Maui’s Kaupo and Kipahulu Areas Are Full of Natural Wonders

Categorized as Maui Vacation Information

Historic Churches, a World-Class Park, and Lindbergh’s Gravesite

In ancient times the Kaupo and Kipahulu regions were traditional farming and fishing areas that were home to many Hawaiians. Today there is a relatively small population in these remote areas as well as in Hana on Maui’s eastern side.

Here are some of the highlights of this amazing area:

Kaupo Gap
A huge rift in Haleakala Volcano, the Kaupo Gap can be seen clearly along the road that follows Maui’s backside through the coastal towns of Kipahulu and Kaupo. The gap was formed by a volcanic explosion that broke apart a huge section of the summit of Haleakala Volcano.

The arduous Kaupo Trail leads from the top of the volcano down to the Kipahulu region. The ambitious hike begins on the east side of Haleakala crater at the volcano’s summit and descends about 20 miles through old growth koa forests, dense rainforests, and other climactic zones before crossing ranchlands to reach the coastal town of Kaupo on Maui’s east side.

Oheo Gulch and Seven Pools
Descending from the eastern rim of Haleakala Volcano to the sea, the Oheo Gulch drains into the rainforests of Kipahulu Valley. Near the lower portion of the valley is the beautiful Waimoku Falls Trail.

Located about ten miles south of Hana, Seven Pools area is a great swimming, camping, and hiking area with dozens of pools. On the lower side of the main road are some easily accessible swimming areas in the stream. Above the road is the Waimoku Falls Trail.

Located about one mile above the Ohelo Gulch ranger station on the Waimoku Falls Trail, the Falls at Makahiku drop more than 180 feet down the mountainside. If the river isn’t dangerous due to rains then you can swim in a pool at the top of the falls. Beware of flash floods in this area. If you have questions about weather conditions, call the Kīpahulu Ranger Station at 808-248-7375.

Waimoku Falls
Another 1½ miles up on the Waimoku Falls Trail is Waimoku Falls plunging about 450 feet over a cliff. This is a great place to rest a while and splash some cold water on yourself as you enjoy the scenery.

The 4-mile-long Waimoku Falls Trail takes about two hours to hike, starting at the Kipahulu Visitor Center. You will be enchanted as you wind your way through the dense bamboo forest. Several good swimming holes are located above and below Waimoku Falls, and this whole area is part of Haleakala National Park.

Kaupo Store
Established more than 70 years ago, the Kaupo Store is a must stop to get some shave ice and snacks.

Charles Lindbergh’s Grave / Kipahulu Point Lighthouse County Park
Famous aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) spent his last years in the remote community of Hana on Maui with his wife, write Ann Morrow Lindbergh, and so that is where he was laid to rest.

Most famous for being the first to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean, Lindbergh is buried behind Kipahulu’s Palapala Hoomau Congregational Church, which was built in 1857. The granite headstone on Lindbergh’s grave is taken from Psalm 139: “If I take the wings of morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea…”

Located next to Lindbergh’s grave is Kipahulu Point Lighthouse County Park which has picnic tables and shady areas that make it a great place to enjoy the views.

Palapala Hoomau Congregational Church is located on the Piilane Highway (Hwy. 31) about one mile south of Oheo Gulch in Kipahulu.
Huialoha Church

Located in Kaupo, this historic structure was restored in the 1970s by local community members who reopened it in 1978. Huialoha means “meeting of compassion.”

St. Joseph’s Church
Recently restored by a local community group, St. Joseph’s served a large Hawaiian population living in the region in the late 1800s.