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Akaka falls - scenic self tour on the Big island of Hawaii

Scenic view of the waterfalls at Akaka Falls on the Big island
Scenic view of the waterfalls at Akaka Falls on the Big island
Noel Morata Photography

Akaka falls is one of the most beautiful and scenic waterfalls on located on the Hamakua coasts on the Big Island. The falls are surrounded by a lush botanical garden which is a fairly level walk outside of the immediate staircase at the entrance which is not wheel chair accessible.

The walkways around the park are easy to maneuver with paved cement walkways and stairs, guard rails line the walkways for extra protection and holding security if the paths are wet. When you follow the loop trail around Akaka falls, you'll get to you get see both the upper and lower falls, and the views are quite spectacular! Initially hidden by tropical blooms and trees, you finally get to the observation platform to see the upper falls. You get this expansive view of the gulch, lush greenery and the long free-falling waterfall. It must have rained a lot because the falls were roaring loudly and dramatic in their free-fall.

The botanical garden itself has a variety of lush tropical plants to see both indigenous and non-native that have flourished in the wet forested areas. The pathways are fun to walk through, crossing little creeks, dense bamboo forests with exotic tropical floral plants like Ti, Heliconia and flowering tulip vines. The air is perfumed with thousands of white and yellow ginger plants with clusters of delicate blooms – from a distance the air is delicious and sweet, but up close to the flower it’s almost nauseatingly sweet. Exotic huge blooms of giant Heliconia and hibiscus plants take over the landscape and become huge as if nothing can stop them from taking over the jungle, everything seems over-sized in this environment.

It’s like a small adventure walking through the different areas of the park with nice scenic vistas of the gulches, waterfalls and other lush areas to enjoy along the trails.

If you visit the park, here are more details:

Located between mile marker 13 and 14 and past through the town of Honomu, follow the signs uphill to Akaka Falls parking lot.

Allocate a few hours in this garden including time frame to walk and see both waterfalls

Parking is limited, but you can also park just outside of the main parking lot.

Entrance fee $5 per car or $1 per person admission fee