Whether a twin falls, or multi-tiered, waterfalls in Hawaii are framed by iconic volcanic mountains, lush valleys, tropical jungle, and refreshing swimming pools in a landscape unlike any other.
Some are situated right outside of an urban metropolis while others require hours of strenuous hiking. But no matter the location, viewing a waterfall in Hawaii is a magical experience. Here are the seven most beautiful places to see them.
After a hike along the Pipiwai Stream and through an expansive bamboo forest, visitors arrive at the tallest waterfall on Maui. The rushing water of Waimoku Falls makes its way down the stream, which feeds the famous Seven Sacred Pools at Oheʻo before emptying out into the ocean.
Shield volcano Mount Waiʻaleʻale is often referred to as the wettest place on earth, with over 335 rainy days per year producing endless waterfalls and rainbows. The Wall of Tears is a collection of thin waterfalls that stream down the nearly 2,900-ft cliff face. The hundreds of waterfalls are best viewed from above on a helicopter tour, but can be also reached through a long and treacherous hike.
Wailua Falls may look familiar since it was used in the 1970’s hit TV series Fantasy Island. The large twin falls located within the verdant Wailua River State Park are easily accessible by road. These waterfalls flow year-round and drop into a large rocky pool below that can be reached by a short but slippery downhill hike.
Viewable only by sea or air, Pāpalaua Falls is nestled in the far reaches of Pāpalaua Valley on Molokaʻi’s north shore and is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state. The impressive 1,250-ft waterfall reaches the valley floor in five tiers before joining a winding stream out to sea.
Drive a little bit past Hilo into the Hawaiian rainforest and you’ll find ʻAkaka Falls State Park. The 440-ft waterfall is easily accessible after a short nature walk. From the viewing area you can hear the rumble of the powerful water—ʻAkaka Falls is a very impressive sight. Here you will be able to feel the natural power of the waterfall and smell the surrounding tropical flowers.
Rainbow Falls is best viewed after a hard rain from the lookout at Wailuku River State Park, just mauka (towards the mountains) of Hilo town. The powerful waterfall is named after the rainbows that can be seen in the mist. Behind the falls is a large cave of lava often mentioned in Hawaiian mythology as the home of Hina, the moon goddess.
Hikers venture into the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kaua‘i to stand below the striking Hanakāpī‘ai Falls. The trail is 6.5 miles and offers incredible views of the coastline, a private beach, and lots of places to cool off.