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You Only Need 2 Reasons to Visit Akaka Falls State Park

Cheyenne Reed

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Could we make you a whole list of reasons why you should visit Hawaii’s lush Akaka Falls State Park? Sure, absolutely. But, we think you’ll be pretty convinced by just these 2 reasons…

1) You’ll Find the Massive Waterfall, Akaka Falls, Here! 

Akaka Falls in Hawaii.
Flickr User snapbaacktoreality
Flickr User snapbaacktoreality

If they founded the park because of this waterfall, chances are good that it’s pretty impressive, right? If you find yourself on Hawaii Island (That’s the biggest one!), this is one stop that you don’t want to miss.  Just eleven miles north of Hilo, at the end of Highway 220, you’ll find this easily accessible waterfall. Akaka Falls isn’t just any old waterfall, though. In the Hawaiian language, its name translates to something along the lines of “crack,” “split,” or “separation.” It’s a whopping 442-foot tall column of rushing, powerful water. That’s twice the height of Niagara Falls! It’s fed by the Kolekole Stream, which consistently keeps water gushing over the edge, unlike many of Hawaii’s other waterfalls that only appear when it rains.

Akaka Falls in Hawaii.
Flickr User Rita Jo
Flickr User Rita Jo

This reliable waterfall keeps people coming from far and wide to see the incredible views. Be sure to listen for the notorious thundering sound of water plummeting downward, and watch for the rainbows that the sun creates as it shines through the misty spray around the waterfall. Excited to see gallons and gallons of cool, refreshing water plummet hundreds of feet downward, framed by vibrant green Hawaii vegetation? We thought so! We’ll tell you how to get there, but first, you should probably know about this other awesome thing you’ll see…

2) It Isn’t Alone, There’s Also Kahuna Falls!

Kahuna Falls in Hawaii.
Flickr User Nick and Krista Foisy
Flickr User Nick and Krista Foisy

At about 100 feet, Kahuna Falls is much smaller than Akaka Falls, but it certainly isn’t less beautiful! Luckily, one short hike will take you past both of these beauties! The Circle Loop Trail is the best way to see both falls; it has a few flights of stairs, but its paved and its under half a mile long. You’ll reach a viewing platform for Kahuna Falls first, then continue on to Akaka Falls. The weather in Hawaii can change very quickly, so be sure you bring a rain jacket along. Bug spray is a great idea, also!

Kahuna Falls in Hawaii.
Flickr User Colonel Max
Flickr User Colonel Max

Along the trail, the loops and turns make sure you get not only distant views of the falls peeking through the leaves but also breathtaking head-on views of them in action as well. Sometimes, you’re able to see the falls more clearly from a distance, because mist and fog can often shroud the area close to them. All of the water rushing over the falls continues along Kolekole Stream, which empties into the ocean in just two and a half more miles.

While you’re there, be sure to learn about the awesome native goby fish that lives in the Kolekole Stream. Before it is even born, this fish floats, like an egg, downstream, over the falls, and out to the ocean where it stays for six months. After hatching, it uses a special suction disc and fins to make its way back upstream and back up the waterfall itself, so that it can lay eggs upstream again. How unbelievably cool is that?!

These two waterfalls are impressive natural wonders that you can’t miss, and the area surrounding them is full of incredible vegetation and wildlife that make Hawaii the ultimate place to visit.

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