Pe’epe’e Falls, Hawaii

On the Wailuku River, there are a number of impressive waterfalls. Rainbow Falls is definitely the most popular on the river, and you’ll see many other people there. If you continue driving along the road that runs adjacent to the river, you’ll arrive at two other waterfalls. Wai’ale Falls is easy to view, and is also pretty impressive.

Pe’epe’e Falls is an impressive waterfall, but you can only see it from a distance. There is a designated area for a geological feature known as the Boiling Pots, which I didn’t find to be particularly interesting. And from this viewing area, you can also get a glimpse of Pe’epe’e Falls. Now, there are signs that clearly indicate that you should not go beyond the fence because it’s dangerous. And I decided to heed the warnings on those signs, and I am suggesting that you follow those signs too. I would never want to hear that somebody got hurt while deciding to do something possibly dangerous because a website indicated it might be ok. So you might be able to get a better view, but realize it can start raining at any time, and it can rain intensely, and the river conditions can change dramatically. So while it looks ok now, it might not be 15 minutes from now. Use common sense, people!

Directions:

  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.  After stopping there, continue along Waianuenue Avenue. You’ll pass by a hospital along the way, and then enter a residential area.
  4. You’ll come to Pe’epe’e Falls Road, and turn right onto this road. This will lead directly into the parking area to view the Boiling Pots and the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (Don’t go over the fence!)
Height: 50′
Length of Hike: negligible

Pe’epe’e Falls in March 2013

Where in the World is Pe’epe’e Falls?

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Kolekole Falls, Hawaii

It’s unlikely that you’ll find anybody that is solely trying to find Kolekole Falls.  It’s not particularly tall or wide, or extremely amazing.  Unless you cross the creek, which was flowing very well, you will be viewing the falls from the other side.  So why did I end up at Kolekole Falls?

Well, obviously it was a waterfall.  But the better reason is that it is not that far from the much larger ‘Akaka Falls.  It’s only about a mile further down the main road.  I was impressed with the park.  The waterfall was nice, but it was also very cool to see the bridge far above that crosses this gulch.  And as an even further bonus, you are only a few hundred feet from the ocean.  This particular park was very quiet when we visited, with only one other pair of people.  You’ll likely have most of the beach view to yourself.  It’s really worth it if you’re in the vicinity.

Directions:

  1. From Hilo, head north on HI-19.
  2. After a few miles, you will see a sign for HI-220.  This will lead to ‘Akaka Falls.  Pass HI-220.
  3. Shortly (maybe a mile or so) after passing the turn for HI-220, you will see another sign for Kolekole Beach Park.  The road to the park will be on your left if you’re coming from Hilo. (If you pass this road, you will cross the bridge over the river.)
  4. Turn left, and then proceed cautiously down the very narrow road.
  5. It’s not a very long drive, but at the halfway point, you will turn sharply right.  Slow down before attempting this!  Don’t continue straight/left, as it seems to be an older bridge.
  6. At the parking area, you should see the bridge above, the beach, and the waterfall.  It’s a spectacular combo.

Accessibility: 10/10
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: negligible

Kolekole Falls in March 2013

Where in the World is Kolekole Falls?

Rainbow Falls, Hawaii

Rainbow Falls in 2013

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.

Directions:

  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)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: not applicable

Where in the World is Rainbow Falls?