An immersive waterfall experience and jungle hike without trekking for hours under Maui’s blazing sun? Yes, please.
Twin Falls on Maui is located in the island’s Ho’olawa Valley, just 20 minutes from Paia town. One of the earliest stops along the Road to Hana (just after mile marker 2 on Hana Highway), Twin Falls is known for its easy trail to multiple waterfalls among Maui’s famous rainforest terrain and lush landscape.
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Access to the hike runs on private land, which means a visit here puts you quite literally in the locals’ backyard.
When visiting Twin Falls while driving the Road to Hana, you have a choice: make it a quick stop by walking to the lower falls and back to the parking area before driving to your next destination. Or follow our advice: Take your time exploring the area, swimming at the falls, and capturing pictures. There’s no need to rush here. You’re on island time, after all.
Drawbacks: Even the best spots on Maui have their drawbacks. For Twin Falls, its biggest downside coincides with its immense popularity.
Guests numbering 1,500 (or more) trek through daily during Maui’s high season. That means parking can fill up early in the day. Also, shallow water crossings can lead to slippery conditions. Think wet socks and shoes if you aren’t prepared.
How difficult is the Twin Falls Hike in Maui?
Some guides rate this hike as moderate difficulty, but we found the trail overall to be easy. It’s a relatively short distance to both the upper and lower falls, without much of an incline. There are, however, two sections that could prove somewhat of a challenge for those with young children, or for those who aren’t regular hikers.
Both sections include a shallow stream crossing over rocks while heading to the upper falls. Water shoes would be a good choice here.
The wet rocks are slippery, and I saw most people attempt to balance on top of the river rocks to avoid getting their feet wet.
After watching several visitors cross the stream, I came to this conclusion: The aforementioned rock balancing technique usually results in a) wet feet, b) the hiker slipping off the rocks and into the water, or c) both, thereby risking a twisted ankle or fall.
So plan to get your feet wet — unless you’re someone like my husband, an avid hiker who can bound from river rock to river rock without a second thought. He made it over both streams without a splash.
Quick Hike Facts
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length: 1.8-mile loop
Hike time: Less than an hour
Cost: $10 per car
Distance from Paia Town: 11 miles, or a 20-minute drive
Restrooms: Yes, portable toilets
Reservation required: No
Are you driving the Road to Hana? Twin Falls made our list of top stops on the famous highway. Click here to read about our other favorites: 18 BEST ROAD TO HANA STOPS FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE VACATION | INSIDER TIPS, MAP & PHOTOS
What it’s like visiting Twin Falls Maui
Weather at Twin Falls
Twin Falls feels like a world away from the chic resorts where most tourists congregate. Not only does the lush greenery contrast with the long stretches of sand, but the microclimate is different, too.
The weather on the Twin Falls side of Maui tends to be more erratic on this rainforest side of the island. That means blue skies and warm, sunny weather can quickly morph into dark rain clouds and a sudden deluge of water.
Just how much rain? The area receives 80 to 100 inches of rain each year. Compare that to Seattle’s annual average of just under 40 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
The bottom line: On some days you’ll stay dry. On others, prepare to get soaked.
Carry a lightweight poncho and extra pair of shoes and socks in the car (in case of heavy mud). You’ll feel grateful when the sky decides to open up and let loose a tropical rainstorm while you’re at the falls.
How to hike to the Upper Falls waterfall
Enter through the main entrance gate, walking in the opposite direction from the parking lot. Follow the signs for the trail. The paths are clearly marked for both the upper and lower falls.
Continue straight onto the main path. You’ll pass a stream on your left side with a bench overlooking a stream and small waterfall. Continue on the path to the right, where you’ll find a gate that leads to the upper falls trail.
Take note of the warning sign about hiking in the forest. Most notably, the presence of fire ants and the risk of flash flooding.
Walk on the upper falls trail until you reach a stream (the first of two) and a bridge on your right. Another warning sign forbids using the bridge (it’s unstable), so you have to navigate through the river rock stream.
After the first stream crossing, continue on the trail until you reach a concrete weir. Navigate across the short, elevated rock wall. Then take the steps down to the other side of the weir.
When you reach the other side, turn slightly right. You’re confronted by the second water crossing. At this point, you’ll see the upper falls a few hundred yards away.
Like the first water crossing, walk over the river rocks to dry land. Then give yourself a high five. You’ve reached the edge of the waterfall’s pool.
How to hike to the Lower Falls
It’s only a short walk from the Twin Falls parking lot to the lower falls, no more than a 5 to 10 minute walk. Follow the marked trail, a groomed dirt path.
The lower falls lie to the left of the path. Follow the trail signs, looking for the path that leads down to the stream’s edge.
If you make your way to the upper falls first, you can check out the lower falls on the way back to the parking lot. Follow the main trail until you reach the porta potties. You’ll see a trail loop sign. Facing the porta potties, walk toward the stream. Follow the trail that leads down to the stream and to the lower falls. The trail turns into rocks as you reach the lower falls.
Can you swim at Twin Falls?
Yes, you can swim at both the lower falls and upper falls. Be advised that flash floods are known to occur on this part of the island, so keep aware of your surroundings.
Also, visitors often dive into the pool at the lower falls. If you decide to make the jump, ensure that water levels are high enough and that you’re clear of any rocks below.
Directions and map to Twin Falls
Drive east on the Hana Highway coming from Paia. The parking lot entrance is just after the bend when you pass mile marker two.
Parking at Twin Falls
In 2021, the land owners at Twin Falls implemented a visitor parking fee, prompted by growing crowds at the popular Road to Hana stop. Prepare to pay $10 per vehicle to access the falls. There is no fee for local residents with valid identification.
Bear in mind that parking for the Twin Falls hike is limited, and the lot supports just up to 55 vehicles. If you show up and the lot is full, don’t think that you’ll get away with parking on the street or nearby bridge and walking back.
Not only do you risk a hefty ticket for parking illegally (“No Parking” signs line the highway), but the Twin Falls attendants will turn you away. According to the Twin Falls website, you must have a car in the Twin Falls parking area to gain entry to the trails.
Twin Falls Tours
Would you rather explore Twin Falls with an area expert? We recommend signing up for a tour with Hike Maui. I toured Twin Falls with Hike Maui during one of my visits, and we discovered that Hike Maui has access to an exclusive section of the trail that parallels the public trail.
Not only will your guide direct you to the best swimming holes and rock ledges for jumping, they will also point out local flora and fauna that you might miss if you were to hike the area without a guide.
Tips for visiting Twin Falls
- Prepare for wet weather, even if it’s sunny when you leave your hotel. It can pour at the drop of a hat at Twin Falls — It’s a rainforest, after all. Pack a poncho just in case.
- Bring a change of shoes and socks for water crossings. No one likes squishy wet socks while hiking.
- Get there early. If the parking lot fills up, you’ll have to keep driving. The parking attendants will wave you on, and there’s no parking on the street.
- Grab a snack or refreshing smoothie from the onsite farmstand to keep your energy up.
- Respect the land. You’re hiking on private property at Twin Falls, which means you’re a guest. Remember your manners: Don’t pick plants, pack out your garbage, and don’t trespass where signs tell you to stay out. Stay on trails or designated areas.
Other Things to do near Twin Falls
Soar through the jungle on a zipline eco tour
Nosh on tasty treats at nearby Haiku’s Baked on Maui
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is Twin Falls open?
The Twin Falls hike is open daily as of 2022, but may close periodically due to weather. Occasional closures occur if the trail gets too wet and muddy or if there’s a high risk of flash flooding.
Is Twin Falls worth visiting?
It depends. If you’re an avid hiker who prefers a challenging hike with sweeping vista views, Twin Falls will probably be a letdown.
Don’t get me wrong, the falls are beautiful and easy to get to for a waterfall swim. But Twin Falls is a heavily visited tourist spot that loses some of its magic because of the crowds. Also, the trail feels more like a stroll than a hike.
That said, Twin Falls is a perfect intro to Maui’s rainforest region if you aren’t terribly outdoorsy or if you have younger kids with you. The trail is short enough for most people to comfortably navigate, and you end up enjoying some beautiful waterfalls.
Is Twin Falls free?
No, getting into Twin Falls isn’t free. As of 2021, the private landowners instituted a $10 per car charge for visitors to access the trails to the upper and lower falls.
Where is Twin Falls?
Twin Falls in Maui is located just past the mile two marker sign on the Hana Highway. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive to Twin Falls from Paia Town.
How long does it take to hike Twin Falls?
You can hike Twin Falls and see both the upper and lower falls in around an hour. Allot extra time if you plan to stop for pictures or a swim break.
What time does Twin Falls open?
As of June 2022, the upper falls opens at 8:00 a.m. The lower falls opens at 7:00 a.m.