Pools of ‘Ohe’o (aka Seven Sacred Pools)

Beautiful waterfalls and pools in an absolutely stunning setting.

The Pools of 'Ohe'o, (HNP Kipahulu)

The Pools of 'Ohe'o, (HNP Kipahulu)

Rating: ★★★★★

In a nutshell: The Pools of ‘Ohe’o are the most popular attraction in East Maui. Beautiful waterfalls and pools in an absolutely stunning setting. Easy access and full NPS facilities.
Minuses: It gets very crowded as the day goes on. Access to pools is closed off frequently in wet weather.
Sound-bite: “Is that guy really going to jump from there?”

2022: The Pools of ‘Ohe’o in Kīpahulu remain closed
2022: The Campground remains closed

Tip: Visit https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/conditions.htm or call Call 808-572-4400 Option 3 on the day of your trip to find out if the pools are open.

Verdant and diverse, ‘Ohe’o Gulch is an idyllic valley cut deeply over countless millennia by an equally idyllic rainforest stream. The stream is punctuated regularly along its course by cascading waterfalls and plunge pools until it empties into the deep-blue Hawaiian ocean along the rugged Kipahulu coastline.

The most accessible pools are also very well suited for swimming and cliff-jumping – which is what makes this remote site among the most popular in all of Maui.

The Name
So, you’ve probably heard this place referred to by many names, and you may be asking: “Which is it? ‘Ohe’o Gulch, Haleakala National Park Kipahulu, or Seven Sacred Pools?” The proper name of this attraction is ‘Ohe’o (Oh-Hey-Oh). “Seven Sacred Pools” is a name coined decades ago by the owner of what is now Travaasa Hana (previously Hotel Hana Maui) for the purpose of marketing this deservingly spectacular (but then unknown) remote location to tourists. Since this is part of the Haleakala National Park, the NPS has also added their own name to the mix “Haleakala National Park, Kipahulu.”

Whatever you call it, this collection of (many more than seven) pools and waterfalls is absolutely spectacular!

National Park
Since ‘Ohe’o is Part of the Haleakala National Park, the fee you pay here will also get you in to the Haleakala Summit (and vice versa – so save your receipt!) Admission to the entire park is $15 for a three-day pass or $25 bucks gets you an annual pass to Haleakala, Volcanoes (Big Island) and Pu’uhonua O Honaunau (Big Island) National Parks.

There are full National Park facilities at ‘Ohe’o, including a Ranger Station (with displays and great information), campground, large paved parking lots and bathroom.

The park has unenforced and largely ignored signage prohibiting jumping. There is a notice-board by the ranger station that contains clippings of newspaper articles documenting the many tragedies that have occurred over the years. In fact I tragically lost an acquaintance here in April 2013.

That understood, I believe a life worth living is not without risks. I pay my respect by always remembering, and explaining to others that this place, like much of Maui, is a wild and untamed place that demands respect – not taming.

If you decide to jump, keep in mind that injuries often happen at times other than the jump itself. Expect to slip on wet rocks when you’re moving around, and always know what your backup is gonna be when you lose footing, grip, etc – whether that is to hold on to an alternate anchor, or safely launch away from the rock face before that split second expires when gravity decides where you’re headed. It also should go without saying to get good information on where it is safe, understand your own limitation, and always survey the landing area first.

Aside: If you choose to jump with your jewelry on, the local guys that regularly come prospecting with snorkel gear thank you very much!

Avoiding/Minimizing the Crowd
The pools are very popular, so you should expect the place to become more and more crowded as the day progresses – and there is such a difference between a crowded ‘Ohe’o madhouse and the less crowded majesty offered to the few that get here earlier in the day.

There are a number of ways to avoid the crowds at ‘Ohe’o – all involve getting there before noon. Staying in, or along the Road to Hana (or in the campgrounds at the park) can get you there well before the afternoon rush. Another option is to get started very, very early (isn’t this your vacation?!?) and go through the back side of Haleakala. This will put you one step ahead of the critical mass of visitors all day.

All the above said, if you have only one day devoted to your Road to Hana adventure, rushing through it to get here early would be a mistake. Save enough time to do a Pipiwai Trail hike (see below) and that will get you away from the crowd at the pools 🙂

A Spectacular Hike
Another spectacular activity in the park (that doesn’t ever get madhouse crowded) is mauka the road – hiking the Pipiwai Trail which passes stunning vistas, pools, waterfalls (including the 200′ Makahiku Falls), jungle, a bamboo forest, culminating at the base of the 400′ high Waimoku Falls. (See the Pipiwai Trail and Waimoku Falls post for more detail.)

If The Drive Is Discouraging You
Some people skip this highlight of Maui because they simply can’t enjoy a day built around driving winding narrow jungle and cliffside roads. If that’s you, check out my article about Valley Isle Excursions who offers an incredible way to experience the Pools of ‘Ohe’o and the Road to Hana.

Key Info:
Mile Marker: #42* (Hana Hwy aka Hwy 31 – *After Hana markers go back down)
GPS Coordinates: 20.661458,-156.045299
Facilities: National Park Rangers, Information Facility, Camping (no add’l fee/no permit req’d), grills, picnic tables and bathrooms. No potable water is available in the park.
Fee: $15/car – NPS Info: https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/kipahulu.htm
Get directions

View Seven Sacred Pools aka ‘Ohe’o Gulch in a larger map

  1. As of dec. 30th, 2022 The pools are closed for swimming. There are large signs at the visitor center that say NO SWIMMING ALLOWED ANYWHERE IN THE PARK. We followed up with the ranger and they confirmed no swimming was allowed due to the lack of instruments that could measure water activity and water safety.

  2. Brian Hollister says:

    I slipped and fell over the last waterfall into the ocean (i was helping someone cross the stream) and anyhow I slipped and fell over the watefall side and nearly died falling into the ocean waters below.


    I was rescued by surfers and not airlifted by helicopter thankfully and went my ambulance to the Hana Hospital which was shocked to see that I had no injuries or cuts or anything wrong from the fallover….usually people die or are horribly injured.

    I was on the news for days as the Chicago tourist who slipped at the Falls and went over the Waterfall into the ocean below….several people asked for my blessings since I survived….and YES, It felt like I died and went to heaven, my whole life flashed before me falling in those few seconds, unable to control my fall I blacked out and crashed into the bottom as water wave was coming in, otherwise I would have smashed onto the rocks below.

    Maybe I should post my going to heaven story? ….I am not a believer a greater being, but what I saw scared and comforted me at the same time….it changed my life forever and stil does.

    It was terrifying. I’ve gone back years later and did a big thanks for sparing my life. Several locals told me their family members and loved ones have passed away from getting hurt at the Falls.

    JUST BE VERY CAREFUL and RESPECTFUL as Mother Nature Always Wins!

    • Barbara Hamlyn says:

      Thank you for sharing your story!! It should really help to make people be careful!!
      ( And I hope one day you can accept that there WAS a “ higher Hand” that helped you!! Too many “ coincidences “ happen to be just coincidences!!! ) So happy for you that you’re still here to share your terrifying adventure!!

  3. Does America the Beautiful Pass work here? Or would you still need to pay the entrance fee?

  4. Looking forward to this hike in November. I have a National Park Senior Pass. Is that all we need to get into Haleakala National Park?

  5. MrsE says:

    Would this be a safe hike with a 2 year old? He’ll be in a hiking backpack.

    • Helene Langlois says:

      This is a pretty safe hike. Although know that the pools are often closed for swimming.

  6. Samantha says:

    Thank you so much for this information! I’m planning to go see the Haleakala sunrise and figured while i’m there, I can go hike the seven sacred pools and Pipiwai trail. Do you have any thoughts on this? Assuming since it’s close in proximity it would make the most sense doing it all in one day.

    • Hi Samantha! You can definitely do this, however the Kipahulu portion of the park is not directly accessible from the Crater. You will need to drive back down Crater Road then toward Kipahulu. Check out my article called “The Backside of Haleakala” for the route and what to expect to see on the way 🙂 Have a wonderful visit!

    • Helene Langlois says:

      You might not want to do both of those in the same day unless you go very early to Haleakala for sunrise or something. The 7 sacred pools are often closed for swimming but you can do the small hike beside them to view the pools and ocean.

  7. Traci M says:

    I got engaged at the seven sacred pool in July 1998! Got married in 2000- been married 20 years!

    • Diane Fuller says:

      Extremely belated congrats!

      Our 2 week trip to the islands of Hawaii back in 1982, was for our 1st anniversary. We were in Maui for 4 days (a 3-island trip: Oahu, Maui, Kauai) and wanted to cram as much site seeing as we could in as we live on Long Island, NY and had no expectations of a return trip, so drove up to Haleakala (got car sick on the way up to see the crater and on the way down) and the following day was the car ride to Hana/Seven Sacred Pools…on the drive there, stopped at a roadside fruit stand for a freshly cut papaya hoping having food in my tummy might help… it didn’t 🙃… yep, car sick on the drive there and we stayed and enjoyed the pools… but got car sick on the return drive back to Lahaina. 🤷‍♀️🙃 Would I do the drive out the day after the Haleakala tummy upset, if I knew for sure it would have occurred?.. You bet! ☺️💚

  8. Are the pools and hiking trail currently open? Also, how long should I plan to spend here if the hike is open?

    • Yes, they are open. If you would like to do the whole hike and spend some time at the pools I suggest a minimum of 3 hours.

    • David Bridge says:

      We were just there yesterday and while the pools ARE open, they were closed when we went due to the rain. It was a pretty wet couple of days driving the road to Hana. The hike to the falls at the end of the Pipiwai Trail is amazing and not to be missed. I’d wear decent hiking or closed toe shoes for the hike though…remember, you’re hiking in a jungle!

  9. Sharin Berger says:

    Can you go to the pools without driving the whole road to Hana?

    • If you take a tour with a company like Valley Isle Excursions you don’t have to drive, will have a great local guide, and they cater it as well. That is what I would do if I didn’t love driving it!

      • Elizabeth says:

        What if you wanted to do the complete Road to Hana one day and then revisit the pools a separate day? Would you still have to drive the whole Road to Hana or could you drive counter clockwise using HI 37? Google maps generates a route to do it but I’m wondering if it really is possible and if so, how safe it would truly be.

  10. Shawnna says:

    Hello, my mother was born in Hawaii in 1959 and just passed away in November and I was looking at spots to spread a small ( 2-4 oz) amount of her ashes. It was her dream to return to Hawaii, but was never healthy or able to. She made me promise that when she passed I would make the trip there to bring a part of her spirit home. I have talked to DLNR and I am applying for the proper permits. What would I need to spread them over the Waterfall. I know they are closed, but it will be at least two years before I can make the trip.

    • Pat Easterling says:

      I would not dream of asking permission to spread ashes. Just go early and have a private ceremony.

  11. Tracy Beckerman says:

    One of the people in our party has a broken ankle. Would she be able to see much of the park if she can’t hike?

    • Aloha Tracy, this is not a good place to go for those who are having trouble walking. The drive to and from is beautiful right from the car though!

      • Josh Billings says:

        We are coming to Maui on Feb 11, 2018…I’m guessing the pools are still closed? Been to them 5 times throughout the years and have enjoyed the area eminsly, just don’t want to be disappointed in getting there to find they are closed still.

      • Aloha Josh, yes the are still closed 🙁 They are going to be doing some scaling work in the coming months, hopefully that will be effective and get this gem open again! If you are able, I suggest doing the Pipiwai trail hike from the park while the pools are closed – it is magical!

    • james says:

      The pools are closed with no date for reopening.

      At the gate they will tell you that there is no swimming, but there is also no visiting many of the coolest locations. They have posted threatening signs.

      I used to love this place, but it was not worth the $25 dollar entry fee or the drive any longer.

      • You can walk on the paved walkway overlooking the pools, unfortunately you can not walk down on the rock to the edge of the pools.

  12. Kelly says:

    I heard these pools were closed due to a rockslide in January 2017 is this true?

    • The Pools of ‘Ohe’o in our Kīpahulu District are CLOSED indefinitely due to safety concerns with landslides. We will update the conditions of the pools once it becomes available. Hiking trails in Kīpahulu remain open.

  13. The Seven Sacred Pools are beautiful . A must see if you are going to Maui.
    The Park management is overly aggressive about closing the access to the
    stream. People have been hurt so great care is advised.

  14. Merijoyce says:

    I’m getting married in Maui and I’m planning a trip there with some of my wedding guests and I wanted to know how feasible it is to do the sunrise at Haleakala then go to the seven pools afterwards. What would a day like that look like? How would we plan the day (are there places to eat in Haleakala national park, what are the routes and drives we would have to take, etc.)? What directions would we take from Kihei? Thank you!

    • Matt Culpepper says:

      We just got back from Maui (wedding on Kauai, honeymoon on Maui) and I can tell you that it takes a while to get around the Island. Also, there is no direct route from Haleakala to the Pools. Basically you would have to take the road to Hana to get there which is more or less an all day excursion. And I wouldn’t recommend “rushing” through the Road to Hana because you would miss many special places and waterfalls along the way and in any case you’re typically only doing about 10-15mph no matter what. Make it two separate days so that you can properly enjoy such a beautiful, remote place that make take you years to get back to! Also, there are no places for food in Haleakala so bring everything you need for the day, take a hike down the Sliding Sands Trail and back up (as far as you want to go), and then head back for the rest of the afternoon on the beach. Hana and the Pools will still be there tomorrow! Enjoy!

      • Matt Culpepper says:

        Don’t be scared to continue on West from the Pools along the Piilani Hwy back to Kahului. The first 15 miles or so are not any faster than the road to Hana but after that is a beautifully paved road with gorgeous views of the cliffs right on the ocean.

  15. Kassandra says:

    Hello! I am writing in regards to the camping that is available at or nearest, the Ohe’o Gulch. Where is the nearest point to camp, and will we be needing a permit? Also, anyone knowing good camping spots on Maui, Molokai or Lanai, I would love some advice!

    Thanks so much

    • Oheo has a campground in the park, it is free with paid admission to the park. You do not need a permit. Other camping options on Maui are quite limited, including Haleakala Crater, Hosmer Grove, Waianapanapa, Poli Poli, Kanaha Beach Park. Camp Olowalu is Maui’s only private campground, and it’s on the West side.

      • Samantha Lainer says:


        so i would pay a standard entrance fee and then can camp free over night?

      • Shawn says:

        How far is the walk from the parking lot to the sacred pools?

      • Aloha Mitch – Yes, the pools are closed temporarily when it rains heavily and the stream monitoring equipment indicates their is a risk of flash flooding. Best bet is to call the park at the number in the article to find out if the pools are open before heading out.

  16. Can someone please tell me if the pools are open?

    I have an upcoming trip, 11/14 – 11/22, but I’ve noticed a few recent comments that the pools might be closed.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  17. Hello, I went to these pools over the summer with my family, they were absolutely beautiful! (Although a little slippery). But I was wondering if anyone knew how deep these pools are? When we went in, even while swimming, I could not reach the bottom of the pool. Also, since it is so hard to see, I was reluctant to go too deep. I was just a little curious. Also, Me and my family were there almost the whole day, and I expected it to be more crowded than it was. There weren’t too many people– it was a comfortable amount. So even if the amount of people there scares you, you shouldn’t need to take that much caution. (Although, there may be other factors that lead to the lesser amount of people that day).

  18. Christina Guerrero says:

    Aloha! I will be surprising my family of 6 with a first ever family vacation to Hawaii! I am really excited & want to hike with my family to the 7 sacred falls. We will be arriving April 25th-May 5th. Can you tell me how the weather is typically during this time? We will be coming from the Royal Kahana Outrigger. What would be the best route to get to the falls? Thanks!!!

  19. Al Perez says:

    Are the Pools closed? Arriving Sat August 22 2015. Can someone tell me.

    • Aloha Al – Unfortunately the stream is closed until they replace the stream flow monitoring equipment that allows them to know when it is safe for visitors to. Alexa called and spoke with the person in charge just now, and they are still in the process of acquiring the equipment, so it is unlikely it will be open for your visit.

  20. Josh Bautista says:

    The pools are now closed until further notice. Someone stole the emergency siren equipment used to warn visitors of rising streams and flash flooding emergencies. New equipment will have to be flown in from the Mainland and there is no time frame for the pools to re-open anytime soon. Please check with the park before you go for further updates.

  21. valeria says:

    Hi, we’ll be visiting O’heo Gulch on the second half of November, what are the chances of it being closed? Thanks a lot!

    • The park is aggressively over cautious. If it’s raining up the mountain, which is quite frequent, there is a good chance they will close the pools these days. Best bet is to call them when you’re here.

  22. Scott, the water in the pools is not drink-able. Aside from that, in the 2nd tier from the top, the water made my hair feel as if it had conditioner on it – the softest, kindest water I’ve ever felt. I didn’t go to the top tier, but next time, I will. The water has a natural, mineral softness – it’s much like the folks who tout those “hot springs;” it is like a complete “healing” experience; something that absolutely must be experienced! Since the water is circulated, via the falls, it is never stagnant and always fresh and clean (just don’t drink it – it’s not treated for drinking). There are times of “low water” also; and the falls and pools are not as beautiful, but are still a must-visit, even in those drier times.

  23. hello
    does anyone know of water quality issues or warnings associated with these ponds?

  24. The Seven sacred pools , or the seven sacred seas whatever you chose to call it is absolutely enchanting . I went with my son Justin and my friend Joe and we had a marvelous time , exploring and swimming in the pools . It is an experience I won’t forget . If you have the chance to go experience it , please do by all means .

  25. The National Park closes off access to the lower pools much of the time due to “high water”. As noted above there is no potable water in the park. The park office sells a few expensive treats like chocolate covered macadamia nuts, but they carry no bottled water. Bring plenty, especially if you plan to hike to the upper falls. Also wear a decent trail shoe or sandal. Flip-flops are not a good choice.

  26. Deborah There are some hotels and vacation homes on Hana If I’m not mistaking. Good luck. I went to Hana once and I would love to go again. Took all day driving because we stopped to see everything. It’s so worth it.

  27. Debra smith says:

    My daughter Is 47 years old. She has terminal cancer I am trying to get a trip planned to Maui because this is her dream. There will be 10 of us going. Her Wish is to see and be able to go down to a waterfall. Will she be able to make the trek. Also is there any home or facilities that can house 10 people in Maui if you have any ideas please text me back. Thank you so very much.

    • Aloha Debra –

      Of course it all depends on the condition of your daughter at the time of the hike. The good news is there are loads of waterfalls on the Road to Hana that you will pass, so you will get to see them. If you daughter is in good enough physical shape for a moderate 3-4 mile hike, the Pipiwai trail that goes uphill from this same location (Oheo) would be a must-do in my opinion if I were under the same circumstances. I wish you all the most wonderful memories from your Maui trip.

  28. Jeff says:

    I have a question about getting to the pools from Kahului. I heard that there is a dirt road that connects the highway at a certain point… I am concerned because I am renting a car and the rental cars are not allowed to go off of paved surfaces…can I still take the road to Hana or must I go around a different way? Thanks to anyone that could help

  29. Carlos says:

    Just went there yesterday. It was a little late in the afternoon. But still a few people. The pools were fairly cool. But the further up you go the better to block some of the wind. If you can climb fairly well I would go to the top 1) less people and 2) very serene. The second pool from the top you can go under the waterfall and have someone take your picture. This is definitely a must in Maui. Also leave your resort or hotel with plenty of time and take snacks. Road to Hana is VERY slow going and lots of little stops. Without stops could take 2.5 hrs from Kahului. Locals drive like maniacs on this road passing in no passing zones, honking when you stop before a one lane bridge because a car is coming from the other direction, riding on you bumper.

    • Mark says:

      What many visitors don’t realize is that on Maui (and especially on the Road to Hana) we let people pass when we’re going slow. People who live in Hana have to go to Kahului regularly and this is their only road. They are very experienced in driving the winding narrow road, and are also not sightseeing – so the 2.5 hours it takes you to drive is actually 1.5 hours for a local if unobstructed. Please try and remember that when driving the road, let anyone trying to go faster pass, and you will have a much more enjoyable visit!

  30. Susan says:

    We have three kids. The youngest is 7 years old. Is the hike and falls a good idea? What type of shoes do you wear? Do you have to swim through water or walk through deep water to get through the trail? Running shoes or water shoes best?

    • Aloha Susan. Wear shoes you can get wet and muddy, there are two stream crossings. We have four kids and they all do the hike regularly. I have also taken groups of young schoolchildren to the falls as well. Most seven-year-olds can outpace mom and dad – but only you know your kids well 🙂

  31. Kristina says:

    Is this area safe for kids? I have a 7 year old and a 12 year old going to be with me….

  32. Michelle says:

    My father rides a scooter but can walk short distances. We would like to visit this. Any idea if it is accessible to use an electric scooter to get there?


    • If the scooter is designed to go off-pavement on trails (there may be some small obstacles, I definitely would only do it if is equally mobile on terrain as a golf cart) he may be able to get to overlooks and if he is able to walk steps, he will be able to get a bit closer. You can also see a bit less dramatic view of the pools from the car – there is a small bridge over the stream just before the entrance to the park where you may be able to stop and admire for a few moments.

  33. Aloha, my grandmother Josephine Kauakea Roback Medeiros was a Hawaiian historian. She gave the seven sacred pools it’s name. We know that the seven sacred pools name is Ohe’o. The reason for the name seven sacred pools is beacause seven of those pools are sacred. my grandmother learned this from her kupunas. Some of the park rangers argue that this is not the correct name and it should only be called Ohe’o .
    Keep in mind that they were told this by someone who knows nothing about seven pools being sacred. Everyone born and raised in Hana before my grandmother got sick knows this for a fact. There are some misinformed story writers out there that say different from misinformed people out there and I just wanted to set the record straight! I still and will always call it The Seven Sacred Pools! Missmaui40@Aol.com

    • Susan says:

      Yes I agree Seven Sacred Pools will change your life! For the better xoxo

    • Thanks for this info. Upon entering Haleakala National Park I asked the fellow who took my money if this also allows access to the Seven Sacred Pools and was informed quite rudely that there is no such place. next time I will set him straight!

      • The Ranger shouldn’t have been rude but he/she was correct that there is no such place. The name was not used by kupuna or local kupa’aina. The grandmother mentioned above was not from Kipahulu, not a Historian, but was a Hostess and Social Director at Hotel Hana-Maui and along with the Comptroller of the company in the 1950’s created a publicity campaign they called the 7 Wonders of Hana (of which seven sacred pools was one). They never told anyone which 7 or why they were sacred or how the ancient Hawaiians could pronounce the name of their sacred site in a language they did not know. This was all dispelled in research by the Pacific Historian in the 1970’s and widely published including interviews with the Social Director (admittedly a very nice lady but who’s business was hotel guest happiness, not history) so it is somewhat curious that some in the tourism industry are still using the false name to sell their tours. BTW; ‘Ohe’o is not the name of any particular pools or stream, but just the gulch/gorge that Palikea Stream flows through in its lower 1mile to the ocean. At one point in an effort to resurrect her fake history of the sacred pools, she published a story claiming that ‘Ohe’o comes from the sacred Ohe bamboo in the valley. As kama’aina of Kipahulu know, the bamboo which is prevalent and an interesting feature of a hike on the Pipiwai Trail was not there when ancient Hawaiians were swimming, bathing and washing clothes in the non-sacred stream. It is not native bamboo but was planted on the edges of the Kaumakani sugar fields by Japanese laborers who maintained the water flumes for the plantation. Later it grew down the slopes to cover the floor of Pipiwai valley and the former taro patches.

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