Although Hawaii is home to some of the best beaches in the world, most visitors are unaware just how many waterfalls are also located on the islands. In this blog, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the best waterfalls in Hawaii. So, whether you’re planning a trip to the islands or you’re just curious about these beautiful landmarks, read on for more information!
First Up: Oahu Waterfalls
There are several amazing waterfalls on Oahu, making it tough to choose which ones to see first. To help you decide, we’ve listed them in order from most traveled to least, mostly due to the severity of the hike in:
Waimea Falls is located in Waimea Valley, it’s one of the most popular waterfalls on the island. The waterfall is about 45 feet high and visitors can walk right up to it making it an easy day venture for families with plenty of space to explore.
More about the trail: Waimea Falls is about 3.5 miles long and takes about an hour to complete. However, the hike is relatively easy and takes place along a flat paved trail. Think of it as a nice scenic walk through the lush beauty of Hawaii before the main attraction!
Manoa Falls is located in the Manoa Valley and is another popular waterfall on Oahu. The waterfall is about 150 feet high and can be easily seen from the road. Visitor parking for the trailhead is $7.
When visiting this waterfall the sight is awe-inspiring, but make sure not to dive into the water. The water below contains bacteria that can cause illness so it is best to enjoy the hike, fantastic views, and make sure to snap some pictures while you’re there!
This waterfall is another fairly easy hike to get an excellent view. However, despite the ease of the hike, it’s nice and secluded making it the perfect option for a couple to get away and enjoy a relaxing adventure away from the crowds.
This 2.9-mile hike along Mānana Ridge Trail takes you to one of the most popular waterfalls on the island with its fantastic scenery and good swimming hole.
More about the trail: this hike is considered moderate difficulty, with a few more strenuous sections than the previous ones listed. However, the views along the way make it well worth the effort!
This particular Oahu waterfall is found along the Nu’uanu stream after hiking about 2 miles through unmarked trails. This view is for the true adventurer who doesn’t mind getting lost in nature for a bit venturing through the tranquil bamboo forest. This adventure is well worth the 30-45 minute hike!
The hike to Maunawili Falls can be more of a challenge than Manoa Falls and Waimea Falls, but the waterfall is well worth the view if you’re up for a more challenging route.
More about the trail: The hike to Maunawili Falls takes about an hour to complete and may require crossing the water a few times on the trip out. It’s a great option if you are looking to explore the remote areas of Oahu but may not be the greatest choice for a family outing.
*Just a warning depending on the time of year the trail may be fairly muddy as well. Sometimes shin-deep, so don’t choose this Oahu waterfall if you aren’t looking to get muddy.
If you are looking for a waterfall to visit that is off the beaten path, Waipuhia Falls may be a perfect choice. Just make sure to keep track of where you are going, as the area can be a little tricky to navigate.
Next Up: Maui Waterfalls
Maui has some of the most pristine waterfalls found in all of Hawaii, many of which are easily viewable right along the road to Hana. If you are planning on sightseeing throughout your visits, don’t forget to add these falls to your list!
This waterfall is a great place to visit if you want to spend some time swimming and enjoying the views!
More about the trail: to get to Twin Falls, you will only need to hike about a mile in as the falls can be seen from the road. The trail is considered easy, making it perfect for families with small children or those who are looking for an adventure without too much of a challenge.
Wailua Falls can be found along the Road to Hana Highway and is one of the most popular waterfalls in Maui. The waterfall is about 80 feet tall and offers a fantastic view for those who are looking to take in the full natural experience of Maui.
The falls are easily accessible and make for a great stop along your Road to Hana adventure!
Upper Waikani Falls
Even though you need a pair of good water or hiking shoes, the Upper Waikani Falls in Maui is a Hawaiian waterfall that you won’t want to miss. It’s a bit of a hidden gem as it’s often overshadowed by the more popular Twin Falls meaning less crowds and more of the local experience.
The Waimoku Falls is located in the Haleakala National Park and should definitely be on your list of waterfalls to visit while you are in Maui. These falls can be found after a fairly difficult hike, but it’s well worth the journey to see the stunning 400ft waterfall.
Pua’a Ka’a Falls
This waterfall makes for a fantastic swimming hole with extremely easy access. The falls are found after a very short walk from the parking lot and make for a great place to spend an afternoon swimming and enjoying nature.
These falls can be spotted directly off the Hana Highway surrounded by lush jungle greenery. Hanawi Falls is a great place to stop and take in the views. These falls, both the upper and lower, can be seen all year long as it is fed from the constantly running Hanawi stream.
Found near mile marker 25 on the Hana Highway, Makapipi Falls can be seen from the road but is not a recommended hike as it can be a fairly dangerous terrain. We recommend enjoying the view from the highway, this makes it an easy stop on your journey to Hana and a great place to take in the beauty of Maui!
*Keep in mind when visiting this waterfall that it can be dependent on rainfall levels.
Haipua’ena Falls can be found between mile markers 11 and 12 of the road to Hana. This particular fall has a fantastic pool for swimming surrounded by stunning greenery.
This is one of the best Maui waterfalls to visit if you are looking for a place to take a dip!
Falls of Makahiku
These 185-foot falls are located in the Haleakala National Park and can be reached by a short and easy hike. The Falls of Makahiku are one of the best Maui waterfalls to visit if you want to take in the full beauty of the island.
The trail to reach these falls is the Pipiwai Trail which is fantastic if you also want to view the Waimoku falls on the same hike.
When you visit Waikani Falls, you’ll be able to see three different tiers which make for a stunning view. These are sometimes called the “three-bears” and have a great swimming pool to accompany them.
You can access them with ease, right off the road to Hana, but that doesn’t mean they are the easiest to hike into. However, they’re still worth a visit if you’re in the area!
Kopiliula Falls is a bit more difficult to access than some of the other falls on this list, but it’s well worth the journey. The parking is adequate but to visit the larger of the Kopiliula Falls you have to hike up the smaller ones first.
This is a great place to visit if you are looking for a more challenging hike and want to take in the stunning views of Maui.
Big Island Waterfalls
The Big Island of Hawaii, with its spectrum of climates and different landscapes, is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Hawaii that are sure to make for fantastic memories during your stay here.
One of the most popular waterfalls on the Big Island, is a must-see while you are here. The falls are located in the Akaka Falls State Park and can be reached by a short and easy hike.
The falls drop over 400 feet into a stunning pool below that is great for swimming. Be sure to take plenty of pictures when you visit!
Kahuna Falls is another one of the Big Island’s hidden gems. These falls are located further along the Akaka falls trail. This fall offers another 400-foot drop but can be limited view-wise due to the surrounding vegetation and level of rainfall in the area.
However, if you are already planning to visit Akaka falls, you can’t miss visiting Kahuna Falls.
Located in Hilo, Rainbow Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls on the Big Island. These falls get their name from the rainbows that can often be seen in the mist created by the falling water.
The best time to see these rainbows is early morning but Rainbow Falls is beautiful at any time of day.
Waiale Falls is a great place to visit if you are looking for a waterfall that is off the beaten path. Located only a half a mile into the hike, these falls make for a relaxing stroll into a beautiful view.
Out of all these, which Big Island Waterfall will you be visiting first? Let us know in the comments below!
Last, but Certainly not Least: Kauai Waterfalls
The Garden Isle of Kauai is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii. With lush green rainforest and rushing rivers around every corner, it’s no wonder that these falls are such a popular tourist destination.
Located on the east side of Kauai, Opaekaa Falls is one of the most popular falls on the island. These falls plunge over 150 feet into the Opaekaa Stream below and can be seen from both land and water.
The best time to visit these falls is early morning when the sun is shining through the mist of the falling water.
Also located on the east side of Kauai, Wailua Falls is another popular tourist destination. These falls drop 173 feet into a pool.
A benefit of these falls is that they are located right next to a hiking trail, only taking about 5 minutes to get to them.
Located in the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Hanakapiai Falls is a popular destination for hikers. These falls are located about two miles in and can be reached by either an easy or difficult hike, depending on your skill level.
Once you reach the falls, you will be able to enjoy the sight of water cascading approximately 300 feet into a pool below. This makes for a beautiful sight that is definitely worth the hike!
Red Dirt Waterfall
If you are looking for a waterfall that is off the beaten path, Red Dirt Waterfall is worth a visit. These falls can be found carved into the Waimea Canyon. Although the waterfall is smaller, the vibrant red soil surrounding it is what makes it so eye-catching.
Ho’opi’i Falls is a beautiful series of waterfalls located along the Kapaa stream. These falls can be reached by hiking about two and a half miles in, however, the trail is a fairly moderate one.
And you’ll be rewarded for your efforts by cooling off in one of the pools once you reach the falls.
Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls)
If you are a fan of the movie Jurassic Park, then you’ll want to visit Manawaiopuna Falls. These falls can only be reached by helicopter and are located in central Kauai.
While these falls may be difficult to get to, they are definitely worth the trip. This waterfall is 400-feet high and plunges into a pool below, making it one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Hawaii!
Waipo’o Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Hawaii. These falls drop over 900 feet and make for a great view after a moderate hike of about 2.8 miles each way.
The Kilauea Falls are a smaller but beautiful sight right near the residential areas of Kilauea. This makes it a perfect fall to visit after a quick trip to the Kilauea Fishmarket and other local businesses during your stay.
That’s it for our comprehensive guide to the waterfalls of the Hawaiian Islands. If you know of any more secret waterfall gems we should add to the list let us know in the comment section! We think the natural beauty of Hawaii should be shared and cherished by all to preserve it’s sights for generations to come.