16 In Hawaii/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ Travel

‘Akaka Falls State Park – The Big Island, Hawai’i

Matt & I spent four days on The Big Island, and we stayed on the east side of the island in Hilo. For what we wanted to do, it was the perfect place to stay. It was located on the more lush side of the island between Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park & lots of beautiful state parks filled with waterfalls and beautiful rugged coastlines.



Our first stop on the Island was ‘Akaka Falls State Park. We were jet-lagged, so we were up & ready before 6am. ‘Akaka Falls is located just over 10 miles away from Hilo, so it just seemed like the perfect start to the day. While the park does have hours and parking area is gated off until the park is open, we parked on the street and walked in along with some other visitors. I’m glad that we were up this early because it made for some great lighting (although, it’s even better right as the sun is rising because the whole waterfall is shaded).


When you walk into the state park they have a paved loop trail that totals in just .4 miles. That’s right, you can see this magnificent waterfall in just .4 miles! The sign when you walk in recommends that you start the loop to the right. The rebels we are, we chose to go left first. Left is the most direct route to the falls, but I would have to say that I think they were correct in the best way to go. You get an almost immediate view of the waterfall, which looked beautiful from here, but it is spectacular up close.


 Walking along this hike, even though it was short, was full of absolutely amazing natural beauty! There are wild orchids growing all over this area along with loads of other flowers like hibiscus and other tropical plants. A stream cuts right through the park making some other cascades as it flows along not to mention amazingly peaceful sounds. Visiting early, early made it even more peaceful because we saw a grand total of five people here during both visits.



The thing  I loved, coming from the left, is that you hear the sound of ‘Akaka Falls well before you see it and you round a corner and you’re right there up close and personal so it’s more of a surprise!

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‘Akaka Falls is a stunning 442 foot waterfall that totally blew me away with its beauty. Another amazing thing about this waterfall is that it is a free-falling cascade meaning as it falls over the cliff, it doesn’t hit other rocks on the way down, it simply falls into the pool below. One of my favorite things about this waterfall (which is more than twice the height of a fall as Niagara Falls) is the beautiful, lush greens surrounding it. It feels so much more earthy and wild. We soaked up the gentle, light roar of the water as it flowed.



I love being able to witness the amazing power of nature – especially water

If you take the recommended route you have a couple of pros. First of all, you pass the significantly less impressive 100 foot Kahuna Falls – part of what makes it less impressive is that you don’t get an unobstructed view. Also, you do get a pretty cool view of ‘Akaka Falls as you walk up to it.


Not to shabby, right?

The hike all around is a treasure-trove of amazingly beautiful plant-life. Be sure to soak up your surroundings because there is a ton to see.



I truly think that if you’re on the Big Island you shouldn’t miss this beautiful waterfall. It has this really unique, lush beauty to it and even though the hike is short it’s so full of nature that you just can’t help but get swept away in all of its beauty.

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  • Reply
    July 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

    The waterfall is spectacular! We had to cancel a trip to Hawaii when we moved to Europe but I am so looking forward to discovering the islands and the waterfalls.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Oh no! I usually find that when something doesn’t work out, it’s because it wasn’t the right time. I know you’ll love it when you get here and it won’t disappoint and will deliver a ton of waterfalls for you!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Wow!!! The photos of the waterfalls are amazing. I want to go! Thanks for the tip on going early in the morning to avoid crowds.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      No problem! This waterfall was one of my favorites and it took very little work to get here, which is a nice treat sometimes. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy)
    July 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Now this is my kind of hike!! I’m working on my stamina, but this looks like one I could handle even now and with some incredible scenery along the way. Amazing photos!! If we ever get to Hawaii, I’m putting ‘Akaka Falls on our list of places that we can’t miss!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Oh yeah! This is an absolute breeze. I would say someone who has never been on a hike in their life could do this one. It’s perfect! I hope you enjoy when you go! Cheers!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Lovely to see some of your honeymoon pics!! xxx

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks, Holly! We had an absolute blast and I have SO MUCH to share from it! I feel like I’m just getting started! Great to hear from you! Xx

  • Reply
    Annika of 457 Australia
    July 11, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    I’m will surely including Akaka falls on my itinerary when I visit Hawaii this year. Anyhow, sounds like you two had a great time.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      We really did! It definitely was one of my favorite sites on The Big Island.

  • Reply
    Safari Junkie
    July 12, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Looks beautiful and have to admit it looks like somewhere in Tanzania in high attitudes like Moshi area.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      I think it’s so interesting that places can look so clearly like other places we’ve seen. I love it! The world is beautiful!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Hawaii is high on my list of places to visit. Will definitely keep this state park in mind for when I do visit. It looks so beautiful and I love how the whole loop is just 4 miles. I’m not the fittest person.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      July 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      It’s definitely a must-see! I know you’ll absolutely love Hawai’i when you get there! Cheers!

  • Reply
    2016 Travel Roundup - For the Love of Wanderlust
    December 27, 2016 at 6:43 am

    […] A – ‘Akaka Falls […]

  • Reply
    Big Island Photo Diary - For the Love of Wanderlust
    March 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    […] ‘Akaka Falls was stunning in every light. The soft, morning light [left] and sunrise [right] were both stunning. The middle photo is Matt + me at the Green Sand Beach. We hiked to his beach and marveled in the fact that it’s one of four in the entire world! […]

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