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My last trip to the pools of Oheo on Maui was more than 15 years ago, but not a week goes by when I don’t reflect on the extraordinary experience of being there. If I had the chance to “re-live” only one of my Hawaii memories, perhaps this would be the one.
For those of you reading this, that may seem like a pretty big statement — after all, I’ve experienced a thousand interesting and fun things here in Hawaii. But, if you make the trip to the pools of Oheo, either by yourself or by booking a Maui Hiking Tour through Hawaii Aloha Travel, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
WHAT ARE THE POOLS OF OHEO?
The Pools of Oheo (sometimes called the Seven Sacred Pools), are a series of tiered, swimmable pools located in Oheo Gulch. The gulch is located in the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park. According to MauiGuidebook.com, Oheo 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.
DO I NEED TO PAY TO GET IN?
Since Oheo 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 Oheo, including a Ranger Station (with displays and great information), campground, large paved parking lots and bathroom.
WHAT ABOUT JUMPING IN?
The park has signage prohibiting jumping in, and I would highly recommend you heed the rules. However, you’ll probably notice some people ignoring the warnings and doing it anyway. There have been numerous deaths and injuries here due to jumping in. So, it’s no joke — follow the rules!
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
The pools become more and more popular as the day progresses, and many visitors will tell you it’s worth getting there early to enjoy a bit of peace before the big crowds appear.
There are a number of ways to avoid the crowds at Oheo – 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. According to MauiGuidebook.com, 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.
ARE THERE NEARBY HIKES?
Yes, yes, yes! One of the most spectacular hikes is 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.
If you have the time, the energy, and the patience to drive the road to Hana, you’ll be well-rewarded at the Pools of Oheo on Maui. Just remember to follow the rules, get there early, and plan to spend a while enjoying the experience!