The Hawaiian Islands are packed with natural gems. From golden emerald green mountain ranges and black sand beaches to blue swimming holes and cascading waterfalls, Hawaii lives up to its reputation as an island paradise.
The coolest waterfalls in Hawaii are found on all of the major islands. You can visit the well-known ‘Akaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii, take a helicopter to the movie-worthy Manawaiopuna Falls on Kauai, and catch a glimpse of the 3,000-foot Olo‘upena Falls on Molokai.
Whether you’re looking for easy-to-access waterfalls or those that require a bit of a trek, here are 11 of the coolest waterfalls in Hawaii.
Hawaii’s Weeping Wall, also known as the Blue Hole, is situated at the base of Mount Wai‘ale‘ale: one of the wettest spots in the world. The Weeping Wall is a collection of waterfalls, with dozens of cascades spanning thousands of feet, creating a one-of-a-kind scene.
It’s important to note that hiking to the Weeping Wall waterfalls is one of the most dangerous things to do in Hawaii due to the frequent flash flooding. If you’re still up for the challenge, be sure to hire a local guide to take you on this hike. We like the team over at Kauai Hiking Adventures.
If you’re a Jurassic Park fan, you’ll likely recognize Manawaiopuna Falls. As a matter of fact, this 400-foot waterfall in Hanapepe Valley is now commonly called “Jurassic Falls.”
But getting to Manawaiopuna Falls is a little tricky. You can’t just hike or drive to it. Rather, you have to take a helicopter tour from Island Helicopters — the only company licensed to take visitors over the falls.
Because of the amount of rain the island receives, Kauai is well-known for having the coolest waterfalls in Hawaii. One of the most famous waterfalls on Kauai is Waipo‘o Falls. This 800-foot cascade is located in Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. For the best views of Waipo‘o Falls, head to the Pu‘u Ka Pele Lookout.
With its 442-foot cascade and bright surrounding greenery, ‘Akaka Falls is absolutely stunning. Because ‘Akaka Falls is such a popular destination with tourists and locals alike, the state created ‘Akaka Falls State Park, complete with paved paths and a designated parking area, making it one of the most kid-friendly waterfalls in the Hawaiian Islands. As an added bonus, this park also includes the 100-foot Kahuna Falls.
Upper Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls, is located on Maui’s road to Hana. The road to Hana is packed with dozens of waterfalls that all deserve a little time in the spotlight. But the Upper Waikani Falls offers a little something different. To see this waterfall, you’ll have to peek over the edge of a bridge and watch the waterfall flowing below you.
Many people know about Ohe‘o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, at the end of the road to Hana. But most people don’t realize that the highlight of the Ohe‘o Gulch is actually the breathtaking 400-foot Waimoku Falls at the end of the Pipiwai Trail.
To get a glimpse of the Ko’olau Falls, drive along Oahu’s H-3 highway when it’s raining. While that might sound a bit counterintuitive, trust us, you won’t regret it. Within each crevice of the bright green Ko‘olau Mountain Range, you’ll find the cascades, flowing like crazy with a bit of extra rain. With hundreds of fissures in the mountains, you’ll end up with hundreds of waterfalls! It’s certainly a magical sight to see.
It’s quite a trek to reach Hanakapi‘ai Falls, but it’s definitely worth the effort. You’ll have to hike a total of twelve miles, four of which are along the famous—yet dangerous!— Kalalau Trail. Along the way, you’ll see the secluded Hanakapi‘ai Beach, a beautiful bamboo forest, and loads of mountain apple trees. And at the end of your lengthy journey, you’ll be greeted by the 300-foot Hanakapi‘ai Falls.
Despite what its name implies, Secret Falls is no longer a secret waterfall in Hawaii. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. To reach Secret Falls, AKA Uluwehi Falls, kayak down the Wailua River for roughly four hours. Sounds like a trek, but this 100-foot waterfall is definitely worth the effort, especially considering the fern grotto and swimming holes that you can stop at along the way.
A cascading waterfall by itself is already an amazing sight to see. But the environment around Kaluahine Falls is what sets it apart from the rest of the best waterfalls in Hawaii. With the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean, bright green cliffs, and a striking black sand beach, Kaluahine Falls and its surroundings create one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
At nearly 3,000 feet tall, Olo‘upena Falls on Molokai holds the special title of being the tallest waterfall in Hawaii (and the third tallest waterfall in the entire world). This record-holding waterfall flows through the remote Wailau and Pelekunu Valleys. As a matter of fact, this waterfall is so far off the grid that you can only see it by plane or helicopter.