Rainbow Falls is in Wailuku River State Park near Hilo. Matt and I saw a sign for this waterfall and decided we needed to make a stop here early in the morning. Rainbow Falls gets its name from the way that mist catches the early morning light can make rainbows! Unfortunately, even though we went early in the morning, the light wasn’t on our side.
Since we didn’t do much research, we found out after coming home that there is more to see and do in this park than we saw did. On the outskirts of Hilo you can find a parking area for Rainbow Falls. There’s a short paved path to the left that takes you up to the top of the falls where you can watch them flow over.
Looking back down the river from the top of the falls.
I personally think that the best view is just up from the parking lot, on the level ground. There is a viewing area to the right that’s raised, but the view from below that is just phenomenal.
This 80-foot double waterfall flows over a natural lava cave that was the legendary home of Hina, the mother of the demigoddess Maui. There was a battle that took place here when a lizard god, Kuna, fell in love with the mother and tried to take the home from her when she didn’t share the same affections. In the end Maui steps in to help her mother and calls upon Pele, the volcano goddess, to help her find Kuna who was hiding in the deep pools above the falls. Pele brought lava down to boil the pools to make Kuna flee so that Maui could kill him.
Obviously, that is a very simplified version, but you can read a longer version of it here. I read about it on the signs at the State Park.
I should’ve known from the story that there would, of course, be more to this state park, but I didn’t know. So, I missed out on seeing the boiling pots, which I heard that people sometimes will swim in, and even jump from one to the other, but obviously you don’t want to get too close to the top of the falls. Then, even further up from the boiling pots is Pe’epe’e Falls. Although I’m disappointed that I missed seeing these beautiful sites of this state park, I always tell myself that when I miss something it simply leaves more to see the next time.
Have you been to Wailuku River State Park? Did you make it further up the river? I would love to hear more and see some of your photos!
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