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Sandy beach
No
Cliff jumping
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Sensitive Habitat
No
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Of all of the adventures within the Haleakalā National Park, the Pools of Ohe’o Gulch are probably the most legendary. It’s not hard to see why. Get a mere glimpse of the delicate cascades that tumble down from placid pools tucked among a skinny, mossy gulch and you’ll understand. At the time of publication, the actual gulch is closed for the unforeseeable due to massive recurring landslides caused by extreme rainfall in January of 2017. That’s a huge bummer, but, truly, it’s worth the drive down the world-famous Hana Highway and the Kuloa Point + Kahakai Trail jaunt to peer into this mystical gulch. 

As will soon become evident upon arrival, there are far more than seven pools here (the catchy term was coined by a nearby hotel in the 1940s as a marketing play). The myriad placid, perfect pools have all been meticulously carved from lava rock for millions of years, and even the most disillusioned will reel when standing at Kuloa Point—the confluence of this unassuming yet mighty stream. 

Conveniently, when the gulch is open for swimming, the pools closest to the mouth are best. Be hyper aware of the current conditions (check in with the rangers at the Kīpahulu Visitor Center) as the gulch is prone to flash floods. Though there’s quite a bit of signage around that prohibits cliff jumping, you’ll see many visitors disregarding this, and the policy is not enforced. That said, every year there are many reported injuries and the occasional fatality that occurs here. Jump with caution, and never hang out underneath the waterfalls, as debris has been known to float over the lip and fall on unsuspecting swimmers. 

Make it all the way up to the massive valley above the pools, and you’ll be looking up at the Kipahulu Gap that stretches all the way up to the Haleakalā Crater. It has, incredibly, resisted most man-introduced plants and animals, making it one of the purest and most pristine representations of ancient Hawai'i. There are more endemic plant and animal species here than almost anywhere else in the state. The one major threat to the area: pigs. The park service is engaged in a never ending battle.

Logistics + Planning

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

One of the most iconic swimming holes in U.S.

Cons

Often very crowded. Limited Parking. Remote.

Address

HI-360
42219-42215
Hana, HI 96713
United States

Location

Field Guide

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