Why are the pools at ‘Ohe’o Gulch Closed?

oheo gulch closed

UPDATE: The flood gauge has been repaired at the national park in Kipahulu, Swimming in the pools is now offered, again (weather and safety permitting.)

On August 11th, stream monitoring equipment was stolen from ‘Ohe’o Stream, located in Haleakala National Park in the Kipahulu region of Maui. More than three months later, the area remains closed to swimming, causing frustration among both residents and visitors of the island.

kipahulu waterfalls

seven sacred pool closed mauiDespite its remote location, ‘Ohe’o Gulch (aka ‘Seven Sacred Pools’) is one of the most popular stops in East Maui, thanks to its multitude of waterfalls, swimming areas, onsite campsites, lush hiking trails through Maui’s most famous bamboo forest, historical artifacts, and more.

While Park policy dictates that “the stream must remain closed whenever equipment is not functional,” what was once quoted as a several-week fix is now nearly several months in the works.

pipiwai trail maui

road to hana sites closedOne of the most unfortunate results of this, however, is that visitors in search of alternate waterfalls and swimming holes are now finding themselves in dangerous situations as they follow unmarked paths, sometimes through private property, looking for a similar location and experience.

Twin Falls Maui, the first waterfall along the Road to Hana, already sees huge numbers of visitors, evidenced by the long line of cars parked along the road during its busiest times of day. In addition, beaches along the Road to Hana have no lifeguards, creating dangerous swimming conditions as inclement weather, strong rip currents and large waves push unsuspecting visitors near sharp cliff lines and lava rock.

oheo gulch closed maui

Though there are several waterfalls to swim in along the Road to Hana, almost none are as easily accessible as those at Seven Sacred Pools. While we understand that the stolen equipment triggers vital flash floods alarm signals, the continued closure of this area has created side effects, however inadvertently, that may have made things just as dangerous elsewhere across East Maui.

Mahalo for reading, and please share your comments in the section below!

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15 Comments

  • Why would it takes months to replace this equipment? It can’t be that difficult. I’m so bummed because I’m heading out there Friday and I didn’t get to swim in them last time either.

    • There are rumors that there’s more than just equipment issues. Not sure if it’s a park funding political thing or what…

  • We will be in MAUI on Friday. No ka Oi and going to take the road to Hana on Sunday , I hope to see this great spot !!!

  • Trails around Nov. 2015 are in poorer condition than in July 2007. Rock paths are washed out. Was very disappointed to have made the entire trip to find out upon arrival that the pools were closed.

    • Yah, it’s a real shame. There are many other places to swim, but they can be far more dangerous and are not monitored for flash floods. Let’s hope the get the equipment back up and running.

  • Ching’s Pond on the north side of Maui between Paia and Hana is a wonderful substitute for O’heo Gulch.

  • It needs to be clarified that the park is open, and that all the trails around Oheo Gulch are open and accessible. The hike along the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls is spectacular. The only restriction in place is the closed access to the lower pools.

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