In a nutshell: A sweet ~70′ drive-up triple waterfall and plunge pool.
Minuses: Parking & the first step is a doozy!
Sound-bite: “Hey, how did you get down there?”
A very popular set of falls because it is photogenic and situated like a drive-thru right on the road.
Most folks drive up and snap a photo and drive off – mainly because there are few places to stop and park. If you’d like more than a drive-by view, you should drive about 1/10 mile past the falls – there is a small parking area (though you will have to walk back along the narrow road with no shoulder.)
When these falls are at a safe flow rate (like in the photos) you can take a short hike down from the road and swim. There is a bit of a sketchy drop down to the trail from the bridge (left side mauka or makai the bridge, so pick your poison!) Judge your ability and condition of the landing spots when you’re there – you *definitely* don’t want to slip – though once you’re past those initial couple steps and have your footing the rest of the trail is far more forgiving.
Once down at the falls it is a gorgeous scene, and besides the envious gawkers up at the bridge who are wondering how the heck you got down there, you may have the pool all to yourself.
The water on these falls is often exceptionally clear. You can stand under the waterfalls for a great photo as it’s shallow with good footing at the edge. While it’s deep enough to swim in, there aren’t any places without rocks/hazards which make this poole unsafe for cliff jumping or diving.
Red torch ginger is abundant on the trail, and as of March 2012 the trail has been rearranged by a landslide, so you’ll be navigating around stray boulders, trees and clumps of mud.
Video: Down At The Falls
Mile Marker: #19.6 (Hana Hwy aka Hwy 360)
GPS Coordinates: 20.832342,-156.138918
Facilities: No facilities
View Upper Waikani Falls in a larger map
2 comments about “Upper Waikani Falls (aka Three Bears)”
Alan J Hoornstra says:
Am hoping that I can visit this falls the next time I’m in Maui in the early part of the year. I am photographer from the west coast of the United States am interested in capturing these falls. A few questions if I may:
When do you suggest the best time to visit the falls?
I the parking clearly marked?
What side of the road is the parking area?
Do I need and kind of parking pass/credentials?
Is the hike/ down the hillside very difficult?
Aloha Alan – It is fairly treacherous at first, but short. You can get fairly decent photos from the roadside too, so if you’re unsure of your safety, stay at the overlook. It is not marked and there is no official parking – use the map and gps points in this article to find it. As to when to come, there is no particular time as the conditions are dependent on rain and sun. If you want good waterfall pictures you need to either get lucky or come out frequently till you get lucky! Aloha!