Maui’s Road to Hana can only be described as devastatingly gorgeous. From lush forests crammed full of fantastical-looking endemic trees and flowers to turquoise creeks meandering their way through skinny gorges, you’ll have a hard time finding an ugly pit stop along this 64-mile highway. While many claim that Ching’s Pool is too crowded, too clouded by a locals-only vibe or unworthy of a stop, we’d assert that it serves up a perfect quick dip and an excellent photo opportunity. Plus, it’s right off the road — what’s a half-hour stop on a full, leisurely day?
Also known as Blue Sapphire Pools, this popular swim spot is situated just before mile marker 16. You’ll see the small bridge and the cars crowded into the broad shoulders. From the bridge, you can gaze into the lazy pools below. Climbing down the super steep trail directly adjacent to the bridge is one option, but your best bet is to walk toward the massive tree just 50 feet away and take the gentler-sloping trail beneath.
The Palauhulu Stream that pools to create Ching’s Pool empties into the ocean at Ke'anae Peninsula below and is known to be susceptible to flash flooding after heavy rains. If the pools are murky and it has been raining, it’s best to avoid this one.
If you’ve stopped simply for a great photo opportunity, good luck achieving an image without a stranger occupying some space. If you’ve come to jump, take thorough steps to assessing the landing — there’s a relatively shallow shelf that runs across part of the potential landing zone that you’ll need to be aware of.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.