Akaka Falls might be one of the most popular and scenic waterfalls on the Big Island, and for agood reason. The small state park has a nice walking trail through lush vegetation, eventually leading to several good viewpoints of the 442 foot tall falls. The entire hike is short, so take your time to enjoy the scenery! If you're in the Hilo region, be sure to stop by here and Rainbow Falls for a nice dose of nature.
Date: April 2018
Miles: 0.55 total
Elevation Change: 294 ft.
Trail Type: Loop
Trailhead: Google Maps
Cost: 5$ per car (if you park in the lot), or 1$ per person
The park is about a 25 minute drive from Hilo and a two hour drive from Kona. Because of its easy access, this trail is quite a popular destination. The parking lot is small an fills quickly, but if you park on the side of the street and walk in, you'll save the $5 parking fee. Be sure to pay your fee at the small kiosk at the start of the trail.
Come early or on weekdays as tour buses will drop off full loads of passengers at a time, causing the small park to feel crowded at times. Once you get to the parking lot, you'll be able to see the falls in the distance on a clear day.
This loop is more like a leisurely walk on a paved walkway that goes by several falls. With only a total elevation change of 300 feet, this trail is great for hikers of all ages, but do keep in mind there are stairs to walk up and down throughout the park.
There is only one trail to take, and most hike counter-clockwise. If you just want to see the falls, you can head clockwise straight from the parking lot to get to the viewpoint of the falls in just a few minutes.
The trail heads through some lush scenery with small bamboo groves, mini fern walls, hanging vines, and misty valley views before reaching the lookout for the 100 foot Kahuna Falls in the distance.
Continuing on the path, the stairs soon descend down leading towards Akaka Falls. Don't miss this one great photo spot for the main falls.
You soon reach a viewing platform complete with a gazebo with a full view of the 442 foot thundering falls. We actually only got to view the falls for another 10 minutes until the low clouds rolled in, completely shrouding the view of the falls!
From this spot it is a short walk back to the starting point of the loop. Keep an eye out for mini waterfalls and diverse flora near the trail.
Some of the beautiful photos in this post are by Feryl Aradillos
Favorite gear for this hike