Mesmerizing Beauty Unveiled: Exploring Akaka Falls, a Natural Wonder to explore and capture in photographs (upated 2023)
Akaka Falls is not only one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Big Island to visit but you actually get to walk through a gorgeous botanical garden and a second waterfall at Kahuna Falls on the far side of the park. Both waterfalls make up the Akaka Falls State Park located on the Hamakua Coast close to the town of Honomu and is an easy detour from driving the Hamakua coastline on the Big Island.
Why visit Akaka Falls
One of the most popular state park and falls to visit on the Hamakua Falls, the park is a beautiful botanical garden with two gorgeous waterfalls to see and explore. The paved loop trail around the park and past gorgeous and lush tropical plants of heliconia, ginger, bamboo, ti and other exotics is fun to walk around and photograph. Akaka falls is a popular tourist attraction so do get there early or later in the afternoon when most of the tourist crowds have left.
Details to the waterfalls
Akaka falls drops 422 feet to the base of the valley and is a majestic waterfall to see in person, Akaka in Hawaiian is translated to “split, separation, or crack”.
There is a beautiful loop trail that takes your through a botanical garden setting and viewing observation areas for both waterfalls and takes 30 minutes or longer depending on how places you stop along the way.
You’ll pass through lush rainforest plants of gingers, wild orchids, heliconia, Ti and giant bamboo in a grove you walk down to and a bridge area around the grove and climb back up to the another viewing platform to Kahuna falls. Kahuna Falls is further downhill from Akaka falls and drops around 300 feet and cascading to the valley floor below. The falls are mostly hidden from a dense canopy of trees and jungle that hides the entire length of the waterfall.
Where is Akaka Falls located in the Big Island
Akaka Falls is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, specifically within the Akaka Falls State Park. It is situated along the northeastern Hamakua Coast, near the town of Honomu and approximately 11 miles (about 17.7 kilometers) north of Hilo.
This breathtaking waterfall is easily accessible from Hilo and is a popular destination for visitors looking to witness the natural beauty of Hawaii.
Directions to Akaka Falls
From Hilo, Akaka falls is 11 miles north of Hilo town on Hwy 19 between mile marker 13 and 14. Turn left to Hwy 220 into Honomu town and follow the signs up to the waterfalls parking lot.
From Honomu town, travel up Hwy 220 3.6 miles to the park entrance.
Entrance fees to the park
Entrance is $1 per person or $5 per car total to enter the park and paid in the machine at the park entrance. Hawaii residents can enter the park for free with identification.
For more information on visiting the Akaka Falls State Park, check the main website here for more details and updated information.
Here’s Akaka Falls after a lot of rain falling on the Big Island
Visit beautiful Akaka Falls in the Hamakua coast of the Big Island
Walking through the lush gardens and bamboo grove around the park
Take a look at this video for a quick tour of Akaka falls and the botanical gardens.
Typical weather and best time to visit Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, enjoys a pleasant tropical climate year-round. The weather at Akaka Falls is characterized by warm temperatures, moderate humidity, and the occasional rainfall, which contributes to the lush and verdant surroundings. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and the best time to visit:
Summer (June to August): During the summer months, Akaka Falls experiences warm and drier weather. Temperatures range from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to high 20s Celsius), making it an ideal time to visit if you prefer warmer weather and want to avoid heavier rainfall. It’s a popular time for tourists, so expect larger crowds.
Fall (September to November): Fall brings slightly cooler temperatures and a transition towards the wetter season. You can still expect plenty of sunshine and pleasant weather, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to upper 70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to low 30s Celsius). This is a great time to visit to enjoy the natural beauty and potentially smaller crowds.
Winter (December to February): Winter in Akaka Falls is characterized by mild temperatures, ranging from the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (high teens to low 20s Celsius). It is the wetter season, so be prepared for occasional rain showers. Despite the rainfall, the falls are particularly impressive during this time, and you may encounter fewer visitors
Spring (March to May): Springtime brings gradually warmer temperatures and a transition towards the drier season. Temperatures range from the low to mid-70s Fahrenheit (low to mid-20s Celsius). The weather is generally pleasant, and the lush greenery surrounding the falls is especially vibrant during this time. Spring is a good time to visit before the peak summer crowds arrive.
It’s important to note that Akaka Falls is located in a rainforest area, so quick and unexpected showers can occur throughout the year. It’s advisable to bring rain gear and be prepared for changing weather conditions. The falls are open year-round, and visiting during weekdays or early in the morning can help you avoid larger crowds.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Akaka Falls, it’s recommended to visit during daylight hours when the area is well-illuminated. The park opens at 8:30 AM and closes at 6:00 PM, giving you ample time to explore and enjoy the magnificent views of the waterfall and the surrounding lush landscape.
Other attractions to see close to Akaka Falls
Honomu town just outside of the park is a sweet little village with wooden storefronts of art galleries, boutique stores and mom and pop eateries to drop by and explore while your in the area
Onomea Scenic Drive is a 4 mile historic road that used to be the old highway from Hilo to Waimea on a beautiful road with one lane bridges and gorgeous views of Onomea bay. There is a trail that you can take downhill to view the bay and some sweet waterfalls in the area.
Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden – an elaborate tropical botanical garden that showcases a variety of different genres of tropical plants, flowers and trees in this lush garden setting.
Honoka’a town is further down and is the gateway to the magnificent Wapio Valley, you can enjoy the western vibe, boutiques and art galleries and some fantastic eating on the main drag in Honoka’a town.
Hilo town – visit the highlights and attractions around the Hilo area and Hamakua Coast
Kalopa State park – a lush native forest with giant trees and beautiful hikes to explore around this natural park setting
Lapahoehoe Point – a scenic area on the Hamakua with rugged cliffs, gorgeous coastline views and a historic market to a tragic tsunami event here.
Details and tips to visiting Akaka Falls State Park
There is a separate parking fee and also fee per person visiting the park grounds
Make sure to bring mosquito repellent since this is a lush garden setting and very moist surroundings
Parking is limited but you can find street parking outside of the parking area
This is mostly a self tour site with some signage of what you can see along the way.
The small town of Honomu is worth a stop to check out the shops, eateries and art galleries.
Remember to be prepared for occasional rain showers, but don’t let that deter you from immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the falls.
If you are looking for spectacular waterfalls to visit on the Big Island then Akaka Falls on the Hamakua falls is worth the visit. You can also explore a magnificent botanical garden on your hike around the falls area.
Conclusion on Akaka Falls
A visit to Akaka Falls is a mesmerizing journey into the heart of Hawaii’s natural beauty. With its breathtaking waterfall, lush surroundings, and tropical climate, Akaka Falls offers a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Whether you explore during the drier summer months, witness the falls in their full splendor during the rainy winter season, or opt for the pleasant temperatures of spring or fall, each time of year has its own unique charm.
As you stand before the cascading water, surrounded by vibrant greenery, you’ll be reminded of the incredible power and serenity of nature. Capture the moment, take in the sights and sounds, and create lasting memories of your visit to Akaka Falls, an enchanting natural wonder that showcases the true essence of Hawaii’s lush and diverse landscape.
For Hamakua side fun, you’ll love explore all fun activities and attractions around the North side of the island to include Onomea, Honokaa and Waimea areas. Hope this gives you some great ideas of things to do and see around the town and outlying areas to visit.
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