Hawaii is blessed with an abundance of beautiful, rainforest-fed waterfalls that are worth the time and effort to see on your Hawaii Vacation. I wanted to share this list of Hawaii’s top waterfalls that I hope you have the opportunity to see when you visit the islands.
I’ll organize the waterfalls by island. We’ll start in the South on the Big Island and work our way North to Kauai.
Akaka Falls on Hawaii’s Big Island
This 442-foot waterfall is well worth the short walk it takes on the paved path. I never miss an opportunity to see it when I’m on the Big Island. For directions, advice and a video of Akaka Falls, see my article Tips for Visiting Akaka Falls. While you’re there, also check out Kahuna Falls (photo) that’s on the same loop trail as Akaka Falls.
Rainbow Falls on Hawaii’s Big Island
At Rainbow Falls, water tumbles down over an arch-shaped rock above a cave. This waterfall is located in the town of Hilo on the Big Island’s east side. This waterfall is easily accessed for everyone as there are no stairs or long walk to see this attraction. For directions, advice, and a video of Rainbow Falls, see my article The Big Island’s Rainbow Falls in Hilo.
Oheo Gulch on Maui
The Oheo Gulch is a series of cascading waterfalls and pools. You might hear Oheo Gulch called the seven sacred pools, but that’s not it’s real name and there’s actually nothing sacred about it. You’ll find the Oheo Gulch just beyond Hana off the famous road to Hana in the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park. Just before the park entrance, you’ll drive over one of the many one-lane bridges, but this one hovers over the Oheo Gulch. You can snap a photo from the bridge, but I do recommend that you visit the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park, if you have the time. See my article, Visiting the Kipahulu Area of Haleakala National Park.
Other Road to Hana Waterfalls on Maui
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’ll see around a dozen or more waterfalls along the road to Hana. This area might offer the most concentrated number of waterfalls that you’ll find in all of Hawaii, and possibly, the world. Some of the waterfalls you’ll see just off the road, others take a short hike to view, like Alelele Falls. If you are really into waterfalls, you might want to plan to spend a night in Hana so that you’ll have more time to find the many waterfalls off the road to Hana.
Manoa Falls on Oahu
To see the 100-foot Manoa Falls, you must hike 0.8 miles along a path through a lush green jungle. Visiting Manoa Falls can be as much about the journey as it is to see the waterfall itself. You’ll know for sure that you’re not in Waikiki when you visit the Manoa Valley and walk this trail. For advice and directions to Manoa Falls, see my article, Manoa Falls Trail, an Oahu Green Gem.
Wailua Falls on Kauai
Wailua Falls are probably the most iconic waterfalls in Hawaii. I think the photo speaks for itself, doesn’t it? These twin falls are easy to find and see when you visit Kauai’s east side. For directions, see my post, Kauai’s Wailua Falls. This waterfall is easily accessible for everyone.
Opeakaa Falls on Kauai
I like to describe Opeakaa Waterfalls as dainty because the water fans horizontally as it cascades down the lava rock wall. The brief diversion up Kuamoo Road (Highway 580) on Kauai’s east side is well worth the trip to see this waterfall along with the nearby views of Wailua River Valley. The views of Opeakaa Waterfalls is easy to access for everyone.
Waialeale Crater Waterfalls on Kauai
If you’d like to see lots of pencil thin waterfalls concentrated in one area, you’ll love taking a Kauai helicopter tour that takes you into Waialeale Crater, one of the wettest places on earth. It’s definitely a sight that will capture your attention.
As I close this article, I’d like to add a disclaimer. Hawaii’s waterfalls are fed by rain, so if you happen to visit Hawaii after a dry spell, you may not get to see the waterfalls when they’re fully turned on, so to speak. See my post, Hawaii in Contrasts Rain and Waterfalls, to see how much difference the amount of rain makes to Hawaii’s waterfalls.
With this list of great Hawaii waterfalls, I’m only listing a sampling of the many beautiful waterfalls in the Aloha State. What other waterfalls would you add to this list? Which Hawaii waterfalls are your favorites?