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Park sign at Akaka Falls State Park

Beautiful Akaka Falls, possibly Hawaii’s most famous waterfall, lies along the northeastern Hilo Coast in Hawaii County, Hawaii. Protected within Akaka Falls State Park, this legendary waterfall is accompanied by a smaller waterfall, Kahuna Falls, and surrounded by a lush tropical forest.

This popular Hawaii state park provides visitors with viewing access to these picturesque falls – Kahuna Falls and Akaka Falls – by a 0.4 mile paved trail. This short path leads guests uphill through wild orchids, ferns, and bamboo groves for spectacular views of the 100-foot Kahuna Falls and the 442-foot Akaka Falls.

Guests enjoy trekking through the lush tropical environment to get a closer look at these scenic falls and learning more about the legend behind Akaka Falls.

Large waterfall in the distance at Akaka Falls State Park

Activities

The main attraction to this small day park is the trail that leads to spectacular views of the falls. Guests enjoy stopping in on their way through to other parts of the island.

The spectacular Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls are worth the stop to stretch your legs, use the restroom, get a drink of water and climb the paved pathway up to the scenic viewpoints.

heavy vegetation with a waterfall in the distance at Akaka Falls State Park

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Akaka Falls State Park:

Hiking at Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park’s main attraction and feature is its trail out to two large waterfalls. This 0.4 mile trail starts directly off of the parking area. It then loops through lush tropical plants and wildflowers and up multiple steps to overlook cascading Kahuna Falls and free-falling Akaka Falls.

As guests walk along this easy paved pathway they will first encounter Kahuna Falls. This smaller fall cascades over the cliff and drops 100 feet down to the valley floor and then flows out into Kolekole Stream. Kahuna Falls is often harder to see because of its size and the lush vegetation surrounding it.

Next the trail leads up to a viewpoint where Akaka Falls may easily be seen. This spectacular waterfall plunges 442-feet down into a steam carved gorge.

A separate pathway leads to a viewpoint where both falls may be seen without climbing stairs.

Stairs to the big waterfall at Akaka Falls State Park

Birding at Akaka Falls State Park

While exploring the trails and viewing the spectacular waterfalls inside Akaka Falls State Park you may see a Hawaiian Hawk, Northern Cardinal, Laysan Albatross, Spotted Dove, Yellow-fronted Canary, Cattle Egret, Saffron Finch, Warbling White-eye, Hawaiian Petrel, or a Scaly-breasted Munia.

Nature and Wildlife at Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park features 2 impressive waterfalls, exotic plants and wildflowers, and many diverse species of wildlife. Beautiful birds, fish, sea turtles, and other sea creatures may be easily spotted in and around the park.

The Carolina anole may also be spotted in various locations throughout the park.

At the picturesque falls, climbing fish and shrimp may or may not be seen as they make their way up to the top of the 442-foot waterfall to spawn. The O’opu fish begin their life upstream then float downstream until they are ready to spawn. These amazing creatures are born with a natural suction cup that allows them to stick to the slippery rock.

The Opae’kala’ole shrimp is also able to swim upstream and reach the top of the falls.

A gecko on a pink flower at Akaka Falls State Park

Pets at Akaka Falls State Park

Pets are not allowed inside Akaka Falls State Park so plan ahead and make other arrangements if traveling with yours. Service animals are not considered pets.

Camping Near Akaka Falls State Park

While visiting this beautiful area you’ll want to make the most of your time here so consider spending the night at nearby Kalopa State Recreation Area, located at 44-3480 Kalaniai Road in Honokaa.

This family friendly park features campsites and cabins near trails and scenic picnic areas. The duplex style cabins have bunk beds, bathroom with shower, table and chairs, and a kitchen area with stove, refrigerator, cooking and eating utensils. Each cabin can accommodate up to 8 people. Guests need to bring their own linens and towels.

a smaller waterfall at Akaka Falls State Park

State Parks Near Akaka Falls State Park

Fill up your day by visiting another state park or scenic recreational area near Akaka Falls. Here are a couple of popular places nearby:

  • Wailuku River State Park features the 80-foot Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots, a succession of large pools connected underground. The park may be accessed in downtown Hilo.
  • Wailoa River State Recreation Area offers visitors a chance to take a break and fish, sightsee, picnic, and more along the banks of the Wailoa River.
  • Kalopa State Recreation Area features lodging, picnic areas, and hiking trails in a lush tropical forest at a 2000-foot elevation. The park also provides access to more trails, including a 2-mile bridle trail, in the adjoining forest reserve.

Park Location

Akaka Falls State Park
875 Akaka Falls Rd
Honomu, HI 96728
Phone: 808.961.9540

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing the beauty of Akaka Falls State Park: