Not much of a hike in the traditional sense, what Upper Waikani (AKA "Three Bears") Falls lacks in duration it makes up for in beauty. Simply park off the road past mile marker 19 on the road to Hana, scramble underneath the bridge and take a seat to enjoy this unique and gorgeous set of falls.
As evident by the description, I don't really consider this much of a hike. But with so many options of where to stop along the Road to Hana, I thought this spot deserved its own post. There's something so interesting about the way this waterfall looks, with its three separate flows. So here's a little bit from our short but sweet stop at Upper Waikani.
Upper Waikani Falls is located just past Mile Marker 19. If you've made it this far on the Road to Hana, you will know by now that parking is a free for all. Just find a place off the side of the highway where your wheels are off the road. But be sure to take care when getting out of your car and walking towards the falls! Indre and I found a nice place a few hundred yards past the bridge around the bend a bit that had enough space for several cars. We then made the trek back down to the bridge to the falls.
There are a couple options for getting to the base. You can go down the mauka (mountain) side of the bridge, which is slightly steeper and will require a bit of scrambling. Or you can go down the makai (ocean) side of the bridge, which is less steep, but does have a bit of a drop off. Neither of these are too challenging, but it can be wet and slippery and requires some coordination.
Ta da! We're here. It's not necessary to come here, but I feel like you can better experience a waterfall when you look at it from its base.
And these flows were just so distinct--it was very captivating. The falls are nicknamed Three Bears-- the left is Papa Bear, the middle Mama Bear, and the right Baby Bear. Hey, I think it's cute and clever. I'm told that when you get very heavy rains, the flows can combine, so this is a waterfall that may be better experienced during dry periods.
If you don't end up trekking to the base, the view from the street isn't too shabby either. It really shows just how lush this area is.
While you won't burn off all that roadside banana bread from this one, Upper Waikani is a great place to pause, sit, and just be present with another one of Hana's beautiful stops. Now it's on to the next one!
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Also Check Out:
- Maui Guidebook's post about Upper Waikani
- World of Waterfalls writeup of these falls