Explore Waipi'o Valley

Hawaii Waipi'o Valley Lookout

Added by Jessica Dales

  • Waipi'o Valley is about one mile across, over five-miles deep, and surrounded by cliffs up to 2000-feet high
  • The Valley was once home to thousands of Native Hawaiians
  • The Big Island's tallest waterfall, Hiilawe Falls cascades down approximately 1,300 feet down at the back of Waipio Valley
  • You can view the valley from the coastal Waipi'o Valley Overlook at the end of the Hamakua Heritage Corridor drive, or you can hike down into the valley to experience the true beauty of this stunning location.
  • Approximately 3.0 miles (from lookout to the the beach)

From the parking area, walk down the narrow, crazy steep four-wheel drive road for 0.75 mile until the road levels. A few 4WD vehicles, either foolhardy (tourist) or knowledgable (local) may be inching up and down. Head to the right toward the beach for 0.45 mile and arrive on the black sand beach. This is the beginning of the Muliwai Trail. To visit Kaluahine Falls, which are located below the parking area and not visible from above, walk east along the coastal boulders for 0.42 mile. This section of the shore can be very dangerous if the tide is high, so use common sense! The intensity of the falls varies greatly with the weather. Return to the black sand beach.

The best view of Hi’ilawe Falls (if they are running) and of the entire valley is from the Muliwai trail, about halfway up the sea cliffs on the other side of Waipi’o Valley. You can see the Muliwai trail zigzagging up the opposite side of the valley from the lookout and the beach!

You can also walk along the road back into Waipi’o Valley to explore. The area is absolutely beautiful and with some difficulty you can hike all the way back to Hi'ilawe Falls. However, property rights are complicated and often disputed in Waipi'o Valley, so if you try and make the trek along one of the small footpaths through the forest along the river to the falls, make sure to respect the locals and their private property.

Pack List

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain gear
  • Bathing Suit
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Year Round



Easy Parking

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

5 months ago

Killer hike. Awesome reward.

If you don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle they will make you prk at the top and walk down. Which is a pretty intense hike, especially on the way back up. But its got great views at the bottom and is totally worth the time.

5 months ago

about 1 year ago

rugged and beautiful

this place is pretty amazing. be respectful of permanent residents but check out their taro farming setup. also keep an eye out for wild horses - they're very docile and safe. if you're lucky, there will be a car heading up the road on the way out - stick your thumb out or plan on a long uphill trek.

about 1 year ago

Added by Jessica Dales

Seattle based adventurer. Taking pictures as I go.

More Adventures Nearby

Beach Day at Yokohama

Hawaii / Yokohama

Getting There:   Traveling from Honolulu, follow signs toward Waianae: the H1 turns into Farrington highway (93) as you reach the west side of the island.

Erik Holmes
3 Saves

Hike the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

Hawaii / Wiliwilinui Trailhead

Getting there:  Traveling eastbound on the H1, from Waikiki, the H1 becomes the Kalanianaole Highway as you pass the Kahala mall...

Erik Holmes
5 Saves

Swim in the Waikoko Stream & Waterfall

Hawaii / Waikoko Stream Parking Area

You will need a 4WD high clearance vehicle to reach this trail. To reach the trailhead, take Highway 580 which will eventually turn to dirt.

Dan Deublein
10 Saves