Looking for the best Hawaiian waterfalls for your next vacation? This guide covers Hawaii most beautiful waterfalls, island by island!
Planning your trip to Hawaii last minute?
If you’re traveling to Hawaii and looking for some of the best tours to see some of these waterfalls, see our top picks (by island!) below!
Best waterfall tours in Hawaii:
- Maui’s most epic waterfall tour (+ focus on photography!)
- Little Falls Tour (+ Hike the Maui Rainforest!)
- Manoa Falls Excursion from Honolulu (Oahu Tour)
- Oahu Island Circular Tour (Visit Waimea Falls)
- Helicopter tour of Kauai (see the falls from above!
Hawaii may be on your travel bucket list for a variety of reasons, including gorgeous beaches, clear waters, unique culture, and warm weather.
But you should also make it a point to see all the natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer. One of its prized gems is its waterfalls, which you can find all over Hawaii spread across its islands.
Whether you want to visit Oahu, Kauai, Maui, or any of the other islands, you’re sure to find waterfalls that are pleasing to the eye and perfect for adventure.
In this article, we have included a list of some of the best waterfall hikes in Hawaii (and roadside waterfall stops!) that should be a point to visit on your trip!
Did we miss any of this guide? Let us know your favorite Hawaiian waterfalls in the comments!
The best waterfalls in Hawaii
Located in the lush forest outside of Honolulu, Kapena Falls is the perfect place to escape the city and soak up the beauty of Hawaiian nature.
Nuuanu Memorial Park or Pali Highway are good ways to access the waterfall. The trail leading from Nuuanu Memorial Park can be littered with rubbish, so be aware of your belongings.
Because of the large amounts of garbage, it is not possible to swim in the falls either.
However, you can admire its beauty from afar, and despite the fact that Cabina Falls is located near Honolulu, you will not feel any of the city’s atmosphere at all.
Twin Falls is among the most popular waterfalls to visit in Hawaii, located near Paia.
In order to get to the waterfall, park at Wailele Farm, where you’ll be able to start hiking along the mile-long trail.
When you reach the falls, you will be amazed by the breathtaking views and serene waterfalls.
You can also take a dip in the pool to cool off after a hot day. Some of the more adventurous species also love cliff jumping.
Although the waterfall can be visited at any time of the year, the best time to visit is right after a rainstorm because you will be able to see the waterfall in all its glory.
No trip to Hawaii would be complete without a visit to the 173-foot Wailua Falls. It is one of the essential places to visit on Kauai!
The falls split in two and drop into a pool of crystal clear water, replicating the gorgeous waters that can be found all over Hawaii.
If you’ve watched “Fantasy Island” from the ’70s and ’80s, you’ve probably seen these drops in the opening credits!
You don’t need to go far or trek to reach Wailua Falls, even though it is a great place to experience nature. The falls are located next to a parking lot, so the whole family can enjoy them!
You will be surprised to know that it is possible to locate a waterfall directly in a city, but nothing is impossible in Hawaii!
Such is the case with Waikahalulu Falls, which is located right in Honolulu itself. Due to urbanization in the vicinity, efforts have been made to restore the natural surroundings and reintroduce some native species.
According to Hawaiian legends, Waikahalulu Falls was a favorite vacation spot for Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii.
Whether you want to have a nice walk or you are looking for great views of how the 10-foot waterfall flows into the pools, it is definitely worth a visit.
Puaa Kaa Falls
Located in the Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park along the way to Hana, you can visit Puaa Kaa Falls at any time of the year.
The trail to Maui Waterfall is not at all challenging and is only 0.37 miles long. There is not much traffic along the trail either, so you will be able to explore the lush forests leading to the waterfall as well.
Birdwatching is popular among hikers along the trail. Visiting the falls after a rainstorm is often recommended, but the trail can get muddy and slippery.
Once you get to the waterfall, make sure you have your cameras ready! You can even take a nice walk near the waterfall.
You also cannot miss Manoa Falls during your trip to Hawaii. It is one of the most famous waterfalls on the island and has also been the site for shows like Lost and Jurassic Park.
Another reason why the waterfall is so popular with visitors is that it doesn’t take long to get there.
If you want to drive, parking is only $5 at Manoa Falls. You can also hike this well-maintained mile.
The Wailea Kitchen and Bake Shop and La Crepe Cafe are also excellent places to eat on the go.
Surprisingly, the best time to visit is winter because the pool gets deeper and the waterfall is more beautiful!
The cascades above Manoa Falls are also worth checking out if you’re not aware of them. Because of leptospirosis threats, swimming is not permitted.
Located on the northern shore of Oahu, Waimea Falls is another great place to check out the natural beauty of Hawaii.
You will need to pay a $20 per person entry fee. This covers the cost of maintaining the adjacent area. However, unlike many of the other waterfalls on this list, you will go swimming in the waterfall.
It’s also one of the few places where you can cliff jump. Due to the easy access to the waterfall, it is somewhat crowded, but the trail is less than a mile long.
You can also take advantage of the transfer service, which is $10 per trip or $14 round trip. You can also check out nearby Waimea Bay Beach, one of the North Shore’s most popular beaches!
Waikani Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Hawaii.
Located right along the road to Hana on Maui, Waikani Falls is made up of three waterfalls that flow into the Wailua Nui Stream.
Also referred to as Three Bears Falls, there is not much parking nearby, so many people prefer to enjoy the beauty right from their cars.
But it’s definitely a good idea to take a short hike or park further away so you can get close-up views of the falls.
The hike can be a bit challenging given how slippery the first part is, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views at the end and a lovely pool to cool off in.
Hoolea Falls is located between Na Pali Coast State Park and the Na Pali-Kona Forest Preserve.
In order to reach the beautiful waterfall on Kauai, you’ll need to hike the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, which features beaches, caves, and incredible scenery along the way.
It’s not an easy walk, but the views are amazing and definitely something you must see at least once.
There are campsites, but you will need to have a permit to hike and camp. The waterfall is not difficult to find at all as it is located at the end of the trail.
Hula Falls flows down a volcanic rock wall and is a popular spot for those who enjoy sunbathing nude.
Waimoku Falls is another Hawaiian gem and is a must for anyone spending a week (or even two!) in Maui.
Considered by some to be the best hiking trail in Hawaii, the Pipiwai Trail will lead you to a 400-foot waterfall.
Along the trail, you will also be able to see other waterfalls. The unique thing about this waterfall is that it flows all year round, and you can walk right up to the base.
It is located in the famous Haleakala National Park. You can also check out the swimming holes downstream in what visitors call the “Seven Sacred Pools.”
Location: Big Island
If you are traveling to the Hilo side of the Big Island, you should definitely make it a destination to visit Rainbow Falls.
A postcard would have looked more appropriate in person. The Big Island’s Rainbow Falls is a popular spot for photographers because of its beauty!
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.
Another stunning waterfall located in Maui is Copeleola Falls, which can also be seen from the Hana Highway.
If you want to get close to the waterfall, which we recommend, you’ll need to hike along a two-mile trail which is relatively challenging.
Be sure to take hiking shoes and comfortable clothing with you as the hike can be steep and muddy in places.
Upon reaching the waterfall, you will be rewarded with great views of the lush greenery and the Pacific Ocean, so make sure you have your camera ready.
You may also have seen the Manawaiopuna Falls in Jurassic Park!
Also known as Jurassic Falls, Manawaiopuna Falls is also a popular site for many helicopter tours, which take about 80 minutes in total.
The best part is that many of these rides will land at the base of the 400-foot waterfall.
Here, you can take photos and learn more about the surrounding area. Since the waterfall is not generally accessible, the main way to visit it is via one of these tours.
What makes the waterfall unique is its shape and size. If you can squeeze a helicopter tour into your Kauai itinerary, Manawaiopuna Falls is definitely worth seeing!
Location: Big Island
Another waterfall located near Hilo, Akaka Falls is another must-visit attraction on the Big Island. 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.
Sacred Falls (Kaliuwaa Falls)
Considered by some to be the best waterfall on Oahu, the 1,100-foot Sacred Falls should be on the bucket lists for those willing to shell out some cash for a helicopter tour of Oahu.
Unfortunately, there was a fatal landslide in Sacred Falls in 1999, causing access to the area to be closed indefinitely.
If you have the money to spend, a helicopter ride to this beautiful area is definitely something to consider. Don’t forget the camera!
The Allele Falls are a hidden gem on Maui, even though they are not the most popular waterfalls.
Located in the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park, all it takes is a short, easy 15-minute hike to reach the waterfall.
Since Alilelly isn’t quite as popular as some of the others on this list, you might be one of the only people visiting, which means you’ll get more out of your experience.
It is possible to swim in the pool below and enjoy the amazing views. Just be aware of the streams along the hike and try to avoid them if it’s raining.
Located along the northern shore of Molokai, you will be mesmerized by this magnificent 1,200-foot waterfall, which is well hidden and not often visited.
Maps and helicopters can’t always be relied upon to provide accurate information, so it is often missed.
if you are lucky enough to be able to find Papalaua Falls, you should definitely not miss it. Many people confuse this waterfall with Kahiwa Falls.
The main way to get to it is by helicopter unless you are somehow able to take a boat. Given how remote Molokai’s northern shore is, this can be increasingly difficult.
However, the stunning views make even the remote helicopter ride worth it.
Hanakapiai Falls is located along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast along a longer and more complex path.
The trek to the waterfall takes about 4 hours, but the views you’ll get at the end are worth the effort.
On the way, you will be able to visit the wonderful Hanakapiai Beach, which is very popular with experienced surfers due to its huge waves.
Once you reach the end of the Hanakapiai Falls trail, you will see the 300-foot waterfall in a gorgeous green pool.
Despite the long hike, it is popular with many hikers, and you can visit the waterfall at any time of the year.
You should also not miss Moanalua Falls. There are mangoes (and other Hawaiian fruits! ), native flowers, and ginger along the 4.5-mile walk to the waterfall.
The 250-foot waterfall is located in Wadi Halawa. If you wish to hike to the waterfall, you should consider hiring a local tour company or obtaining permission from the landowner.
Although the hike is not considered very easy, the views are worth the challenge. It is recommended that you take waterproof clothes, good shoes, and insect repellent if you want to go for a walk.
You can also drive along Highway 450 for waterfall views along the way. For those who want to sell a little more money, there are also helicopter tours that lead up to the waterfall.
Although you can only access Lulumahu Falls with a permit, it is definitely worth a visit.
This is a particular bonus for those who want to avoid the big crowds – the trail is never busy as a result.
In order to get to Lulumahu Falls, you’ll have to hike along a two-mile trail that’s accessible via the H-1 highway west of Waikiki.
The waterfall is 50 feet high, and although it is illegal, you may find many seasoned cliff jumpers jumping into the clear water. With this, you can cool off from the heat of the pool.
The waterfall flows into a pool, and you may see a small stream depending on the season
If you are someone who enjoys a long hike, then Kaipapau Falls is the best waterfall for you.
This hike is at the end of an 8-mile trail and is best for those with more experience due to the trail being slippery and rocky in some areas.
Make sure to pack an extra pair of socks and shoes with you as your feet are sure to get wet from all the streams you will have to cross.
It is recommended that you follow the water stream, and do not visit during a heavy rain storm due to possible flooding.
You can also follow the pink streaks that act as trail markers. Although the hike is by no means easy, you will be rewarded with unforgettable views.
Also referred to as “Secret Falls,” despite the impressive and unforgettable scenery, we don’t recommend visiting Uluwehi Falls unless you’re traveling with a group.
We especially recommend visiting with a tour group (I visited on the Wailua River kayaking tour). This is due to the difficult terrain, rain, and wind which makes the trek to Uluhi Falls more complicated.
Proceed with caution and don’t do anything rash. In order to reach the waterfall, you have to take a kayak or canoe ride, and then go for a muddy walk.
When you kayak, it takes about 2 miles to reach the trailhead. A 100-foot waterfall, lush forests, and a wonderful swimming pool await you when you finish this difficult trek.
And although the waterfall is called Secret Falls, it’s no secret – it’s just a small challenge to get to it!
Pools of Oheo
Also known as Oheo Gulch or The Seven Sacred Pools in Oheo, here you can find seven swimming holes all connected to the Ohio Falls.
The falls flow into each of the seven ponds. Oheo Gulch is located in Haleakala National Park near Waimoku Falls.
In order to reach the waterfall, take a 15-minute hike along the Kuloa Point Trail.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to visit if there is heavy rain throughout the day because the pools can be quite deep, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather.
You can’t see the Hawaiian Falls without taking a trip to Waipuhia Falls.
What makes this waterfall unique is that it appears to flow backward when the weather is rainy or windy, hence the name Upside-Down Falls.
In order to reach the waterfall, you will need to hike along a short 0.6-mile trail that is accessible via the Bali Highway.
Despite its short length, don’t attempt it if you’re not an expert hiker because the trail is poorly maintained.
Don’t worry if that’s the case, because the waterfall will be visible from the highway if it rains. Because of the high winds in the area, the water never seems to hit the land.
If you want to investigate this mystery in nature, you’ll have to dig hard – a lot of people end up missing it.
Honokohau Falls is the tallest waterfall on Maui, with a height of 1,100 feet.
Honokohau Falls is located in the mountains of West Maui in Haleakala National Park. It’s not the easiest to reach by hiking.
so Honokohau Falls is another place where you’ll want to take a helicopter tour to fully capture its beauty.
Like some of the other waterfalls on this list, Honokohau Falls is also featured in Jurassic Park. It’s a two-tiered waterfall and absolutely stunning, even when you’re sitting in a helicopter.
Did we miss any of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii in this guide? Tell us about the Hawaiian Falls we missed in the comments!
Also Read: The 25 Best Things to Do in Haleiwa (+ Top North Coast Attractions!)