Cascading over 7 incredible waterfalls right down the river into the Pacific Ocean, the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui are one of the most beautiful sites on the whole island. This is one of the highlights of the Road to Hana and also one of the best hikes in Haleakala National Park.
We finished our day on the Road to Hana with hikes up the Pipiwai Trail and a visit to the 7 Sacred Pools. This was our favorite part of the road to Hana and the perfect way to finish the drive south. along the coast.
In this article we will share everything you need to know to plan your visit to the Seven Sacred Pools in Hawaii. If you are looking for a quick snapshot, look in the section below or for more details on how to get to the Seven Sacred Pools in Maui, what to expect on the hike and what else to do in the area, you can find all that further down in this article.
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Note: you will also see this attraction referred to as Ohe’o Gulch, Pools of Ohe’o, or Seven Pools of Hana among other names.
Quick Look at the Maui Seven Pools Hike
Distance:0.6 miles Elevation Gain: 100 feet Difficulty: easy
The Seven Sacred Pools hike is in the southeastern corner of Maui within Haleakala National Park. To get to the 7 Sacred Pools you will need to take a short hike from the parking lot. The hike is short and easy with an easy to follow trail. The trail is a 0.6 mile loop and takes about 20-40 minutes to complete.
You can hike the route in either direction and since this is a popular route you will likely see many other people along the trail. Use caution when viewing the pools as there are some drop offs on the rocks overlooking the falls and the pools.
You can read recent reviews and trail conditions by visiting the NPS site.
Map of the Maui 7 Pools Hike
About the 7 Sacred Pools Maui
Historical and Cultural Background
The 7 Sacred Pools, known as ‘Ohe’o Gulch’ in Hawaiian, hold great significance as a spiritual and sacred site for the Hawaiian people. The area was once inhabited by native Hawaiians, who held deep reverence for the natural beauty and resources of the land.
Connection to Hawaiian Mythology and Legends
According to ancient Hawaiian beliefs, the pools were said to be inhabited by gods and goddesses. The legends states that the demigod Maui transformed himself into a bird and brought water from the pools to irrigate the taro fields to help the people. The pools are considered a manifestation of Maui’s divine intervention and they are considered revered site in Hawaiian culture.
Natural Formation and Geology of the Pools
The 7 Sacred Pools are a series of waterfalls and natural pools that flow from the Ohe’o Gulch to the Pacific ocean. The pools are formed by the streams that originate from the nearby Haleakala volcano’s rainforests. Over time, the flowing water carved intricate rock formations, creating a mesmerizing landscape of tiered pools and waterfalls.
The geology of the area plays an important role in the formation of these pools. The volcanic soil and porous rocks allow water to seep through causing erosion and resulting in plenty of water. The consistent rain replenishes the pools, ensuring their perennial flow. If you follow the Ohe’o Gulch up stream, you will find several additional waterfall along the Pipiwai Trail.
Planning your Trip to the Seven Sacred Pools Maui
Getting to the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui
The only way to get to the 7 Sacred Pools is to drive the Road to Hana (or take the road around the southern part of Maui). The Road to Hana is a windy, beautiful, and popular drive that takes much longer than your might think. If you are driving the road to Hana to the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui, you should plan to spend the full day exploring. Follow route 360, the Road to Hana, to Hana and continue to the parking lot.
If you aren’t up for driving the Road to Hana yourself, you can also do the route as part of a guided tour. This tour is one of the best choices for seeing the sites on the Road to Hana.
Parking and Fees to Visit the Seven Sacred Pools on Maui
To get to the parking lot, you will pass through the gate for Haleakala National Park. This area is within the National Park and you will need to pay the park fee or use you Annual Parks pass to enter.
The parking lot is large but since most people visit here during the middle of the day after driving the Road to Hana, the parking lot can get crowded. There are facilities in the parking lot including a visitor center and restrooms.
Best Time to Visit the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui
You can visit the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui at any time during the year. The trail is popular and can be crowded, especially in the middle of the day. If possible, visit the 7 Sacred Pools early in the morning or late in the afternoon or early evening.
The best time to visit the pools is during the dry season April-October.
What to Pack and Wear when Visiting the Seven Sacred Pools in Maui
The trail to the pools is relatively short and easy and can be done in most clothing and footwear. That said, we recommend doing the hike in hiking boots or sneakers and bringing water and a snack. Sunscreen and a hat are also helpful as there is very little shade along the route.
Details of Exploring the 7 Sacred Pools Maui
I hiked to the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui at the very end of the day on our drive along the Road to Hana. We hiked the Pipiwai Trail as a family (although Finley wasn’t feeling good and waited in the parking lot). After the hike, I took a few minutes and did the trail trail to the 7 Sacred Pools on my own. I walked quickly and the entire walk took me about 15 minutes to walk the trail.
I chose to walk the trail in a counter clockwise direction but either route is good. I liked walk up the river as it gave me the best views of the waterfall. While the trail isn’t a mandatory one-way route, the signs will direct you to walk the trail in a counterclockwise direction.
The start of the trail from the parking lot descends gently through a field with views out towards the ocean. After just a short distance, the trail turns to the left and meets up with the Gulch and you have instant views of the waterfalls and the 7 Sacred Pools.
As you walk up the path, there are several viewing areas. Some of these are along the edge with a steep drop off to the river. Use caution on the rocks, especially if they are wet and follow all posted signage along the trail.
After enjoying the view, continue up the river on the path and loop back to the start of the hike. The entire loop is 0.6 miles and if you add in time to take photos and enjoy the view, you should plan on 20-40 minutes for the hike.
Other Nearby Hikes and Sites
While I recommend visiting the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui, it is a long drive and I highly recommend adding on other interesting sites nearby and along the Road to Hana. Below are a few other local sites and hikes to explore.
- Pipiwai Trail Hike
- The Epic Sliding Sands Trail and Halemau’u Trail – Haleakala National Park
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Wailua Falls
- Hiking Guide to Haleakala National Park
Final Reminders of Visiting the Seven Pools in Maui
It is important to emphasize the significance of respecting the natural environment around the 7 Sacred Pools. Visitor should stay on designated trails, refrain from littering, and avoid damaging or removing any plants or wildlife helps preserve the fragile ecosystem for future generations. Always practice Leave no Trace principles. Not only is the ecosystem fragile, but this is a special site in many other ways.
Visitors can actively contribute to the preservation efforts of the 7 Sacred Pools by supporting local organizations or initiatives dedicated to environmental conservation. This includes participating in volunteer programs, donating to relevant causes, or spreading awareness about the importance of protecting the natural beauty and cultural significance of the pools.
Common Questions about 7 Sacred Pools in Maui
Can I swim in the 7 Sacred Pools?
No – there is no swimming at the 7 Sacred Pools in Maui.
What is the best time of year to visit the 7 Sacred Pools?
The pools are beautiful year-round, but it’s recommended to visit during the drier months (April to October) for easier access and clearer water conditions.
Are there hiking trails near the 7 Sacred Pools?
Yes, there are several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the pools and surrounding rainforest. The Pipiwai Trail is a popular choice, leading to the majestic Waimoku Falls.