Rappel Down Waterfalls on Maui

By Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi
Photo:  Rappel Maui.

Photo: Chris Hahn/ Rappel Maui.

You’ve kayaked in sea caves, flown in a helicopter with the doors off, biked down 10,000-foot Haleakala Volcano and swam in the ocean with dolphins and manta rays.

You’re ready for your next adrenaline rush.

How about walking down a waterfall backwards?
 It’s a cinch with Rappel Maui whose tours operate on privately owned property in Puohokamoa Valley, near Keanae along the Hana Highway. If the valley looks familiar, it should: It’s where a helicopter flies through a canyon with a spectacular waterfall in the opening scene of the Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic Park.

No Prior Experience Necessary

Photo: Rappel Maui.

Photo: Chris Hahn/ Rappel Maui.


Contrary to what you might think, rappelling is not something only Army Rangers and Navy SEALs can do. According to Dave Black, Rappel Maui’s operations manager, no prior experience is necessary. He should know: He has written five books on climbing and rappelling and is a master guide with the American Canyon Guides Association and the American Canyoneering Academy.

Black planned the entire tour, including selecting the equipment, designing the course and training the guides. His idea was to create an experience adventurers would love, and, indeed, there are thrills all along the way.

Rappel Down Exclusive Waterfalls

Photo:  Rappel Maui.

Photo: Chris Hahn/ Rappel Maui.

You’ll rappel at three sites: a 40- to 60-foot dry drop off a jungle cliff followed by descents on 50-foot and 30-foot waterfalls into natural pools. The waterfalls are reserved exclusively for Rappel Maui’s tours.

To reach the sites, you’ll head 300 feet down into the valley on a winding, unpaved trail bordered by guava, ginger, heliconia, mango and more (yes, you’ll have to hike back up). Be prepared to walk through a flowing stream part of the way.

Pat yourself on the back when the tour is over: You’ve passed the physical tests, overcome the mental obstacles…and literally walked on water!

The Details

Tours operate rain or shine. Participants must weigh between 70 and 250 pounds and have a waist measurement between 22 and 54 inches. The minimum age requirement is 10.

Wear surf shorts or lightweight sports or yoga clothes that dry quickly (you’ll get soaked, so bring a change of clothes). Special shoes will be provided.

Call (808) 270-1500 or check out www.rappelmaui.com for more information.

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