it’s a “proceed at your own risk” type of trail that isn’t officially marked.
For those who choose to visit, however, four different waterfalls splash their way through a forest is laden with bamboo and guava. Each waterfall has a small swimming hole where you can escape the midday heat, and the bottom two falls are the most accessible for hikers who are simply visiting on their own. The uppermost falls are more difficult to reach as they require scaling ladders and ropes, and flash floods can sometimes occur in the narrow upper canyon. It’s best to only attempt these falls if visiting with a local or guide. Even only visiting the two bottom pools, however, is an enchanting tropical outing, and is a great way to get out and stretch your legs on the winding road out to Hana.
The Bamboo Forest is at mile marker 6.5, just past the village of Wailua. Parking is located along the mauka (mountain side) of the road, and overflow parking can be found around the bend by the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. Accidents can—and do—happen when hiking along this trail, so be sure to exercise extra caution when setting out on the hike.