Akaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii
It’s one of the most beautiful and scenic waterfalls on the Big Island, surrounded by a lush botanical garden, the walk around the gardens and two main waterfalls are quite dramatic. The wet side of the island creates these lush jungles with amazing waterfalls throughout the park along with scenic vistas to different segments of the park. 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.
Lush Botanical Garden
It’s easy to enjoy a few hours in this garden and just absorb the complete quiet and focus to the wild and green surroundings. Strange large-leafed plants are also joined with large protruding and wildly colored spikes of flowers, it’s almost surreal. 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.
The pathways are fun to walk through crossing little creeks, dense bamboo forests with exotic tropical plantings; it’s like a small adventure walking through the different areas of the park with gorgeous vistas of the gulches, waterfalls and other scenic spots to enjoy along the trails. When the hordes of tourists coming in from their bussed groups finally leave, it’s so different, quiet and luxurious just observing nature on your own and seeing things almost grow by the minute it seems!
The loop trail around Akaka falls is a wonderful discovery walk and you get see both the upper and lower falls up close, 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 area finally clears to these expansive views of the waterfalls and surrounding gulch, it’s a green jungle paradise and there are thousands of ferns lining the observation area and framing the views to the small pond below.
The park is a nice loop trail that is easily manage and relatively flat terrain except for a set up stairs to walk down to the main trail. Unfortunately it is not handicap accessible through the flight of stairs heading down to the main pathways, but there is a nice observation point right at the stairs leading down to the trails.
Directions to Akaka Falls State Park
Just west of Hilo on Highway 190 for 11 miles along the scenic Hamakua coastline. Turn left off the highway to reach the sleepy village of Honomu. Passing the row of shops in Honomu turn right at the first stop and drive for 5 miles until you reach the end of the road at Akaka Falls State Park.