I had previously visited Rainbow Falls during a trip to the Big Island many years ago. In 2013, my wife and I visited Hilo and took a local tour which brought us to Rainbow Falls.
Rainbow Falls is a large waterfall; about 80 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. The name Rainbow Falls comes from the Hawaiian word for the falls which is Waiânuenue ; translated as Rainbow Water(rainbows often appear here in the mist). When we visited the Falls; the water was in full gush due to so many days of rain the days prior to our visit. The Wailuku River feeds the water off the edge down into a pool below. Above the pool of water is a lava cave where the Hawaiian Goddess Hina lives.
We viewed the Falls from a number of platforms; each giving a different view. I was glad to re-visit the falls and bring my wife to see such a beautiful natural wonder
Umauma Falls is a beautiful three-tiered waterfall, it's about 300 feet in total height. This waterfall was the last of many on our tour of Hilo and the surrounding area. We were fortunate to have had several days of rain in Hilo before we visited so this waterfall was in its full flow when we viewed it.
This waterfall is on private property and requires a fee of $6 but was included in our tour price. This was the site of our BBQ lunch as well. It was incredible to have a tasty lunch overlooking the waterfall and hearing the gush of the water as we ate.
with a cumulative height of about 300 feet (90 m). This waterfall used to be accessible via the World Botanical Gardens, but there was a change of management at World Botanical Gardens and in 2008, the Umauma Falls lookout point and its surrounding 90 acres were sold to Umauma Experience, a company that also operates a zip-line. So now the waterfall is accessible only through the Umauma Experience (admission cost to view the waterfall is $6).
My first visit to Akaka Falls was many years ago and I had rented a car. After the drive outside of Hilo on 19 we made the left turn onto 220. Only 3.4 miles to go and we’d be at the first intentional destination of the day. This was honestly the late addition to the list that I was insisting on and it was the highlight of my entire day. And so we drove up to the stop sign about ¾ mile in. Made the left turn down the “main street” and then the right. This we followed up the hill until it ended in the parking lot of the park.
Parked and packed we set off. Down the stairs to the Y where we discussed which to do. We decided to do the circle loop and see both falls since we were already here. So to the right we went further down the hill. As we followed the path it took us across a bridge and back up a bit we came to the end of the path. And there wasn’t much of a view from there. Kahuna Falls were across the valley but not a great view. After some pics here we move on up the path towards Akaka Falls.
After about five minutes we crested the hill along the forested path and there was our first glimpse. The mighty 420+ foot drop of the Akaka Falls. Wow. I was so amazed. We stayed here for a good ten minutes taking pics and movies of the falls.
The basin that these falls tumble into reminds me a bit of the area the helicopter on Jurassic Park comes down into. There is a small covered rest area here and a good 10 to 15 feet of fencing you can take pics from.
From here it was a short 750 foot walk back to the Y and up the stairs to the parking lot. It was here where we finally ran into another person. They had just arrived and we were happy we had had the park to our selves.
The park is open 24 hours a day but I highly recommend you come and see it as we did pre 9 am. The sun is shining onto the falls in the morning and this also gives the best light angle for pics.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting these waterfalls with my wife in February 2013. We were fortunate that it had rained for several days prior to our visit and the falls were amazing full and gushing water...it was so much more than my first visit.
A waterfall located in Hilo, Hawaii. It is 80 ft (24 m) tall and almost 100 ft (30 m) in diameter.
At Rainbow Falls, the Wailuku River rushes into a large pool below. The gorge is blanketed by lush, dense tropical foliage and the turquoise colored pool is bordered by beautiful wild ginger. The fall is accessed by a hike down a slippery path made of stone that ends at the lookout point. The falls are accessed at Wailuku River State Park.Known in the Hawaiian language as Waianuenue, the falls flows over a natural lava cave, the mythological home to Hina, an ancient Hawaiian goddess. Rainbow Falls derives its name from the fact that, on misty mornings, one can see beautiful rainbows spanning the waterfall.
Address: Wailuku State Park
Directions: Drive up Waianuenue Ave. from downtown Hilo, following the signs. If you pass the hospital, you have gone too far.
Family owned and Operated Lobo Del Mar Activities specializes in bringing to you the best land, water or air tours that Hilo has to offer. From unique volcano tours to one-of-a-kind waterfall tours by boat, we strive to bring you quality service to help make your visit to the Big Island of Hawaii enjoyable!
Address: PO Box 6190 Hilo Hawaii 96720
Directions: We are currently operating three activites desks inside the lobbies of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Uncle Billy's Hotel at Hilo Bay, and The Country Club Condos/Apartments; All located on Banyan Drive. -see map above
Just a short trip from Hilo, and you can see some of the most impressive waterfalls and lush bamboo jungles. We headed up north from Hilo and took a road a couple miles back to Akaka Falls Park. This is a popular spot, but the payoff is big.
There are actually two waterfalls here, Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. You can take the trail that leads around to both, but be prepared for slippery, sometimes steep trails. With the pins in my hand and the large cast, I was finding it a little difficult to walk the trail. First of all, holding on to a railing always seemed to be on the bad hand side, and I certainly didn't want to fall...
So you take this trail through the bamboo jungle and we got to the Kahuna Falls first. It drops about 100 feet. Then we continued around the path and got to Akaka Falls. The Akaka Falls drops an awe-inspiring 420 feet!
This is a great short trip out of Hilo, so it should be included on things to do lists for everyone!
Directions: Take 19 north from Hilo to mile marker 13 and take the road to Akaka Falls. There are signs...
Hey...not all of the impressive waterfalls require a full day trip. Just a short trip down Waianuenue Avenue follow the signs for Rainbow Falls. This easy to access waterfall changes depending on the weather. While we were there there was a lot of rain, so the falls were teaming. If you get there in the morning, the light may be just right to see a rainbow, hence the name. We did get to see a small one appear. The cave behind the falls is where King Kamehameha is said to have buried the bones of his father.
Maybe a mile or so up that road, follow the signs for the "Boiling Pots" an area of rapids just upstream of the Rainbow Falls. They were really boiling when we were there with the amount of rain water dropped on us. Just a bit upstream, you can see the Pe'epe'e Falls. I've heard you can reach the falls from this park, but the water was way to treacherous now to try. (Plus, my hand was in a cast, that's asking for trouble).
Need more waterfalls? Continue through this quite neighborhood, not even a mile, you can see Wai'ale Falls from the bridge.
Just one small warning...I've heard the Boiling Pots has numerous car break-ins. It was obvious that less attention is given to this area than Rainbow Falls.
Directions: Just follow the signs on Waianuenue Avenue
The 80-foot Rainbow Falls is renowned for the rainbow formed from its mist many mornings; legends say that the cave beneath the waterfall was the home of Hina, mother of the demigod Maui. It's a nice little place to stop off.
Directions: On Waianuenue Ave, on the right side just after Waianuenue splits into 2 roads, the other being Kaumana Drive.
This falls, some 442 feet high is on many "must see" lists on the Big Island and is a grandiose sight indeed.
You can take a moderate half mile hike through a rainforest featuring large philodendron vines, wild orchids and bamboo groves. If you go around the right way instead of backwards like I did you first see the 100-foot Kahuna Falls and they are impressive but nothing compared to Akaka.
Thanks to VT member logophile I know that it is the Kolekole stream which powers the falls.
The park entrance is at the end of Akaka Falls Road, Highway 220, 3.6 miles southwest of Honomu.
This is a really beautiful waterfall, really a series of cascading falls. Their brochure claims it is the most beautiful in Hawaii and it is hard to argue with. They also compare it to Akaka Falls, but the two are so different it is hard to compare them. Akaka is spectacular for its wild height and spray and this one for its eye appealing beauty.
Directions: 16 miles north of Hilo on Hwy 19
this is a very easy walk through some very lovely "rain forest " type vegatation and the falls are very nice although you are a valley away it is still impressive alot of running water on the trip.
A meandering 20-minute loop trail takes you to the best spots to see the two falls, 'Akaka and Kahuna. The 400-foot Kahuna Falls is on the lower end of the trail. The majestic upper 'Akaka Falls drops more than 442 feet, tumbling far below into a pool drained by Kolekole Stream amid a profusion of fragrant white, yellow, and red torch ginger.
Directions: 4 mi inland off Hwy. 19, near Honomu.
Hilo is the largest city in the Big Island of Hawaii.
The beaches are black sand and huge black volcano rocks line the beaches.
There is a gorgeous tropical gardens to see and numerous waterfalls. We took a tour from the hotel to the waterfall with a local guide. I remember using a huge elephant plants leave as we did not have umbrellas to shield us from the rain. IT Poured!
About 10 miles north of Hilo there's a little town if Honomu. When you get there, follow Hwy. 220 for 3.5 miles, up through abandoned sugarcane fields until you reach the parking lot of Akaka Falls Park, one of the most photogenic sights on the Big Island. The paved, and sometimes slippery 'circle route' takes you into a world of dense tropical jungle, with giant plants fanning as big as trees, dripping ferns and dense bamboo groves, gingers that sweeten the air and brightly colored heliconia that rival the tropical birds in their finery. You can hear the thundering waterfall almost as soon as you enter the jungle and cross the gentle trickling streams and small delicate waterfalls leading to the mother falls. When the noise is almost deafening, you reach the lookout and see Akaka Falls as it churns and foams its way through the narrow channel above and plunges 128 m (420 feet) in one sheer drop into the mushrooming clouds of spray below. Also along this path, you will be able to see Kahuna Falls.
Go see the falls, don't forget your swimsuit. Follow up the trail through the trees and find an opening above the waterfall to swim in, if you don't mind the frogs that is.
Address: Inland of Hilo...just ask a local or look on a map
Directions: Inland of Hilo...just ask a local or look on a tourist map.
We were lucky to catch a rainbow at rainbow falls the day we went to hilo. In fact it was one of many we saw throughout the day. I even saw my first sighting of a double rainbow near a lava flow