7 Best Waterfalls in Hawaii for Your Bucketlist

The Hawaiian archipelago is blessed with a breathtaking natural landscape.

There are over 100 waterfalls scattered across the different islands of Hawaii.

Each waterfall in Hawaii offers a unique experience.

However, some spots are more exciting than others – and this is what we looked at when coming up with the Hawaiian waterfalls we have on this list.

We believe that if you love chasing waterfalls, these are some of the best waterfalls in Hawaii and they will make your trip even more enchanting.

1.    Waipoo Falls – Kauai

Image:dronepicr. Waipoo Falls Waimea Canyon State Park Kauai, Hawaii [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Waipoo Falls is a popular spot for adventurous families.

It is an 800-foot feature that can be seen from the Waimea Canyon overlook – just past marker 10 on Hwy 550.

The Waimea Canyon is considered to be the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, which you’ll understand as soon as you lay eyes on it.

It is a deep, colorful gorge that contains all kinds of flora and fauna.

The trail to the falls is a moderate one beginning from the highway, and along the Halemanu Road. 

The hike takes you to the canyon’s rim, offering you a unique opportunity to see the Kokee Rain Forest and onto the top of the falls.

Image: Garden State Hiker. Rainbow over Waipo’o Falls [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

The only issue is that when you reach the end of your hike, the views of the falls are a little bit obstructed.

A helicopter tour would allow seeing the falls in their full glory.

The falls are broken into two parts; a short one in the beginning and a longer, steeper one that drops several hundred feet into a small pool at the bottom of the canyon.

2.    Waimoku Falls – Maui

Image: Thomas. Waimoku Falls [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

To get to the 400-foot waterfall, you follow the Pipiwai trail on the road to Hana, just above the seven sacred pools.

The 4-mile round trip hike takes you through a muddy section to the base of the spectacular Waimoku falls.

There is beautiful scenery all around (which can be said for most of Hawaii, but particularly for this area!)

Image: Collin Grady. Waimoku Falls [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

There is a boardwalk to help people canvas some of the muddy sections on this trail, but make sure to wear your waterproof shoes as well.

Be on the lookout for falling stones and debris under the waterfall.

Unlike many other waterfalls in Hawaii, the Waimoku falls is probably one of the best waterfalls you can explore without the need to use a helicopter.

3.    Honokohau Falls – Maui

Situated in the western region of Maui, deep in the mountains, Honokohau Falls is among the tallest and most breathtaking falls on the island.

At about 1119 feet, this is the tallest fall in Maui.

The spot is a difficult place to reach because of the rough terrain.

A helicopter tour would be the best way to see this stunning natural phenomenon.

The falls became popular after they appeared in the Jurassic Park movie ‘Out of the world’.

There are two sections of these falls.

The upper section is the taller one and it dips into a small pond before continuing onto the lower section.

4.    Waialeale Waterfalls – Kauai

Image: Kirk Johnson. Base of cliff at Mt. Waialeale [CC BY -ND 2.0], via Flickr

The hike to Waialeale Falls is a challenging one, but the views – once you get there- will be worth it.

This is a hike best reserved for experienced hikers. Stick to easier trails if you’re a newbie to the hiking world (and nothing ruins a vacation quite like taking on terrain too experienced for you).

You will be wading through mud and climbing boulders and rocks the whole time.

The base of the Mountain (known as the Blue Hole or the Wailua headquarters) is where you should target to be.

That’s where all the action is. 

Image: Kris Arnold. Wailua Falls [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Getting to the Blue Hole will be an arduous task and you can be caught in a flash flood unexpectedly, so extreme caution is advised.

The Wailua river will take you to the weeping wall.

The wall is rightly called so because of its cascading waterfalls ‘curtains’ that drip down the Waialeale Crater. 

5.    Kaliuwa’a Falls – Oahu

Also known as the sacred falls, the Kaliuwa’a Falls in Oahu is hands-down the best falls to explore in this part of the island.

It is an 1100ft waterfall with about 80ft vertical drop.

This section was once accessible by a trail leading to the pool of the waterfall until 1999 when it was closed after a landslide injured people and took the lives of several others.

Nowadays the best way to see the falls would be through a helicopter tour.

If you decide to take a hike inside the sacred forest, exercise caution and be on the lookout for landslides. 

If you’re visiting Oahu, don’t forget to check out our guide to the best things to do in Oahu to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

6.    Onomea Falls – Big Island

Image: Joey Gannon. Onomea Falls [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

If you love beautiful, colorful flowers and vegetation, you will be thrilled to visit the Onomea Falls on Big Island.

The Falls are located inside the Hawaiian Botanical Garden.

They charge an admission fee here but it’s well worth the price.

You will gain access to the grounds to take stunning photos among thousands of different tropical flowers as well as enjoy great views of the beautiful waterfall.

They have created viewing areas inside the garden. 

You should know that this is private property and although the falls are not as tall as some of the others we have on this list, the combination of a botanical garden and unaltered natural landscape makes this location among the best places to visit in Hawaii. 

7.    Manoa Falls – Oahu

Image: Edmund Garman. Manoa Falls [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Manoa Falls is about 150 feet tall and it is among the most exciting falls you can visit in Hawaii.

It is also very accessible – kids can hike up to the lookout point without much struggle.

You will start the hike from the point you see the Manoa Falls trail sign.

You will cross the bridge over the Aihualama river before venturing into the Eucalyptus forest. 

A few meters past the bamboo forest, you will come across the Manoa Falls observation area.

Image: Daniel Ramirez. Manoa Falls Trail [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

You can view the falls from this location or if you are adventurous enough you can walk down to take a dip in the pool at the bottom of the falls.

The trail can get crowded over the weekend and during school holidays.

The good thing about this hike is that there are shaded trees throughout the 1.6-mile loop. 

Final thoughts

There are many more falls in Hawaii and it is tough narrowing down to just a few of them. However, if you are pressed for time and still want to explore the different kinds of waterfalls in the region, you may consider visiting the ones we have highlighted in this article.

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