DreamingHawaii.com » Hawaii Islands » The Big Island, the Orchid Isle » Big Isle Attractions » Big Isle Natural Attractions » Big Isle Waterfalls » Akaka Falls
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The Akaka Falls Trail includes two waterfalls: 100-foot Kahuna Falls and 442-foot Akaka Falls. Akaka Falls State Park is located a short drive inland from the town of Honomu (at the end of Highway 220), about 12 miles north of Hilo on the eastern coast of the Big Island. There are large signs as you drive in warning tourists not to leave valuables in their vehicles. The trail has a generous parking lot and is often quite busy, because this is one of the top waterfall hikes on the Big Island. The trailhead for the trail to the waterfalls is located right at the parking lot.
As you enter the trail, you will notice immediately a sign indicating that you can hike the loop trail in either direction (there is a waterfall to the left and a waterfall to the right). I recommend that you follow the trail to the right as indicated, which takes you to Kahuna Falls before the more impressive Akaka Falls. The trail is fairly level and well-maintained. After passing by a pretty stream and through some deep green tropical forest, a view of Kahuna Falls opens up on the right. It seems a bit far away, and of course the strength of the waterfall will depend on the amount of recent rain. But it is still a pretty waterfall in its own right.
Continuing on the trail will eventually bring you to stunning views of Akaka Falls itself. The Akaka Falls waterfall is on Kolekole Stream. "Akaka" means "split, chink, separation" in Hawaiian, and since the waterfall plunges over 400 feet it is aptly named. There is no way to get anywhere close to the falls (it would be extremely dangerous), but the views from the loop trail are quite impressive enough.
Click the first photo in the right pane of this page for some more great waterfall photos of Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls from the Akaka Falls Trail.