A reminder to be careful around Hawaii’s waterfalls.

Rainbow Falls in Hilo

One of the many things I love about Hawaii is the abundance of beautiful waterfalls. Wailua Falls on Kauai and Akaka Falls on the Big Island are just a couple of my favorites. As magnificent as Hawaii’s waterfalls are, you need to be aware of some of the lurking dangers if you get too close.

Sadly, in recent days, two men seeking adventure at Boiling Pots and at Onomea died. This unfortunate news should be taken as a reminder that we all need to be careful around waterfalls and streams. Now, I don’t want you to be terrified to see a waterfall in Hawaii. That’s not the case at all! In fact I encourage you to see the waterfalls, but in a safe manner. It’s so easy to safely view many waterfalls without any danger whatsoever. Please bear these simple safety points in mind:

  • At the risk of sounding like a mother hen, I’d like encourage you to simply admire waterfalls from designated viewing points or from a distance. Don’t venture past guar rails or climb around rocks by the stream.
  • Please read and obey all signs posted around waterfalls and streams. The signs are there for a very good reason.
  • Take extra care during rain. Streams can quickly flood making them extremely dangerous. The popular sight-seeing spot of Oheo Gulch (also known as the Seven Sacred Pools) along the Road to Hana is an example of a place that you need to pay attention to the potential for dangerous flash floods. This stream with its cascading waterfalls is part of the Haleakala National Park. Its website advises to “always check at the visitor center before entering the water and heed all posted warnings.”

Can you think of any additional safety points to add to our list? Please share them in the comments.

  1. Thank you for posting this! One of my friends died in a waterfall last March, and two more were injured seriously and had to be medevaced to O’ahu within the last year as well.

    I’d add:

    – Be extra careful when swimming in waterfalls, and think twice about diving in. The undertow may be really strong.

    – Take care when posing around a waterfall, especially around the edges. A picture isn’t worth your life.

  2. JulieAnn- I’m so sorry about your friend. How are your two other friends doing now? Are they ok?

    Mahalo for your additional recommendations. Very good point about thinking twice about diving in. You never know where the rocks are.

  3. Sheila, your tips would also apply to water features at the beach. People go past the viewing areas to get closer to for example the Blow Hole on Oahu, or to get a better picture of big surf, and get swept out to sea.

  4. HVG – yes they sure could apply to some things at the beaches, too. FYI, the popular Halona blow hole on Oahu is currently closed while safety and parking improvements are made. I think that project is scheduled to be complete in September.

  5. My two friends are doing ok. Now they’re just dealing with PTSD. Thanks for posting the warnings – hopefully it will help save lives 🙂

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