Halawa Bay / Moaula Falls

Location: at the eastcoast of Molokai
Features: ocean, stream, mountains, waterfalls

The southcoast of Molokai is the sunny side. It almost never rains here, since the weather usually comes from the north where you have the huge ocean cliffs.
It's a very pleasant drive from Kaunakakai to Halawa Bay, the road being only a couple of yards from the oceanside away. Bad thing is, that you don't really have nice beaches along the way, those ones are all on the westside of Molokai.

arial view of the southcoast of Molokai

Just a couple of miles before Halawa Bay, the road turns towards the mountains and you'll eventually get to a beautiful viewpoint with a spectacular vista over Halawa Bay and Halawa Valley.
The two waterfalls you can see from there are Moaula Falls (left one, just barely to be seen on the picture above) and Hipuapua Falls (right one).

Halawa Valley from the viewpoint

Down in the valley there is plenty of space for camping close to the bay at a stream and it's a great starting point for tours to the north shore and the waterfalls.
I would definitely recomend to do at least two trails:

When you look towards the north of Halawa Bay you'll see a 'cut' in the mountain which looks like a trail (see picture). This is where you can get on top of the ocean cliffs. I think it used to be an old jeep road but I doubt that anybody is still driving on it today. Anyway...it still makes a fantastic trail if you wanna know how it looks like from a 3000 feet tall cliff.

northside of Halawa Bay - note the trail close to the top

There are no signs how to get to that trail, just try to go a direct line to the mountainside. You'll eventually see the jeep road. Once you're up it's a very pleasant walk with short side trips to the end of a cliff. I don't know where that trail actually ends, we only went on it for about 2 hours and it still seemed to go on for a little while...if anybody has a clue, let me know...

view from the trail to the ocean cliffs towards Halawa Bay

A trail you should definitely not miss is the one to Moaula Falls and Hipuapua Falls. It makes a good daytrip and starts off at a gate with signs like: 'Private Property' and 'No trespassing'. It's located at the end of the dirt road on the left side of the stream when you look towards the falls. We just parked our car at the bay (drive as far as you can) and then walked the short way back.
We simply ignored the signs (our guidebook told us to do so) and continued on the dirt road which will eventually turns into a small trail. Always stay to the left of the stream. A good sign that you are on the right way is when you almost always see a small pipeline along the trail.
At some point the trail seems to turn uphill. Don't follow it anymore but try to cross the river somewhere in that area. There is also a pipline which crosses the river. A good spot to get to the other side of the stream is just a couple of yards above that pipeline.
Once you're on the other side you'll have to find a small trail maybe a 150 yards away from the river. There are no signs, so it's a trial and error process. Turn left on that trail (upstream) and about 20 minutes later you'll get to Moaula Falls.

Moaula Falls

On the way back you'll cross a small riverbed. When you follow that riverbed upstream you'll come to the second waterfall, Hipuapua Falls, which is the bigger one with a free fall of about 500 feet. The great thing though is not the height, but the fact that it has a fantastic natural pool at the bottom where you can take a refreshing bath. That alone is already worth the additional half an hour hike along the riverbed.

arial view of Moaula Falls (left) and Hipuapua Falls

On the way back you basically have two options: you can either cross the river again and then go the same trail you came in or you simply stay on the right side of the river on that small trail leading to Moaula falls. It'll bring you directly to Halawa Bay, the only problem is that at the end you'll get into an area where a few people live, so you'll have to ask for permit to cross their property. But they are usually very friendly and show you the way to the bay.
In the latter version you don't have to cross the river, because there is a bridge close to the bay. So you can also try to find that trail on your way TO the falls but as I told you...you'll have to ask for it.

Home - Attractions and Hikes of Molokai

Other Attractions:

Halawa Bay / Moaula Falls / Kamakou Preserve / Kaulapapa / Papohaku Beach

Other Islands of Hawaii:

Big Island of Hawaii / Kauai / Maui / Molokai / Oahu

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