The waterfalls of the Hawaiian Islands are far too numerous to count. Tucked in quiet jungle inlets or displayed prominently across great landscapes, Hawaii residents and tourists from around the world enjoy exploring these majestic falls. Below are listed some of the most glorious waterfalls featured in the Aloha State.
Waipo’o Falls: Waimea Canyon is referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific;” so it is no surprise the double-tiered 800-foot Waipo’o Falls would be equally as astounding. For closer views, hop on the Canyon Trail between mile marker 14 and 15 to enjoy a staggering perspective of the canyon from the top of the falls.
Wailua Falls: Perhaps one of the most idyllic waterfalls on Kauai, the 80-foot Wailua Falls will take your breath away. A short drive off the first mile marker on Highway 56, visitors will want to take in the beauty around them for several minutes once they settle in. Be advised, though the pool beneath is about 30 feet deep, jumping in is not allowed since diving into these waters has proven fatal.
Manawaiopuna Falls: Forever immortalized in the popular film Jurassic Park, this enormous waterfall is located on private land. Accessible only by helicopter, this waterfall is one of the most famous attractions on the helicopter tours of Kauai and we think it is well worth the investment.
Hanakapi’ai Falls: Situated between the jagged Na Pali Coast and the Hanakapi’ai Valley, this is one of the only waterfalls in the area accessible without a permit or attending an official tour in this area. Visitors can hike to the 300-foot falls by trekking through a challenging trail, crossing streams and verdant jungle paths.
Waimoku Falls: Hiking to the towering Waimoku Falls located at the head of the Seven Sacred Pools is an endeavor not for the faint of heart. One of Maui’s best hiking trails covers nearly 4 miles round trip and ascends almost 650 feet, requiring 2 to 3 hours without any breaks. However, the trip is worth the effort as the trail passes the 185-foot Makahiku Falls and ends with Waimoku Falls, Maui’s tallest waterfall at 400 feet in height.
Wailua Falls: Tumbling a breathtaking 80 feet, this waterfall lies beyond mile marker 45 on the Hana Highway. Though the thickness of the waterfalls varies depending on the amount of rain, Wailua Falls on Maui is a beautiful tourist stop any time of the year.
Upper Waikani (Three Bears) Falls: Whether the rainfall has turned this place into a trinity of trickling cascades or into a deluge of roaring waters, the Upper Waikani is not to be missed. Located between the mile marker 19 and 20 on the Hana Highway, this tri-waterfall is roughly 70 feet high and makes a great stop for travelers along Maui’s most famous road.
Rainbow Falls: No list of the memorable Hawaiian waterfalls would be complete without including the Big Island’s Rainbow Falls. As the resting place of King Kamehameha’s father, surrounded by lush greenery on the Wailuku River, the state’s longest river, this waterfall has both great aesthetic and historic value.
Akaka Falls: Near the Hamakua Coast, this stunning 420-foot waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in the Aloha State. Here travelers will hear the waterfall long before they see it as they wander through the bamboo and birds of paradise in the state park. The nearby Kahuna Falls is noteworthy as well, but not as easy to view as the Akaka Falls.
Pe’epe’e Falls: This more subtle waterfall feeds into the famous Rainbow Falls creating a wide pool below. The 60-foot high falls tend to attract mosquitoes, so guests should be advised to bring bug repellent.
Sacred Falls: Hawaii’s most populous island, Oahu, has a 1,100-foot high beauty of a waterfall called the Sacred Falls. Though hiking access has been prohibited due to a landslide that caused numerous casualties and injuries, visitors can still get a glimpse of the massive cascade through a helicopter tour.
Waimea Falls Park has smaller waterfalls where guests can go swimming and Manoa Falls, only about 20 minutes from Waikiki, reaches about 150 feet tall and is situated among the wettest parts of the island.
Moaula Falls: Settled in the Halawa Valley of Molokai, the Moaula Falls is an astounding multi-tiered waterfall with the lowest tier plummeting more than 250 feet. The falls is located on private property and the owner of the property requires permission (as a guided cultural hike) to visit this beauty. Visitors can also get a bird’s-eye view of the connecting waterfalls by soaring over the Moaula Falls in a helicopter.
Papalaua Falls: One of the tallest waterfalls in the state of Hawaii, Papalaua Falls plunges over 1,200 feet. A distinct white veil between two unyielding walls of greenery and rock, this waterfall is utterly spectacular. Though there are countless falls on Molokai, this one is worth boarding a chopper to witness. Weather patterns and cloud coverage during the months of November to March sometimes create changes in the helicopter tour routes. Be sure to ask if the Papalaua Falls will be included in the tour or simply plan to visit a different time of year.