As I awoke on my second day of my trip to the Big Island, I heard the sound many travelers fear... rain. I had some good hikes planned for the day that probably weren't feasible in this heavy downpour. Then I remembered what my friend Luke Bryan once told me "Where I come from, rain is a good thing." I took those words to heart. In Hawaii, rain doesn't necessarily bring corn which brings whiskey, but what it does bring is waterfalls!
After a quick Google search, I realized there were several waterfalls in the Hilo area that I could get to with relative ease. I made a pit-stop at target to buy a poncho and I was off to my first falls-- Rainbow Falls.
And there is Rainbow Falls. The day I went the falls kind of looked brownish in color, but these 80 foot falls were impressive nonetheless. Apparently, the name comes from the fact that some days the way the water flows into the pool below produces a visible rainbow. I was not quite so fortunate the day I went. In fact, I was the only person here, surprising given that this a popular tourist spot. I snapped a few shots and made my way back to the car for my next waterfall (and to get out of the rain). Next on the list-- The Boiling Pots and Pe'epe'e Falls.
Here is a picture of the Boiling Pots. The name comes from the way the water flows over the rocks and makes it look like a pot of water about to boil over. I didn't quite see that, but it was still a good picture.
In the distance here, you can see the 80 foot Pe'epe'e Falls. These falls are fed by Wailuku River and eventually this river leads to the Rainbow Falls, where I just was. Apparently you can get much closer to these falls with a short hike and a little bit of rock hopping. However, I wasn't feeling it on a day like today. It was time for stop number 3-- Akaka Falls State Park which contained 2 waterfalls.
Akaka Falls State Park is located north of Hilo, about a 30 minute drive from the Boiling Pots lookout. This place was a bit more official than the other two lookouts and actually had a parking fee of $5. However, it makes sense since there is actually some infrastructure built there. There is a scenic, roughly 0.5 mile path that takes you through beautiful green vegetation, small streams, and unique and colorful plants that ultimately lead you to 2 waterfalls-- Kahuna Falls and Akaka Falls.
I first stopped at the smaller and less visible of the two falls, Kahuna falls. You could still see the flow fairly well and can tell that these falls are quite large (about 100 feet). The surrounding green vegetation around the flow was really quite incredible. I hadn't seen anything this big over in Oahu.
And then I made my way to the big kahuna (see what I did there), Akaka Falls. This 400 foot waterfall is the largest easily accessible waterfall on the island. The tallest is the Waihilau Waterfall in Waimanu valley towering at approximately 2600 feet, but it is very challenging to get to. Today, Akaka falls was plenty satisfying. The way the mist from the base rose all the way to the top was quite amazing. I was in awe of this beautiful grandeur yet again.
Despite the weather, I managed to make the most of my second day on the Big Island. It takes rain to create awe-inspiring places like this. So as I adventured around looking at these waterfalls, I remembered to give mother nature an extra thank you for raining that day. Rain or shine, never listen to TLC. Always chase waterfalls.
What's your favorite Big Island waterfall? Leave a comment below!
Also Check Out:
- Love Big Island's write-up of all the different waterfalls
- Hawaii-Guide's information about the Big Island's waterfalls
- Kaumana Cave- another place I explored on this rainy day, but had no pictures to show. It's a massive cave that gives you a lot to explore and is the same general location as the rest of the falls