About Maui’s Seven Sacred Pools
The Pools of Ohe’o, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, are a popular destination for tourists and locals alike along Maui’s famous Hana Highway (we recommend the Road to Hana audio tour for tips and stories that will help you make the most of this popular road trip). Located in Haleakala National Park, the pools are situated in a rainforest ravine where stunning waterfalls cascade from one pool into the next.
History of the Pools of Ohe’o
The area where the Pools of Ohe’o are located is called Kipahulu and was home to indigenous Hawaiians dating back centuries. Surrounding the pools are over 700 archaeological sites, including the third largest temple ruin in Hawaii. As you explore the area, it is important that you do not touch or otherwise disturb any of the ruins or artifacts you encounter, and that you stay on designated trails.
What’s in a name?
Translated from the ancient Hawaiian language, “Ohe’o” means “something special,” which is a fitting title for such a magnificent place. The area, however, goes by many names these days.
- “Ohe’o” is the proper indigenous name of the rainforest gulch where the pools are located along the Palikea stream.
- “The Seven Sacred Pools” was a name coined by a hotel owner in the mid-20th century to market the pools as a tourist attraction.
- “Kipahulu” is the name given to the entire area where the Ohe’o Pools are located, and is used by the Haleakala National Park and the NPS.
Are there more than seven pools?
Depending on the weather and the amount of rainfall, there can be up to 20 swimmable pools in the Ohe’o Gulch. Each pool feeds into the next, cascading down along the Palikea stream.
What’s the weather like in the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park?
The pools are located in Maui’s lush rainforest system, thus the weather here is much wetter than in other regions of the island. During the warmer months, the rainfall is at its peak, delivering up to 22 days of rain per month, while in the cooler months, rainfall decreases. Rainstorms can come and go quickly, and be replaced with periods of warm sunshine.
While the rain can come and go at a moment’s notice, the temperatures remain pretty constant. Year-round daytime temperatures stay in a balmy range between 70º-80ºF (21º-27ºC).
How to get to Maui’s Seven Sacred Pools
The Kuloa Point trail is an easy half-mile loop that takes you around the pools, past a cultural exhibit, and out to breathtaking ocean views. The trailhead terminates at the Kipahulu Visitors Center. Swimming access to the pools is possible from the trails, but only when conditions allow and the park service has opened the pools for swimming. Obey all signage and park ranger instructions.
Camping and Hiking in Haleakala National Park
Aside from the Kuloa Point trail, the Pipiwai Trail is one of Maui’s best hikes. This moderately challenging out-and-back hike takes about 3 hours to complete, and covers 3.8 miles. The jungle trail takes hikers past ancient Hawaiian temple ruins to progressively more beautiful waterfalls, and ends at the spectacular 400-foot Waimoku Falls.
The Kipahulu campground is close to the Ohe’o Pools and the Pipiwai Trail, and offers the most in terms of amenities, including bathrooms and trash cans.
Seven Sacred Pools FAQ
Where are the Seven Sacred Pools?
- 12 miles south of Hana at mile marker 42 on the famous Hana Highway.
- GPS Coordinates: 20.661458,-156.045299
Are the pools open?
As of June 2022, the pools are not open for swimming but can be seen from the Kuola Point trail.
Is it crowded?
Ohe’o Pools are among the most popular destinations in this part of Maui, and can become crowded any day of the year. To avoid the crowds, arrive well before noon. A good way to ensure a more private experience is to camp overnight and wake up early for the short hike in.
How much does it cost to visit the Seven Sacred Pools?
There is a $30-per-vehicle entrance fee to Haleakala National Park, and all visitors are required to purchase a recreational use pass upon entering the park. For individuals who are biking or walking in, the fee is $15 per guest.
Ample parking is available at the Kipahulu Visitor Center.
- The pools are open and accessible 24 hours a day.
- The Kipahulu Visitor Center is open from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
- To view the sunrise from the Summit District (adjacent to the Kipahulu area), a special permit is required, and can be obtained at the recreation.gov
Can I swim?
As of June 2022, the Pools of Ohe’o are not accessible for swimming. They can be viewed safely from the Kuloa Point Trail.
Can I jump into the pools?
The Haleakala National Park forbids jumping into the pools, though the signage often goes unheeded. There is great risk to life and limb when attempting to jump from the cliffs into the pools as is evidenced by the clippings posted at the ranger station which document the many tragedies that have occurred over the years. Though it may be tempting to jump, we recommend caution and adherence to posted signage.
How about those sacred pools? Learn all about planning your trip to Maui, in our extensive Maui Trip Planner. If you’re ready for your road trip to Maui, perhaps this Maui – Road to Hana tour will be right for you.