Waterfalls, Hawaii (Big Island)
Wai'anuenue "Rainbow" Falls is only 80 feet high, but it out-produces any other fall in the state in sheer volume. Its average discharge per day is more than 300 million gallons. On a sunny morning the resulting spray from this full-force falls does indeed result in a bright and colorful rainbow.
When we were watching the falls it was heavily clouded and rained a little bit. Therefore we didn't see any rainbow, but were still impressed by the thunderously powerful falls. The resistant river Mauna Loa overlies the less resistant river Mauna Kea and therefore beneath the falls there has been a lot of erosion and formed a huge cave.
The city of Hilo is blessed with more rain than any other city in the U.S. (averaging about 120" annually) and the gulches and hillsides around the Hilo area have more shades of green than there are names for. The rain-washed air is sweetened by flowers and wonderful to breathe. Deep blue waves shatter into white spray against and over the jagged jet-black shoreline edged in vibrant greens. Colorfully dressed children splash in the calmer pools and sheltered beach areas edging Hilo Bay.
In this beautiful wet surrounding you'll find lots of falls. The Big Island's second well-known falls is in Hilo itself.
Glorious Akaka Falls, where water tumbles 420 feet into a stream-eroded gorge, is considered a "must see" on the Big Island.
A pleasant, moderately challenging half-mile loop takes visitors through a lush rain forest of philodendron vines, wild orchids, bamboo groves and hanging heliconia. The 100-foot Kahuna Falls come into view first, and they are impressive. But Akaka Falls, laden with ferns, are breathtaking.
The park entrance is at the end of Akaka Falls Road, Highway 220, 3.6 miles southwest of Honomu.
We saw some beautiful waterfalls while on the Big Island. Because there are no streams on the western side of the island, waterfalls are only found on the other side.
Akaka Falls State Park can be found at the end of Hwy. 220.
Besides Akaka Falls, Kahuna falls is also located in the park. It's a short hike to either waterfall or you can make it a loop and see both.
Fondest memory: Besides Akaka and Kahuna falls, we also drove to the Rainbow falls and 'Boiling pots' on the Wailuku River, both within or very near Hilo.
During our Helicopter ride to the volcano we saw several inaccessible waterfalls too. As the pilot told us, "with over 280 inches of rain a year, there's a waterfall anywhere you look".
Favorite thing: Did I mention I love the waterfalls of the Big Island? Well yes, I do and so does my wife. The waterfalls here are quite nice and if you happen to visit after a heavy rain; they are quite raging.
Favorite thing: Akaka Falls is easy to hike to and very scenic. It's also close to Hilo. In fact, there are some good spots for snorkeling in Hilo that only the locals go to.