Best Waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii

By Kristy Tolley

The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its stunning landscapes, volcanic activity, and lush rainforests. One of the island’s most enchanting features is its numerous waterfalls. These cascading wonders can be found tucked away in the island’s deep valleys, offering a refreshing and picturesque escape from the tropical heat.

One of the must-visit waterfalls on the Big Island is Akaka Falls. Located in the Akaka Falls State Park, this waterfall is a breathtaking sight to behold. With a drop of over 400 feet, the waterfall plunges into a lush gorge surrounded by tropical vegetation. As you walk along the paved path through the park, you’ll be treated to stunning views of not only Akaka Falls but also Kahuna Falls, another spectacular waterfall in the area.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous waterfall experience, Rainbow Falls is the perfect choice. Situated just a short drive from Hilo, Rainbow Falls gets its name from the rainbows that often form in the mist created by the cascading water. This 80-foot waterfall drops into a natural pool, creating a serene and magical atmosphere. Take a dip in the pool or simply enjoy the spray on your face as you take in the beauty of this natural wonder.

For those seeking a secluded waterfall experience, Waimanu Valley is the place to go. This remote valley can only be reached by a challenging hike or by helicopter, making it a hidden gem that is definitely worth the effort. Within the valley, you’ll find Waimanu Falls, a massive waterfall that cascades down the cliffs into a beautiful pool. Surrounded by towering walls and lush greenery, Waimanu Falls is a sight to behold and a true oasis of tranquility.

These are just a few of the best waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. With its diverse and breathtaking natural beauty, the island offers a wealth of waterfall experiences that will leave you in awe of the power and beauty of nature.

The Majestic Wailuku Falls

One of the most spectacular waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii is Wailuku Falls. Located just outside of Hilo, Wailuku Falls is often referred to as the “Rainbow Falls” due to the frequent rainbows that can be seen in the mist of the waterfall.

With a height of approximately 80 feet, Wailuku Falls is an impressive sight to behold. The water cascades down a series of rock formations, creating a mesmerizing display of power and beauty. Visitors can view the falls from a viewing platform or take a short hike to get a closer look.

In addition to its natural beauty, Wailuku Falls holds cultural significance for the Hawaiian people. According to legend, the falls are home to the Hawaiian goddess Hina. It is said that Hina would often bathe in the pool at the base of the waterfall, giving it a spiritual significance for the locals.

Wailuku Falls is easily accessible from Hilo, making it a popular attraction for both locals and tourists. The falls are located within a scenic park, which also features lush vegetation and picnic areas. Visitors can spend a peaceful afternoon exploring the park, taking in the beauty of the waterfall, and enjoying a picnic surrounded by nature.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography enthusiast, or simply looking for a serene and picturesque spot to relax, Wailuku Falls is a must-visit destination on the Big Island of Hawaii. Its majestic beauty and cultural significance make it a memorable experience for all who visit.

Spectacular Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. Plunging over 400 feet into a lush gorge, it’s a sight to behold. This is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

The falls are located in Akaka Falls State Park, which spans 65 acres of lush tropical rainforest. As you make your way through the park’s well-maintained trails, you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of Hawaii’s native plants and birds. Keep an eye out for the vibrant red and yellow ‘iwi’ and the graceful ‘ohi’a lehua’ trees.

The highlight of the park is, of course, Akaka Falls itself. To get to the viewing area, you’ll need to follow a short paved path. Along the way, you’ll pass by smaller cascades and enjoy scenic views of the surrounding landscape. But nothing can prepare you for the moment when Akaka Falls comes into view.

The sheer power and beauty of the waterfall will leave you in awe. The mist and spray created by the cascading water create a mystical atmosphere. It’s no wonder that many visitors consider Akaka Falls to be one of the most breathtaking spots on the island.

For the best experience, make sure to bring your camera to capture the incredible beauty of Akaka Falls. Also, wear comfortable shoes, as there are some stairs and uneven terrain along the trail. And don’t forget to pack plenty of water and sun protection, as the Hawaiian sun can be intense.

If you’re looking for a memorable adventure on the Big Island, make sure to visit Akaka Falls. This natural wonder is sure to leave a lasting impression and provide plenty of photo opportunities. You won’t be disappointed!

Breathtaking Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. Located just a short drive from downtown Hilo, this stunning waterfall is named for the rainbows that can often be seen in the mist on sunny mornings.

The waterfall is known for its impressive height of 80 feet and its cascading waters that plunge into a large pool below. The pool is surrounded by lush vegetation, adding to the natural beauty of the area.

One unique feature of Rainbow Falls is the large cave located behind the waterfall. Visitors can walk behind the cascading water and experience a truly awe-inspiring view. Be sure to bring your camera, as it’s the perfect spot for capturing incredible photos.

If you plan to visit Rainbow Falls, it’s best to go early in the morning when the sun is shining directly on the waterfall. This is when you’re most likely to see rainbows in the mist. You can also visit during the day for a less crowded experience.

There is no entrance fee to visit Rainbow Falls, and there is ample parking available nearby. The area is easily accessible, with a short paved walkway leading from the parking lot to the viewing area.

Overall, Rainbow Falls is a must-see attraction on the Big Island of Hawaii. The combination of its impressive height, the possibility of seeing rainbows, and the unique opportunity to walk behind the waterfall make it a truly breathtaking experience.

Gorgeous Hiilawe Falls

The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its stunning waterfalls, and one of the most beautiful is Hiilawe Falls. Located on the northeastern coast of the island, Hiilawe Falls is a truly breathtaking sight.

With an impressive drop of over 1,450 feet, Hiilawe Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii. The cascade of water plunges down a rugged cliff face, creating a mesmerizing display of power and beauty.

Visiting Hiilawe Falls is an adventure in itself. The best way to reach the falls is by taking a guided hike through the lush Waipio Valley. The hike can be challenging, but the reward is well worth it. Along the way, you’ll pass through dense vegetation and gorgeous wildflowers, adding to the enchantment of the journey.

Once you reach the viewpoint of Hiilawe Falls, prepare to be amazed. The sheer force of the water crashing down will leave you in awe. The mist and spray will cool your skin, creating a refreshing and invigorating atmosphere.

It’s important to note that swimming in the pool at the base of the waterfall is strictly prohibited due to dangerous currents and rocks. However, simply admiring the falls from a distance is an incredible experience.

If you’re lucky, you may even spot a rainbow arching across the falls, adding an extra touch of magic to the scene. Hiilawe Falls is truly a sight to behold and a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of Hiilawe Falls. This natural wonder is sure to leave a lasting impression on your memory and your photographs.

So, lace up your hiking boots and prepare for a journey to Hiilawe Falls, a place where nature’s power and beauty collide.

Picturesque Umauma Falls

Located on the Hamakua Coast, Umauma Falls is one of the most breathtaking and picturesque waterfalls on the Big Island. With its lush green surroundings, crystal clear blue waters, and cascading tiers, Umauma Falls offers a truly stunning natural spectacle.

The waterfall is easily accessible and can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. You can view the falls from a variety of vantage points, including a scenic overlook and a suspension bridge that offers a unique perspective of the cascading waters.

For adventurous travelers, Umauma Falls also offers exciting activities such as zip-lining and waterfall rappelling. Experience the thrill of flying through the air or descending down the face of the waterfall, surrounded by the beauty of the Hawaiian rainforest.

Umauma Falls is also known for its abundance of tropical plants and wildlife. The area surrounding the waterfall is home to numerous species of native birds, colorful flowers, and exotic plants. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil escape in nature or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Umauma Falls is a must-visit destination on the Big Island. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this picturesque waterfall.

Magnificent Papalaua Falls

Papalaua Falls is one of the most magnificent waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. Located in the remote and lush Hamakua Coast, this waterfall offers breathtaking views and a memorable experience for nature lovers.

The waterfall cascades down a towering cliff, creating a mesmerizing sight. The water plunges into a natural pool below, creating a refreshing and inviting spot for a swim. The pool is surrounded by lush vegetation, adding to the natural beauty of the area.

Papalaua Falls is easily accessible by a short hike through a scenic trail. As you make your way to the falls, you’ll be surrounded by tropical foliage and the soothing sounds of nature. It’s a peaceful and serene experience that will leave you in awe.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker or simply want to enjoy the beauty of nature, Papalaua Falls should be on your list of must-visit waterfalls on the Big Island. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty and magic of this magnificent waterfall.

So, if you’re planning a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, make sure to include Papalaua Falls in your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed by the stunning views and the unforgettable experience it offers.

Stunning Waimea Falls

The Big Island of Hawaii is home to many breathtaking waterfalls, but one that stands out is the stunning Waimea Falls. Located in the lush Waimea Valley, this waterfall is a sight to behold.

With its towering height of over 45 feet and surrounded by vibrant greenery, Waimea Falls offers a picturesque view that will leave you in awe. The waterfall cascades down into a clear pool below, creating a perfect spot for swimming or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.

What makes Waimea Falls even more special is the surrounding area. The Waimea Valley is a botanical garden that showcases a diverse array of tropical plants and flowers. As you make your way to the waterfall, you’ll be greeted by towering trees, colorful blooms, and the soothing sound of chirping birds.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can embark on a hike through the valley to reach the waterfall. The trail is well-maintained and takes you through scenic landscapes, making it an enjoyable journey for nature lovers. Don’t forget to bring your camera along to capture the stunning views along the way.

Once you reach Waimea Falls, you’ll have the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in the pool below. The water is cool and inviting, making it the perfect reward after a hike. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and towel so you can fully enjoy the experience.

Visiting Waimea Falls is not only about enjoying the waterfall itself. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding nature and wildlife. Take your time exploring the botanical garden, and keep an eye out for tropical birds and butterflies that call this place home.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photographer, or simply someone who appreciates natural beauty, a visit to Waimea Falls is a must when exploring the Big Island of Hawaii. So don’t miss the chance to witness one of the most stunning waterfalls that this island has to offer.

Put Waimea Falls on your itinerary and prepare to be amazed by its beauty!

Beautiful Laupahoehoe Falls

Laupahoehoe Falls is a stunning waterfall located on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is situated near the small town of Laupahoehoe and is surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking scenery.

The waterfall cascades down a series of volcanic rocks, creating a mesmerizing sight and a soothing sound. The water flows into a pool at the bottom, inviting visitors to take a refreshing dip or simply admire the beauty of nature.

Laupahoehoe Falls is not as well-known as some of the other waterfalls on the island, making it a hidden gem and a peaceful retreat. Its secluded location offers a sense of tranquility and serenity, away from the crowds.

If you are planning a trip to the Big Island, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Laupahoehoe Falls. It is a perfect spot for nature lovers, photography enthusiasts, or those seeking a peaceful escape in the midst of stunning natural beauty.

Serene Punaluu Falls

Punaluu Falls is a tranquil waterfall nestled in the lush rainforest of the Big Island of Hawaii. With its serene beauty and peaceful atmosphere, it is often considered one of the island’s hidden gems.

The waterfall cascades down a series of rocky steps, creating a mesmerizing display of water as it flows into a crystal-clear pool below. The lush greenery surrounding the falls adds to the natural beauty and creates a picturesque setting for relaxation and contemplation.

Punaluu Falls offers visitors the opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in nature’s tranquility. The soothing sound of the waterfall and the cool mist in the air create a calming and rejuvenating experience.

While Punaluu Falls may not be as well-known as some of the other waterfalls on the Big Island, its secluded location adds to its charm. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful hike through the rainforest to reach the falls, and once there, they can take a refreshing dip in the pool below.

In addition to its natural beauty, Punaluu Falls also has cultural significance. In Hawaiian legend, it is said that the waterfall is home to a mythical being known as Mo’o, a guardian of the water and the land. This adds an element of mystique to the already enchanting waterfall.

Whether you’re seeking a serene escape, a chance to connect with nature, or simply a beautiful spot to relax and unwind, Punaluu Falls is a must-visit destination on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Location Height Difficulty
Punaluu Approximately 100 feet Moderate

Exquisite Kolekole Falls

Kolekole Falls is a breathtaking waterfall located on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of the most exquisite waterfalls on the island, attracting visitors from all over the world. The name “Kolekole” means “to stroll” or “to walk slowly” in Hawaiian, perfectly capturing the serene and peaceful atmosphere of this natural wonder.

The waterfall cascades down a lush green cliff, surrounded by dense tropical vegetation and vibrant flowers. The water plunges into a pool below, creating a refreshing mist that fills the air. The sound of the rushing water adds to the tranquility of the surroundings, making it a perfect spot for relaxation and meditation.

To reach Kolekole Falls, visitors must take a short hike through a picturesque rainforest. The trail leading to the waterfall is relatively easy, making it accessible for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you will be greeted by the sounds of tropical birds and the sight of ancient trees towering overhead.

Once you reach the falls, you can take a dip in the pool or simply admire the beauty from a distance. The clear, turquoise waters invite you to immerse yourself in their refreshing embrace. Many visitors also take the opportunity to capture stunning photographs of the falls, which serve as a lasting reminder of their time in this enchanting place.

Kolekole Falls is not only a natural wonder but also an important cultural and historical site. It holds significance for the local Hawaiian community and is often used for traditional ceremonies and celebrations. Visitors are encouraged to respect the sacredness of the site and to learn about the rich history and traditions associated with it.

If you are visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, don’t miss the chance to experience the exquisite beauty of Kolekole Falls. This hidden gem is a true oasis of peace and serenity, offering a breathtaking escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Impressive Akolea Falls

Akolea Falls is one of the most stunning waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. As you make your way to this hidden gem, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking views.

With its cascading waters and picturesque setting, Akolea Falls is a must-see for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The falls plunge down a series of tiers, creating a mesmerizing display of beauty and power.

One of the most unique features of Akolea Falls is its secluded location. Getting there requires a scenic hike through rugged terrain, but the reward is well worth the effort. Once you arrive, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a paradise untouched by the modern world.

For those feeling adventurous, you can take a refreshing swim in the pool at the base of the falls. The cool waters are a welcome respite from the warm Hawaiian sun, and the experience of swimming in the midst of such natural beauty is truly unforgettable.

Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a casual tourist, a visit to Akolea Falls is sure to leave you in awe. So put on your hiking boots, pack your camera, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure to this impressive waterfall.

Mesmerizing Waikoloa Falls

Located in the heart of Waikoloa Village, Waikoloa Falls is a truly mesmerizing sight to behold. This stunning waterfall offers a breathtaking display of natural beauty, making it one of the must-visit spots on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The cascading water of Waikoloa Falls creates a soothing and tranquil ambiance, perfect for relaxing and escaping from the bustling city life. As you stand in awe of this majestic waterfall, you can feel its refreshing mist on your face and the calming sound of water crashing into the pool below.

Surrounded by lush greenery and colorful tropical flowers, Waikoloa Falls is a paradise for nature lovers and avid photographers. The vibrant colors contrasting with the coolness of the waterfall create a picture-perfect setting, ideal for capturing beautiful memories.

Whether you choose to observe Waikoloa Falls from a distance or take a refreshing dip in its crystal-clear waters, this natural wonder will leave you in awe. Don’t forget to bring your camera and a picnic basket, as Waikoloa Falls offers the perfect spot for a scenic lunch.

While exploring the Big Island of Hawaii, make sure to add Waikoloa Falls to your itinerary. This mesmerizing waterfall is not only a sight to see but also a serene escape that will rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

Tranquil Kahuna Falls

Kahuna Falls is one of the most serene and breathtaking waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. Located in Hilo, this waterfall cascades down in multiple tiers, creating a mesmerizing sight for visitors.

The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and vibrant tropical flowers, adding to its tranquil and picturesque atmosphere. The sound of the rushing water combined with the chirping of birds creates a soothing ambiance that is perfect for relaxation and meditation.

Visitors can easily access Kahuna Falls via a short hike through a well-maintained trail. The path is shaded by tall trees, providing relief from the Hawaiian sun. Along the way, you might also encounter diverse wildlife, such as colorful birds and friendly geckos.

Once you reach the falls, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the cascading water. The pristine pool at the base of the falls is inviting and ideal for a refreshing dip on a hot day. Many visitors enjoy swimming or simply sitting by the pool, immersing themselves in nature’s beauty.

Whether you are seeking tranquility, adventure, or a place to be one with nature, Kahuna Falls is a must-visit destination on the Big Island. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the incredible beauty of this secluded waterfall!

Enchanting Pohakuloa Falls

Pohakuloa Falls is one of the hidden gems of the Big Island of Hawaii. Located in the Pohakuloa Area, this waterfall offers a serene and enchanting oasis for visitors to enjoy. The falls flow down a series of terraced pools, creating a picturesque and magical setting.

To reach Pohakuloa Falls, visitors must hike along a moderate trail that winds through lush vegetation and scenic vistas. The trail is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Along the way, hikers can expect to encounter native flora and fauna, including colorful birds and tropical plants.

Upon reaching Pohakuloa Falls, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking sight. The waterfall cascades down a rocky cliff, creating a mesmerizing show of water and mist. The pools at the base of the falls are perfect for swimming and cooling off on a hot Hawaiian day.

Pohakuloa Falls is also a great spot for picnicking and relaxing. Visitors can bring a blanket and enjoy a meal surrounded by the tranquil sounds of nature. The peaceful atmosphere makes it an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

When planning a visit to Pohakuloa Falls, it is important to come prepared. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Additionally, it is advised to check the weather conditions before heading out, as heavy rain can make the trail slippery and dangerous.

If you are looking for a hidden paradise on the Big Island of Hawaii, look no further than Pohakuloa Falls. Its enchanting beauty and serene atmosphere make it a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Captivating Kaluahine Falls

Kaluahine Falls is one of the most captivating waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii. Located in the charming town of Hilo, this waterfall offers a mesmerizing sight for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

With its picturesque surroundings and lush vegetation, Kaluahine Falls provides a truly enchanting experience. The rushing waters cascade down a series of jagged rocks, creating a stunning spectacle that will leave visitors in awe.

What makes Kaluahine Falls so unique is its secluded location. Tucked away in a dense rainforest, reaching this hidden gem requires a bit of an adventure. Visitors must hike through the tropical forest, crossing moss-covered pathways and navigating through streams, before finally arriving at the waterfall.

Once at Kaluahine Falls, visitors are rewarded with a refreshing mist that envelops the area. The cool breeze and the sound of rushing water create a peaceful ambiance that is perfect for relaxation and meditation.

For thrill-seekers, Kaluahine Falls offers the opportunity to take a dip in its crystal-clear pool. The water is invigoratingly cool, making it a perfect respite from the tropical heat.

When visiting Kaluahine Falls, it is important to remember to respect the natural surroundings. As this waterfall is located within a protected forest, it is crucial to preserve its beauty and ensure its longevity for future generations.

Overall, Kaluahine Falls is an absolute must-visit for anyone exploring the Big Island of Hawaii. Its captivating beauty and secluded charm make it a true hidden gem that will leave a lasting impression.

FAQs

What are some of the best waterfalls to visit on the Big Island of Hawaii?

Some of the best waterfalls to visit on the Big Island of Hawaii include Akaka Falls, Rainbow Falls, Hiilawe Falls, Waimoku Falls, and Umauma Falls.

How tall is Akaka Falls?

Akaka Falls is approximately 442 feet tall.

Can you swim in the waterfalls on the Big Island?

In some cases, you are allowed to swim in the waterfalls on the Big Island, but it is important to check the specific regulations and safety conditions of each waterfall before swimming.

Are there any hiking trails to the waterfalls on the Big Island?

Yes, there are several hiking trails that lead to the waterfalls on the Big Island. For example, you can take a short hike to Akaka Falls or embark on a more strenuous hike to Waimoku Falls in the Haleakalā National Park.

What is the best time of year to visit the waterfalls on the Big Island?

The best time of year to visit the waterfalls on the Big Island is typically during the rainy season, which runs from November to March. During this time, the waterfalls are more likely to be flowing at their fullest.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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