Don’t go chasing waterfalls. (Big Island Waterfalls)
The Waterfalls of Big Island, Hawaii: Rainbow Falls, Boiling Pots, and Akaka Falls State Park.
TLC might have had a hit on their hands when they sang, “don’t go chasing waterfalls,” but when you’re traveling around Hawaii you probably do want to chase those Big Island waterfalls. On our road trip around the Big Island we visited a lot of waterfalls. I mean, when in paradise…
Here are my favorite waterfalls on Big Island. AKA, every waterfall we went to on our trip to Hawaii…
The best Big Island waterfalls in Hawaii…
Rainbow Falls is located in Hilo, about a short five-minute drive from the downtown area, making it an extremely accessible Big Island waterfall.
The waterfall is 80-feet tall and 100 feet in diameter and its water coasts over a natural lava cave into the Wailuku river below. According to local legend, the lava cave is home to the ancient Hawaiian goddess Hina, the goddess of the moon.
In the Hawaiian language, these rainbow falls are called Waiānuenue, which means “rainbow [seen in] water.” It’s so named because, on a sunny day, in the early morning, you can see rainbows in the flowing water caused not by rain itself, but by the small water droplets hitting the light.
At the falls, you can climb up the uneven rock path (don’t worry, there is a metal railing) to see the attraction close up and get a birds eye view of the waterfall.
Located just a mile and a half from Rainbow Falls in Hilo is another waterfall in Big Island: Pe‘epe‘e Falls also known as the Big Island Boiling Pots. The boiling posts on Hawaii island are columns in the earth formed as lava from Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea met and cooled int he river bed of the Wailuku River. When storms brew and the terraced pools or “lava pots” expand, the water becomes turbulent and looks like it’s boiling.
While these pots might look like idyllic swimming holes, be warned: flash floods can occur at any time and the boiling pots can very quickly become dangerous. Many casualties have happened at this attraction from visitors not heeding the warnings. It’s best to view Pe‘epe‘e Falls and the Boiling Pots from a safe distance at the cemented overlook.
Akaka Falls State Park
At the northeastern coast of Hilo, is Akaka Falls State Park where you can take a short half mile hike to see two magnificent waterfalls. Follow the footpath through the tropical rainforest to find the 100-foot Kahuna Falls and then the towering 442-foot Akaka Falls, perhaps the Big Island’s most well-known waterfall, with rolling water that plummets into a stream-eroded gorge.