For years… YEARS, I had envisioned walking the Pipiwai trail, however the mere thought of it flat out frightened me.
From the reading I did, it sounded so aggressive. 2.5ish hours in? One way? Uphill? Crazy talk, we’re on vacation after all.
However, once my sister Wendy enticed encouraged me, I covered all those ‘gruelling details with a disclaimer… “Let’s just see how we do…” It gave us permission to at least try rather than say no way.
All I can say is, I am so grateful for all my bike trail rides because every leg muscle I owned was needed and then some!
However, it was one of those experiences you will never forget, in a very good way.
If you’re new here, you may wish to read these first…
Road to Hana Day 1 with tips
Road to Hana Day 3 – you are here! Let’s hike.
So… we left off with having a wonderful, relaxing night at our jungle cottage in Nahiku. So being that we were near the area in the AM, we didn’t have to fight the roads with much traffic nor was parking an issue.
To get to this area was a little intense. It’s a beautiful paved drive to and through Hana, however after Hana, the road really narrows and it feels like FOREVER. Maybe because we were so anxious?
All I can say is, once we reached the main parking lot, I was SO GRATEFUL to get out and walk.
I just didn’t have any idea what exactly that meant yet…
The Pipiwai Trail and 7 Sacred Pools share the same parking lot, which is so convenient! You pay to park, then cross the road to go up to the bamboo forest, then cross the road to go down to the 7 Sacred Pools.
Sounds easy enough, right?
When we asked for advice on which one to do first, and the guide suggested we do the Pipiwai Trail to ‘get it out of the way’, it confirmed that we were indeed heading for ‘quite the adventure.’
What to bring with you:
Allow 4 hours to be safe. Some take all day with guides that include swimming. We took 3.5 hours.
Have your hands free if you can. I wore my camera bag and carried a bottle of water. Many wore backpacks however I didn’t want the added weight. Wendy wore a shoulder strap small bag that held her camera AND water which was the best thing ever.
Bring water. I had 1 water bottle. 2 would have been nice.
Bring protein. I carried beef jerky.
Bring a lunch or snack to reward yourself with at the final destination if you don’t mind carrying it.
Wear good supportive walking shoes with decent grip.
Be relatively fit. There are LOTS of stairs.
Be steady on your feet. There is LOTS of uneven footing.
Right off the bat, we came upon rock stairs.
And then more stairs. And then those stairs curved into more stairs.
Oh my. Is this a stair filled hike?!
At least we were super fortunate to have a beautiful dry day.
And just when I didn’t think I could climb even one more step, the path would level out and offer a beautiful flat walk through the tallest grassy area.
This was the hottest part of the walk. The heat really beat down leaving you drenched from every single pore. I reasoned I’d better ration my water sooner than later.
And then THIS. Crazy beautiful, however effort was required.
The roots really made footing tricky. Especially when you got tired. You just really had to remain mindful where you were walking.
The surroundings were so beautiful, like walking through this winding meadow in some foreign land. (ok, I guess that’s where we were). However the roots really made you stop walking in order to appreciate.
This was actually such a lovely part of the trail. I had NO idea how many groves of trees we’d embark on. It was like walking into a new little valley because all the trees were the same, then you’d exit that valley only to enter another.
And then there she was… the famous banyan tree. It was pretty spectacular.
When you reach landmarks you read about, you know you’re on the right track.
This ‘meadow type walk’ went on for about an hour and a half.
Along the way, there were so many places where you could catch a glimpse over cliffs so you could really appreciate where you actually were!
The view above is the top of a bamboo forest.
It was then I started to feel the excitement build…
A bridge guided you right into it, instantly changing the world around you.
This was the view from the bridge. It’s said to be part of the 7 Sacred Pools.
Giddy to finally be THERE, we dashed right over for pictures!
However… the path turned to rocks. All the places showed planked walks. What’s with the rocks?!
I was hoping the planks would come soon. Because I wanted to look at the forest, not my feet.
Although the rocks went on and on and on, it really was so spectacular. There was no wind so we didn’t hear the bamboo clink against each other, however I’ve heard the sound is pretty magical.
Can you imagine trying to walk all this in wet conditions? I can’t even…
And just when I found myself verbally complaining about said rocks…
… the planks appeared!
Oh thank goodness, what a breath of fresh air.
It appears they were changing some of the pathways to this new improved one. How in the world would they get this stuff way up here?!
Insert whatever magical word you’d like to right here because we said them all. Such a stunning, surreal walk. It was hard to believe you were in a jungle. It really felt like a pace through a Disney attraction.
Sorry for the slight picture blur. I was a little bummed that my camera setting wasn’t quite right so I fell short in my mind to what I wanted to capture. My little Canon doesn’t appreciate lower light so I should have set it on automatic. Oh well.
I had read there was a waterfall at the end of the bamboo trail, so hey, we came this far, by golly we are gonna do it all!
I was so proud of us.
And then, just like that…
… the bamboo ended and we reached this deep dark jungle walk.
My goodness. I honestly think this area was my all time fav part. True jungle right here, planked for your tired walking convenience.
I will never forget the feeling I felt in this movie-like setting. It was like we entered Avatar.
We eventually came to a creek that needed to be crossed if we wished to get a little closer to the falls.
Everyone carefully walked on top of the stones to stay dry without issue.
Then what do I do? PLUNGE right in 2nd step!
Fabulous. Just fabulous. My other pair of shoes were back in the car. 2.5 hours away.
Oh well. My feet certainly wouldn’t sweat on the way back now, would they?
Just a tiny bit more…
And we were there! This was the ‘legal end’ of the path. You could go beyond the signs however all the signs warned you of fatalities. Plus we were too tired to even try.
The setting was just so surreal. This is the part where I wish we had a packed lunch with us. However, not carrying extra weight was appreciated. My beef jerky sufficed just fine.
Welcome to Jurassic Park. Or Gilligan’s Island. Or just paradise will do.
And of course we both had to do the mandatory DIE shot.
Just know, when laying on a rock feels good, you know you’re done for the day.
However… now we got to do it alllllll over again on the way back.
The bonus? We got spectacular x2.
Going downhill was so much easier. We no longer broke any sweat, and we were down from top to bottom in 1 hour vs. 2.5 going up!
It was rather funny… those that were climbing up were huffing and puffing just like we were. Those going down wore big effortless smiles. Big difference.
Once we reached the bottom, we crossed the road and followed the paths down to the 7 Sacred Pools.
Apparently back in the day, you could drive down to them, however they now have walking paths and fences to keep you safe.
Spectacular coast line lookout.
I don’t even remember getting here. All I remember was being completely numb from tired and encouraging each. and. every. step. more.
However, the added effort was so worth it.
The walking paths took us down towards the ocean to a lookout where you could spin inland to see the pools.
Can you see two way back? Click the pic to enlarge.
But don’t worry… I get closer. Much closer. I just thought this was a pretty view.
… the big reward.
The perfect ending to a most magnificently perfect day!
The day wasn’t quite over yet. We still had the 3+ish hour drive home. We stopped to gas up in Hana and toured down Nahiku Road, however if we wanted to get home before nightfall, we had to get in some serious milage fast. So we drove straight through.
And I must have been tired, because I was actually looking forward to driving that crazy road all the way back! Any excuse to sit…
In all, this was a very worthwhile adventure, however the only thing we could have done differently to make it truly epic would have been to stay at least 2 nights. It would have been lovely to head back to Hana for lunch, then to a beach, then an early night in our incredible jungle cottage haven, and start back home the next day totally refreshed. And maybe catch a few things on the way back we missed.
Have you done this trail? What did you think?
Read all 3 parts of the Hana series HERE
And the rest of Hawaii 2017 HERE
Other current favs!