Akaka Falls – Big Island of Hawaii

Akaka Falls - Big Island

On the Big Island of Hawaii, you can find the magnificent Akaka Falls State Park. Akaka Falls State Park is located about about 11 miles north of Hilo on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii.

The drive to Akaka Falls State Park is somewhat scenic, offering nice views of Mauna Kea.

Once you reach Akaka Falls State Park, there is a short, half-mile loop trail that you will need to hike to view Akaka Falls. The easy trail is along a well maintained and paved route.

The path takes you through thick Big Island foliage and you definitely know you are in the tropics when you follow the path to the viewing area. The Akaka Falls is located on the Kolekole Stream.

Akaka Falls is breathtaking as the 442 foot Akaka Falls drops over lushly green coated cliffs and then into a deep blue pool far below.

The word “Akaka” means a separation, a split or crack in Hawaiian. The reason Akaka Falls was given this name is due to the deep gorge that the waterfall plunges into below.

Not only is view of Akaka Falls incredible but so is the thundering sound. The amazing sound that Akaka Falls makes is caused by rushing water filling the air. The mist from Akaka Falls can be felt quite far away.

The legend of the falls surrounds a Chief named Akaka that lived in the area. He had an affair with a woman down stream. Apparently his wife caught them together, and ran away crying.

Chief named Akaka tried to catch her, Akaka tripped and tragically fell to his death at the bottom of the pool.

Akaka Falls State Park is a 66-acre preserve that’s covered by a canopy of lush rainforest vegetation. The park includes beautiful birds of paradise, azaleas and giant plants with leaves measuring almost 2 feet in length.

For those that are more adventuresome, take a short nature walk that will lead through a variety of bamboo groves, ferns, ti and orchids. You will then have the opportunity to see the 100-foot high Kahuna Falls.

To reach Akaka Falls, take Route 19 and pass by several sugar cane fields. You will see a turnoff for Akaka Falls State Park around the 13 mile marker towards Honomu. Simply follow the signs to Akaka Falls.