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!
‘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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