Akaka Falls State Park | Big Island

Waterfalls, Akaka, HawaiiAkaka Falls State Park is home to the most famous waterfall in Hawaii. Located pass the small town of Honomu, this beautiful park attracts visitors from all over the world. If you are driving from Hilo, Honomu is about 11 miles outside of Hilo traveling along the beautiful Hamakua Coast on the Hawaii Belt Road where you will have glimpses of the Pacific Ocean and the hills and valleys covered with tropical trees.

The entire state park encompasses 65 acres of lush greenery. The endless forest of tropic trees, plants, and flowers adorn this land. It is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking waterfalls on The Big Island and in Hawaii. It’s a beauty that is almost indescribable by both visitors and local residents who never seem to get tired of visiting Akaka Falls State Park.

Visiting Akaka Falls State Park is a great way to start or end an early day of adventure on the East side of The Big Island. The peacefulness and relaxing atmosphere of this park is perfect for winding down and taking in more natural beauty that The Big Island has to offer its visitors.

Entrance and Park Facilities

The entrance of Akaka Falls State Park is at the end of the main road that passes through the small town of Honomu. There is a parking lot outside of the park for visitors. If the lot is full, there are places outside the park on the side of the road where you are allowed to park. If you park your car in the parking lot, there is a fee of $5 per car that includes entrance into the park for everyone in the vehicle. If you park your car outside of the park and walk in, the fee for entrance is $1 per person. There is a person on duty in the parking lot to collect your fees. The fees go towards maintaining the park and ensuring that it is safe for all visitors so the beauty of the area can be shared with many throughout the years. There are also a few picnic tables available if you want to have a picnic at the park, as well as restrooms for your convenience. Although some of the area is paved, it is not fully wheelchair or stroller accessible at this time due to the terrain. The park closes each night at 6:00 p.m.

Hiking Trail

There are two hiking trails from the parking lot. One heads towards the left, which is a shorter scenic route to Akaka Falls, and one trail heads to the right, which is the longer trail taking you through the beautiful Native Hawaiian forests. This trail is approximately .4 miles, is safe, and guarded with side rails for extra safety and to provide you with something to hold on to in the event the area is slippery. The paved path is easy to traverse, but the stairs can become slippery when it rains. The trail has a slight incline, but you don’t need to wear covered shoes or hiking boots. You can be comfortable in flip flops or sandals. The climate is very humid, but you may want to take a light weatherproof jacket as it sometimes rains in this area. You may also want to bring water to keep yourself hydrated. The first waterfall you will come to is Kahuna Falls that has a 100 feet cascade of fresh, clean water. The trail will take a loop around a small bend where you will come face-to-face with the beautiful and majestic Akaka Falls. It delivers a 442 feet stream of powerful water into a pond below. The waterfalls are surrounded by green, high cliffs. The stream that leads into Akaka Falls is called Kolekole Stream, which is above the cliffs supplying the roar of the waterfall. The entire time spent at the park depends on how long you view the waterfalls, but it is usually an hour trip. The hike is also easy for young children, giving them the opportunity to experience the beauty of The Big Island.

Breathtaking Beauty

The Akaka Falls State Park is surrounded by the lushest greenery as it often rains in this area, providing lots of water to provide nutrients to the Native plants, trees, and flowers. The area has lots of bamboo, orchids, ferns, and ti-leaf plants, to name a few. In this lush area of serenity, if there are not many visitors at the park, you may even get the chance to hear Native Hawaiian birds welcoming you to the area. The vegetation is natural to the area. The only man-made area in the tropical forest of the park is the hiking path. This is one of the most beautiful areas on the island where you can enjoy a little time exploring the timeless beauty of The Big Island.

Hawaiian Market Area

When you return from your hike either just to Akaka Falls or from the full tour that includes Kahuna Falls, just outside the park’s entrances near the parking lot, you can receive a taste of Hawaii. There are many local vendors available to share a little bit of Hawaii with visitors. You can find fresh local fruits that are in season and ready to eat, freshly opened coconuts, and taro chips (taro is like a Hawaiian potato that is purple in color, which is thinly sliced, deep fried, and salted). These are great snacks to replenish yourself after the hike through the park. It is worth trying the local produce that was grown and harvested in Hawaii to truly experience the Native Hawaiian culture.