Waterfalls are an awe-inspiring natural occurrence, and there is little better than watching a waterfall cascade into the pool below – except maybe wading into the water yourself. Hawaii’s Big Island is home to some of the islands’ most accessible waterfalls, and here are five of the most popular.

#1. Akaka Falls

Image by: Steve Dunleavy/Flickr

Image by: Steve Dunleavy/Flickr

With a 440-foot summit, this waterfall is wildly popular due to the easy 0.4-mile paved loop, which takes you to the viewing spots of both Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. Entry to the state park will cost $5 per car, or $1 per pedestrian. I think this shot captured by Steve Dunleavy is all the proof you will need that Akaka Falls is easily the most accessible, and most photographed, waterfall on the Big Island.


 

#2. Rainbow Falls

Waianuenue Falls

Image by: James Walsh/Flickr

A short trail from the parking lot offers views from the waterfall’s summit, and if you visit on a sunny morning, you might experience how the falls got its name – waianuenue means rainbow in Hawaiian. From the lookout area, you can also take a series of slipper steps to view the waterfall from the top. I can’t believe how lush the area surrounding the falls look in this photograph shot by James Walsh.


 

#3. Onomea Falls

Image by: Joey Gannon/Flickr

Image by: Joey Gannon/Flickr

This tiered waterfall is a mere 20 to 30 feet in comparison to some of the larger waterfalls, though it is quite breathtaking all the same. The falls are nestled within the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden off the four-mile scenic drive through Onomea Bay. Taken by Joey Gannon, this photo convinces me that the trip would be worth the garden’s admission fee.


 

#4. Hi’ ilawe Falls

Image by: Steve Boland/Flickr

Image by: Steve Boland/Flickr

While this impressive 1,400-foot waterfall can only be seen from within the Waipio Valley, and isn’t even guaranteed to be flowing, it is still quite impressive if you’re able to make the trek. This photograph, taken by Steve Boland, showcases the stunning waterfall in all its glory.


 

#5. Umauma Falls

Image by: Aaron Fellmeth Photography/Flickr

Image by: Aaron Fellmeth Photography/Flickr

This multi-tiered waterfall is located on private land owned by the Umauma Experience Company, so you will unfortunately be required to either book a ziplining or kayak adventure with the company – or simply pay the $10 admission fee to take a self-guided walk of the gardens. The view is totally worth it though – and I’m sure Aaron Fellmeth Photography would agree that this photo is worth more than the admission cost.


 

Which of these is your favorite Big Island Waterfall? Did we miss one? Please share your opinions in the comments below!

Megan Shute
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Megan Shute is a freelance journalist and editor currently residing near Honolulu, Hawaii. Since moving to Hawaii from Minnesota, she has become obsessed with hiking, beach trips, and Hawaiian sunsets.