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Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

Napa, California
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1,635 posts
34 reviews
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Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

Hi! I was wondering in your opinions, which would be the most rewarding if time is a factor while on the Rd to Hana. We have a lot of stops we want to do on the RTH and both of these items were referred from someone for us to check out. We are coming to Maui the end of Oct. and 1st week of Nov. The cost for the lava tube is kind of pricey in my opinion and I've seen the Thurston on Big Island which was spectacular. Personally I am leaning toward the hike on Pipiwai Trail, but have 2 others to consider. My mom is 80 and pretty physically fit...do you think she could do the trail to the waterfall if we take it slow, or would the Lava Tube be more suitable? The trail doesn't look really steep or difficult, but we have never done it and would like some experienced opinions. Would you take a senior on the trail? Thank you for your help! Aloha!

S W Arkansas
Destination Expert
for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
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16 reviews
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11. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

I would not recommend the 1st mile to an senior that isn't an "active hiker". Too many roots, and root knots sticking up. Too many seniors have poor balance.

My DH is 72 and I'm 65 and we hiked the Waihee Trail in April. 5 years ago on the Pipiwai trail he stumbled several times when his toe caught a root or rock. He also slipped and fell on the slick mud in that first mile. Since then he has been working out to strengthen his core, has great balance and we do several hard hikes in the spring and fall.

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
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26,168 posts
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12. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

It is 1/2 mile to the first waterfall. One mile total. Rated a 2 for difficulty.

world-of-waterfalls.com/hawaii-makahiku-fall…

world-of-waterfalls.com/criteria-for-difficu…

The hike to the first waterfall is much easier than the rest of the hike to Waimoku Falls (rated 2.5).

world-of-waterfalls.com/hawaii-waimoku-falls…

If the OP was considering a four mile hike, then a one mile easier hike is certainly possible.

Toronto, Canada
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13. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

We did the Pipiwai trail recently and it rained while we were on it. The rain made the trail muddy and slippery. Was okay going up, but coming back down we had to be careful. Crossing that stream is a bit tricky at any age. I would NOT recommend it for an 80 year old unless the person was in exceptionally good shape with excellent balance. Even then there should be someone to lend a hand crossing the stream as the consequences of a hard fall on rocks could be devastating.

S W Arkansas
Destination Expert
for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
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10,039 posts
16 reviews
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14. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

The first 1/2 mile is the part where he stumbled the first time (many more times on the rest of the trail). He fell as we neared the end of the hike in that 1/2 mile... That was a typo in post 11..

Napa, California
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1,635 posts
34 reviews
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15. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

Mahalo everyone for your honest and caring comments regarding the hike with my mom.

I think that we will leave the hike for when my hubby and I can do it alone. I don't want to risk my mom being hurt on her birthday trip to Hawaii, it's just not worth having a slip or fall happen and I would feel awful if I was the one to encourage her. She is not a hiker, and even tho it was her "wish" to take her picture by a waterfall, I will try to find a more suitable solution.

The path at Oheo Gulch sounds like a good alternative. I will continue to research other waterfalls and maybe we will be lucky and see some on the RTH that will please her.

Again thanks my TA friends, I just love having a group of people who give great advice and help with all my sometime silly questions or concerns! Aloha!!

S W Arkansas
Destination Expert
for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
Level Contributor
10,039 posts
16 reviews
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16. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

Cindy, you are so right, don't risk a fall. I'm sure you can find a place that has a fall in the background for a picture. The sidewalk to the pools of Oheo Gulch are handicapped accessible. there are small falls here.

You will pay $10 to Park at the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park. You can use the same receipt for entrance to the summit of Haleakala with in 3 days. If your mom has a National parks Eagle pass then all in the car get in free.

17. Re: Hana Lava Tube (Kaeleku) or Pipiwai Trail?

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