Hilo, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a haven for nature enthusiasts, boasting an abundance of stunning waterfalls. In this guide, we will explore the top 10 waterfalls in Hilo, taking you on a journey through lush rainforests, cascading waters, and awe-inspiring landscapes. From easily accessible falls to hidden gems tucked away in the wilderness, Hilo offers a diverse range of experiences for waterfall lovers.
So grab your hiking boots, pack your camera, and get ready to be captivated by the beauty of these breathtaking waterfalls.
Standing at an impressive height of 2,600 feet, Waihilau Falls is the tallest waterfall in Hilo and the third tallest in Hawaii. Located in the remote Waimanu Valley, accessing this colossal beauty is no easy feat. The journey requires expert hiking skills and local knowledge of Hilo waterfall hiking trails. If you have the opportunity to explore this hidden gem with a skilled guide, adding Waihilau Falls to your bucket list is a must.
Nestled just a few minutes from Hilo's city centre, Rainbow Falls, also known as Waianuenue Falls, is a mesmerising sight. This 80-foot waterfall gets its name from the rainbows that often form in the misty spray. The best time to visit is in the morning when the sunlight illuminates the falls, creating a magical rainbow effect. You can enjoy two viewpoints of Rainbow Falls, one near the parking lot and another from above, offering different perspectives of this natural wonder.
Located upstream from Rainbow Falls, Pe’epe’e Falls is a beloved spot among locals, one of the best waterfalls in Hilo. While visitors tend to admire the falls from the viewpoint, the locals often gather here to enjoy the refreshing waters. However, it's important to exercise caution as the Wailuku River can rise rapidly, causing dangerous flash floods. To access this waterfall, searching for "Boiling Pots" on Google Maps is recommended, as searching for "Pe’epe’e Falls" may lead to an inaccessible location.
Situated along the Wailuku River, Waiale Falls offers a serene retreat just a short hike away. This two-tiered waterfall can be reached by embarking on a 0.6-mile hike, which may become muddy due to Hilo's frequent rainfall. As you venture towards Waiale Falls, be prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear. Stay mindful of the weather conditions and be cautious of flash floods, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience, or read the Wailuku River Falls guide.
Akaka Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Hilo and a highlight of the entire state of Hawaii. With a height of 442 feet, this towering cascade captivates visitors with its sheer beauty. Located in Akaka Falls State Park, the falls are easily accessible via paved paths, making it a family-friendly destination. Stroll through the park, marvel at the lush vegetation, or take photos knowing the Hilo waterfall photography tips and be enchanted by the awe-inspiring Akaka Falls.
Nestled within the World Botanical Gardens, Kama’e’e Falls is a hidden gem unveiled to the public in 2009. This 100-foot waterfall is unique as it flows from a lava tube, creating a mesmerising spectacle. Admission to the World Botanical Gardens grants you access to this picturesque waterfall, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Take your time to explore the gardens and embrace the tranquillity of Kama’e’e Falls.
Umauma Falls offers a thrilling combination of adventure and natural beauty. This three-tiered waterfall is the centrepiece of Umauma Falls Adventure Park, where visitors can indulge in ziplining, rappelling, and ATV experiences. Embark on a 90-minute zipline tour, soaring over 14 different waterfalls and taking in breathtaking views. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, simply enjoy the beauty of Umauma Falls by paying the Hilo waterfall entrance fees.
Tucked away on the grounds of The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, this private oasis is the largest privately accessible waterfall in Hawaii. To witness the beauty of Kulaniapia Falls, consider staying overnight at The Inn or opting for the farm cabin accommodation. Enjoy nature, explore the trails, and marvel at the 120-foot waterfall. If conditions permit, you can enjoy swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding beneath the cascading waters.
Hi’ilawe Falls is an awe-inspiring waterfall in Waipi’o Valley, known for its grandeur and imposing height. You can also explore Hilo waterfall tour options. With a total height of approximately 1,450 feet, Hi’ilawe Falls is a captivating sight, visible from several viewpoints within the valley. While hiking to the falls is restricted due to private property, you can still appreciate its magnificence from a distance. Witness the power and beauty of Hi’ilawe Falls as you explore the stunning Waipi’o Valley.
The secret waterfall near Hilo is a hidden gem nestled deep within the lush rainforests of Hawaii's Big Island. Its cascading waters emerge from a verdant canopy, offering a tranquil oasis far from the tourist crowds. The enchanting ambience and untouched beauty of this secluded paradise make it a cherished escape for those fortunate enough to discover it.
Hilo is a treasure trove of waterfalls, and beyond the top 10 mentioned above, many more are waiting to be discovered. Take the time to explore the surrounding areas, venture off the beaten path, and uncover hidden gems that are often overlooked.
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Q1. Where can I find waterfalls to visit near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii?
A1. Near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, you can find several beautiful waterfalls to visit. Some popular options include Rainbow Falls in Wailuku River State Park, Akaka Falls in Akaka Falls State Park, and Pe'epe'e Falls in the same area. Other lesser-known waterfalls also offer serene experiences.
Q2. Can you recommend any hiking trails or viewpoints that offer great waterfall views?
A2. For stunning waterfall views, consider hiking the Akaka Falls Loop Trail, which takes you through lush rainforest to an overlook of Akaka Falls. Another option is the Wailuku River State Park, which offers viewpoints from Rainbow Falls. Additionally, exploring the Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden provides opportunities to see waterfalls along the scenic pathways.
Q3. How does the tropical climate of Hilo contribute to its abundance of waterfalls?
A3. Hilo's tropical climate, characterised by consistent rainfall throughout the year, contributes to its abundance of waterfalls. The regular rainfall feeds the streams and rivers that flow through the volcanic terrain, creating ideal conditions for forming numerous waterfalls.
Q4. Are there waterfalls that are easily accessible for families or casual hikers?
A4. Yes, waterfalls near Hilo are easily accessible for families or casual hikers. Rainbow Falls in Wailuku River State Park is one such waterfall with a short walk from the parking area. It's a great option for those looking for a less strenuous experience.
Q5. What are the safety considerations when visiting waterfalls in the Hilo area?
A5. When visiting waterfalls in the Hilo area, it's important to prioritise safety. Be cautious of slippery rocks, strong currents, and rapidly changing weather conditions. Always stay on designated paths and obey any posted signs or warnings. It's also a good idea to inform someone of your plans and bring essentials like water, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
Q6. Can you provide information about the cultural and indigenous significance of these waterfalls?
A6. Many waterfalls in Hawaii, including those near Hilo, hold cultural and indigenous significance. They are often considered sacred places in Hawaiian culture. These sites may have stories or legends associated with them, and it's important to respect the cultural and spiritual significance by not disturbing the environment or leaving offerings.
Q7. How can I learn about the traditional Hawaiian perspectives on these natural wonders?
A7. To learn about traditional Hawaiian perspectives on waterfalls and other natural wonders, consider visiting local cultural centres or museums in Hilo, where you can find exhibits and educational programmes about Hawaiian traditions and history. Additionally, speaking with local residents and participating in guided tours with knowledgeable guides can provide insights into Hawaiian culture and perspectives on nature.
Q8. Are there any guided tours or eco-adventures cantered around Hilo's waterfalls?
A8. Yes, there are guided tours and eco-adventures that focus on Hilo's waterfalls. You can find tour operators that offer guided hikes to waterfalls, providing informative experiences and ensuring your safety while exploring these natural wonders. These tours often include transportation, guides, and sometimes even cultural insights.
Q9. What other attractions or activities can I include in my Hilo itinerary along with waterfalls?
A9. Along with visiting waterfalls, you can explore other attractions in Hilo, such as
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo, Hilo Farmers Market, Liliuokalani Gardens, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Centre.
Q10. Can you recommend any lesser-known waterfalls near Hilo that offer serenity and seclusion?
A10. Some lesser-known waterfalls near Hilo that offer serenity and seclusion include Umauma Falls and Onomea Falls. These falls are often less crowded than the more popular ones and provide a tranquil natural setting for a peaceful experience. However, always exercise caution and respect the environment when visiting these less-visited spots.
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