When you first set eyes on Akaka Falls you can be forgiven if your heart skips a beat. After all, the beauty of this 422 ft. waterfall has been known to catch travelers off guard, as there is something about its vertical perfection that casts a hypnotic, time-stopping trance.
Or, perhaps it’s the dramatic jungle surroundings that give the falls their grandeur, where the heavily eroded theater of green seems to gently cradle the plunge. Either way, Akaka Falls is one of the Big Island’s most popular and scenic attractions, and the short hike to reach the falls makes it easily accessible for visitors.
Located 25 minutes north of Hilo, the waterfall is found within the confines of Akaka Falls State Park. A short loop trail leads from the parking lot towards the overlook for the famous falls, and along the way offers peek-a-boo views of 100 ft. Kahuna Falls. In the morning, when the angle of light is just right for illuminating the canyon’s foliage, colors seem to explode through the mist as it rises from the pool below. The half-mile trail requires a slight degree of fitness to reach the Akaka Falls overlook, although the sight of this symmetrically perfect cascade is one that you won’t want to miss.
Akaka Falls State Park is located 11 miles north of Hilo by the town of Honomu. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and there is an entry fee of $5/vehicle to access the trailhead to the falls. Rain is common along this stretch of coast, so be sure to pack a jacket, and morning hours are often best for beating the weather and crowds.