Rainbow Falls is the first waterfall of 2013! The Big Island of Hawaii is a study in contrasts. Part of the island is very dry, and there’s no real use hunting for waterfalls. The eastern part of the island has a number of waterfalls. Some of the waterfalls are not that easy to visit, as part of the gorges and canyons are fairly steep and inaccessible. In other cases, the waterfalls are just off the road, but there aren’t easy places to pull off. On the other hand, a few major waterfalls on the island are extremely easy to visit. Those seven or eight end up being main attractions.
Rainbow Falls is probably one of the most visited, along with ‘Akaka Falls. Within the city limits of Hilo, the drive to the falls is relatively short (if you’re already in Hilo). You may be able to find a tour company that will take you to the falls. Even though Hilo doesn’t have many super-fancy hotels, I would still suggest staying in the city, as there is a significant amount of interesting stuff nearby.
At about 80’ tall, the falls are pretty impressive. The ease of access is really what makes them worthwhile. There is also no cost to visit them, and there are two other waterfalls further upstream. If you have the chance to visit the Big Island, definitely make sure to visit Rainbow Falls.
1) The main road, Highway 11, “starts” in Hilo (though it encircles most of the island). At mile marker 0, you begin heading west and then northwest for a ways. Stay on the main road, which will also be called Mamalahoa Highway.
2) After just a few miles or less, you will come to the junction of Highway 200 on your left. Turn left onto Highway 200, also known as Waianuenue Avenue.
3) Follow the signs to Rainbow Falls. At one point, you will veer somewhat quickly to the right, continuing on Waianuenue Avenue. The parking lot is not difficult to find. The falls are right there!
Accessibility: 10/10 (I believe even handicapped accessible)
Where in the World is Rainbow Falls?: map