The Big Island of Hawaii is extremely large, and visitors will have no problem finding fun things to do for people with a multitude of interests. There is a lot of hiking and sightseeing to be done all over The Big Island.
If you are looking for great waterfalls to see, the northern, as well as eastern sides offer many great locations. Additionally, Big Island tends to get heavy amounts of rainfall throughout the year, which adds further to the powerful island falls.
With a height of almost 450 feet above, Akaka Falls, located in Akaka Falls State Park, is certainly one of Hawaii’s most popular waterfalls.
Beginner hikers will be happy to hear that the journey itself is only about 0.4 miles in length, and very easily accessible. On your short hike, you will be brought through a beautiful forest, featuring orchids and even bamboo trees. This hike is recommended for families traveling with children because it is quick.
Unfortunately, visitors are not permitted to swim in the falls. Additionally, there is a small fee for cars and another for on-foot tourists.
Rainbow Falls (Waiānuenue Falls)
Rainbow Falls, also known as Waiānuenue Falls, is very easy for visitors to catch a glimpse of. Rainbow Falls is situated on the Wailuku River, which is within Hilo Town. The falls are undoubtedly Hilo’s most known waterfall, and people from all around the world flock to Hilo to catch a glimpse.
Although Rainbow Falls is not necessarily large, only about 80 feet in height, it can give an incredible show. During the morning hours, when the early sun hits the misty falls in a particular way, a beautiful rainbow appears.
If you are looking to do more sightseeing, you can take a trail from rainbow Falls that will lead you to the backend of Wailuku River. When there, you will see many natural swimming pools that visitors are free to take a dip in, as well as a smaller waterfall.
Remember to always exercise caution when visiting waterfall locations, and keep a safe distance from cliff edges.
Only about a mile and a half up from Rainbow Falls are Pe’epe’e Falls. This waterfall is great, as it is a bit quieter and less popular than Rainbow, while still having great views of its own.
Pe’epe’e has a unique flow of downstream water, over different pools and lava formations that give the appearance of “boiling pots’ ‘ in the water.
A very common question is “can you swim in Pe’epe’e?”, and the answer would be that it is not recommended due to the water current’s strength. In the past, the strong rush of water has shown evidence to be dangerous. That being said, visitors should make sure to visit as it is a wonderful place to visit.
Near Hilo, in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is the smaller Onomea Falls. They can only be viewed by entering the Botanical Garden, so visitors will be required to pay a fee. Onomea is a great place to take pictures, as the waterfall has an amazing, picturesque quality to it.
One of the most unique falls on Big Island, Umauma Falls, is incredibly striking because it is the only waterfall that is triple-tiered. Umamauma lies on the Umauma River, which is located 16 miles from Hilo Town.
The falls are on private land, so you will have to purchase a small entrance fee for access. Umauma Falls lies on private land near the Umauma river, some 16 miles from Hilo. You will need to pay a small fee of 12 dollars per person to enter the “Umauma Experience” and have access to the garden. There are alternative ways to see the falls, other than on foot such as ziplining, horseback, or even ATV tours. The entrance fee is worth it, because of all the ways you can view Umauma Falls.
Lying on the lower slopes of the dormant Mauna Kea volcano is the intense 120-foot Kulaniapia Falls. The waterfall is not too far from Hilo, right on the Waiau Stream.
The Falls are open to a select amount of limited visitors for the day. The entrance fee of 49 dollars, gives individuals access to the bamboo gardens, nature trails, and of course, the 4 beautiful waterfalls in the area.
Weather permitting, visitors can swim and do other water activities in Kulaniapa.
At a total height of 1450 and a dropping height of about 1200 feet, The Hi’ilawe Falls is one of the largest and most towering waterfalls in all of Hawaii. Hi’ilawe Falls can be seen from Waipi’o Valley, in different ways of driving, hiking, or even horseback riding.
Unfortunately, visitors cannot directly hike into the basin, due to it being on private property. Individuals can book helicopter rides if they are looking for a complete, all-encompassing birds-eye view.