Visit the Breathtaking Waterfalls of the Big Island
Home to gorgeous valleys, exotic plants, and the heart of ancient Hawaiian folklore, the Hamakua Coast is a breathtaking adventure waiting to happen. A 40 mile stretch of natural wonder that spans the distance between Hilo and Waipi’o Valley, the Hamakua Coast offers more opportunities to pull off the road and find an incredible sight than anywhere else in Hawaii, but no other spectacle can match up to Hamakua’s stunning waterfalls. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Island, you shouldn’t miss these amazing waterfalls during your stay:
One of the tallest waterfalls in all of Hawaii, the falls at Hi’ilawe stretch over 1,400 feet. It’s easier to make your way to the falls using four wheel drive vehicles via Waipi’o Valley, but a horseback riding tour of the valley will also take you to the site.
A mesmerizing 422 foot waterfall, ‘Akaka Falls is contained within ‘Akaka Falls State Park north of Hilo. Easy to access and an incredible photo opportunity, visitors can access the park for $5 per vehicle or $1 per person. With just a short hike through a section of rainforest teeming with orchids, ferns, and bamboo, you’ll be up to the falls in less than half an hour.
Rainbow Falls is actually located within Hilo itself, making it an easy destination after lunch or breakfast. Getting its name from the effect that occurs after a rainstorm, Rainbow Falls projects a colorful rainbow in the mists of its waters in the cove below. There’s also a trail to the left of the viewing area that takes you through the forest and by one of the largest banyan trees in the world before setting you up above the falls themselves.
Three waterfalls within close proximity of one another on the Umauma River make up Umauma Falls, a stretch of waterway about 16 miles north of Hilo. An incredible sight that’s even been depicted in several Hollywood films, the water below the first waterfall is actually swimmable. Unfortunately, Umauma Falls are on private property and access is restricted except for those who pay through Umauma Experience. Access costs $10 per person or is included in the company’s waterfalls tour, which we’d highly recommend.