12 Of The Big Island’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls (+ How to Visit!)

Are you planning to explore some of the best Big Island waterfalls on your trip? This guide has the most beautiful waterfalls on the Big Island for you to add to your itinerary!

Planning your trip to the Big Island at the last minute?

If you are traveling to the Big Island and are looking for some of the best tours to see some of these waterfalls, check out our top picks below!

Best waterfall tours in Hawaii:

  1. The Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, and More (Top Rated)
  2. Zipline over KoleKole Falls on the Big Island
  3. Big Island Circle Tour (Coffee, Wine, Falls)
  4. 9-line Zipline on the Big Island (incredible reviews)
  5. Big Island Helicopter Tour (see the falls from above!)

No trip to Hawaii is complete without enjoying all the beautiful nature. The Big Island is no exception. Hawaii is particularly known for its gorgeous cascading waterfalls, complete with crystal clear waters and plunge pools.

Compared to other islands, the Big Island doesn’t have many waterfalls, especially those you can swim in or that aren’t on private property.

However, in this article, we have done our best to compile a list of Hawaiian waterfalls that are easy to access, easy to walk around near, or that you can ask permission to visit. For some of these waterfalls, it is also possible to swim in the pools!

You should still check out these waterfall hikes on the Big Island because most of them offer views you won’t be able to find anywhere else!

Did we miss any great falls from the Big Island? Let us know in the comments which ones are a must-have on every Big Island itinerary!

Best Waterfalls On The Big Island Map

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Beautiful Big Island Waterfalls

Rainbow Falls

If you are traveling to the Hilo side of the Big Island, you should definitely make it a destination to visit Rainbow Falls. It really is one of the best things to do in Hilo.

Rainbow Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in all of Hawaii, even in person the Rainbow Falls looks like something you might find on a postcard.

Indeed, for this reason, Rainbow Falls is especially popular with photographers. According to Hawaiian mythology, Rainbow Falls was the home of the Hawaiian moon goddess, Hina.

The waterfall got its name because if you stand with your back to the source of the sun, you’ll be able to see “rainbows” formed from how light reflects off the water droplets.

The best views will be in the morning. There is a short hike that requires some effort, but it only takes a few minutes to reach the waterfall.

Kahuna Falls

Located in Akaka Falls State Park, Kahuna Falls is easy to find. The trail to the waterfall starts from the parking lot, and is mostly paved. Along the 0.4-mile trail, you’ll be able to see signs directing you to the waterfall and handrails.

The trail is suitable for families, so you can visit Kahuna Falls with children, and the walk takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

Kahuna Falls flows into different pools of water and is also located near Akaka Falls, so you should definitely make it a point to visit both.

When you’re done with your adventure in nature, be sure to check out Mana’s Aloha Fruit Stand, where you’ll be able to pick up fresh pineapples and coconuts for the full Hawaiian experience.

The entrance fee is $5 for non-residents and $10 to park your car. If you are a resident of Hawaii, admission is free with ID.

Pe’epe’e Falls

What sets Pe’epe’e Falls (aka Peepee Falls) apart from the other waterfalls on this list is the fact that it’s one of the few waterfalls you can legally swim in on the Big Island. In order to get to the waterfall, you will need to cross the Wailuku River.

The waterfall is rather secluded and located near a few other hidden waterfalls. At a height of 50 feet, the waterfall also has a swimming hole known as Boiling Pots downstream, where many people enjoy a dip.

Be sure to keep an eye on the weather if you choose to visit Peepee Falls, and don’t attempt to swim if there are any flash flood risks.

Kamaeʻe Falls

This is one of the newest tourist attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii, and visitors may have never heard of it. Having opened to the public in 2009, Kamaee Falls stands 100 feet high and features pristine waters.

Unlike other falls on the Big Island, the water comes from a lava tube, which means you’ll always see a steady flow of water even in the driest months.

The water at Kamaeʻe Falls is also clean compared to some of the other falls. Since it is on private property, you can see it from the view of the World Botanical Gardens.

Those who are more daring can also check out the ziplining and nature activities nearby. Another fun fact is that the waterfall is home to fish species like the flag-tail Kuhlia xenia and the Mugil cephalus mullet.

Hi’ilawe Falls

Hiʻilawe Falls is often considered the tallest waterfall in Hawaii.

It is claimed to be 1,450 feet high. However, it is not uncommon to see the waterfall dry up, and this is a result of the Hamakua Trench diverting the flow of water.

Some even say it’s not worth a visit, but it would definitely be nice to say you saw the tallest waterfall in Hawaii. The best way to visit is with a Waipio Valley Horseback Riding Tour (it’s currently closed – please note!).

It’s on private property, but you’ll be able to glimpse the waterfall on horseback—provided the waterfall isn’t dry.

The horses are very well-trained, so if you want to go on this adventure, the experience is definitely worth it!.

Umauma Falls

Fun for the whole family, Umauma Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of the Big Island.

Located on the northeastern side of the Big Island, the waterfall is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and can be accessed via a paved road. You can choose to take a self-guided tour, or for a better adventure, it is recommended to take a look at zipline tours.

You can also check out other tours, including an ATV tour and a horseback riding tour.

If you don’t want to do any private tours, you can visit the Tropical Garden and Umauma Falls for $12 per person. It is closed on Saturdays and Sundays and parking here is free.

Onomea Falls

Located in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Onomea Falls is another adventure you should consider.

Set alongside a gorgeous backdrop of palms, ferns, rocks, and trees, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take beautiful photos, especially when standing along the small bridge near the falls.

Since the waterfall belongs to the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden, you will need to request permission to visit. The waterfall flows into multiple small layers.

Not only is the area known for Onomea Falls, but you can also check out the exotic birds that call this place home, as well as plants, rocks, Alakahi Stream, and Boulder Creek Falls, a small 10-foot waterfall.

Wai’ilikahi Falls

Weleda Falls is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. However, if you still want to visit without making an effort, then you can go for a helicopter tour of the Kohala Coast, where you will be able to catch a glimpse of the waterfall.

Located in the Waimanu Valley, you’ll need to take the Z-Trail, also known as the Muliwai Trail. You’ll have to hike along 8 miles of valleys and hills, as well as 13 streams, which makes it dangerous if you go on a rainy day.

You shouldn’t try to tackle this in one day, though, so you’ll need a pass for Waimano Valley, as you can spend more time here – and potentially be completely alone.

Kolekole Falls

Kolekole Falls is located in Kolekole State Park along the Ka’ahakini Stream. It is also located near the ocean near the rocky shore.

The waterfall is smaller than many of the others on this list and is more popular as a place to settle in for a nice picnic under the Highway 19 bridge, if the stream isn’t overflowing, you can use the swimming hole in order to swim in it, which is also unusual for a waterfall on the island big.

Just be sure to keep an eye on the weather conditions for the day you want to visit because the. The nearby ocean can be very turbulent, making swimming difficult.

Kulaniapia Falls

A private waterfall, Kulaniapia Falls is the perfect place to visit if you want to experience a true Hawaiian getaway. And enjoy nature.

It is located near Hilo, which is a quieter part of the Big Island of Hawaii. Keep in mind that Kulaniapia Falls is a private waterfall, so you’ll need to request permission if you want to. Visit. If you do not have a reservation, you will not be allowed entry.

You can book a waterfall adventure or book a room if you want to visit. According to the waterfall’s current owner, the waterfall was featured in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.

When you reach Kulaniapia Falls, you will be able to take a dip in the swimming holes, and since they. Can only be visited by reservation, you will probably have the swimming hole to yourself!

Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls is another must-visit near Hilo. A 422-foot wonder, you should definitely make it a point to visit if you are going to travel along the. Hamakua Coast.

From the car park, you will need to hike along a 0.4-mile trail, which is easy and perfect for the. Whole family. It generally takes about 30 minutes.

You will be surrounded by amazing views of the rainforest. There are many places along the trail where you can see the waterfall.

Make sure you take in all the beautiful nature around you on the way, too. Akaka Falls is also located near Kahuna Falls in Akaka Falls State Park (one of the best on the Big Island), so be sure to make it a destination to visit both!

Nanue Falls

Not very popular with tourists, Nanuet Falls is one of the hard-to-visit waterfalls on our list.

You’ll need to hike through a slippery creek to get to it, so make sure you have your best shoes. And maybe a change of clothes with you.

In addition, you will not meet any signs indicating where the waterfall is, so you may have more difficulty finding. It

However, if you are into hiking and up for a challenge, this will be a worthwhile adventure.

When you reach Nanue Falls, you’ll be met with a swimming hole that you’ll likely be able to swim in. On your own, make it the perfect spot for those more experienced hikers.

Also Read: The 25 Best Waterfalls in Hawaii + Where to Find Each

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