Probably one of the coolest and not so well known Big Island hikes is going to Narnia (a collective spot on the Wailuku River and Hookelekele Stream where the major waterfalls of Lauiole Falls, Pukamaui Falls and Kauwehu Falls along with some smaller falls enter into one area). Located on the east side of the island just above Hilo and the Boiling pots park, the hike to Narnia is spectacular with 7 waterfalls converging into one scenic and panoramic lookout point to the various falls and pools below.
Hiking to Narnia above Hilo
Starting your hike to Narnia in East Hawaii
The hike is not so well marked and not noted of Big Island hikes and the broad name of Narnia has no historic references to the area. But that isn’t necessary since the hike experience makes this all worthwhile and is a relatively easy spot to get to above Hilo. (Take extreme caution when visiting the lookout point area, swimming conditions are always changing and not advisable if you are not familiar with changes in weather patterns and conditions on the island).
How to find the starting point to the Narnia hike
There are no trail markers and the small parking area is located about a mile down from the Boiling pots parking lot. If you go further uphill from Boiling pots on the main road, Wainuenue Avenue, you’ll find some parking spots on the left side of the road (don’t pass the bridge passing through the Wailuku river or you’ve passed the parking area). There is a fire road that heads uphill on a slight grade you will follow to the end of that block.
From the parking area, head uphill on the fire road to the end and a the T is a small trail on the right side that goes uphill. Go take that small trail which will eventually merge into another fire road and you go left and you continue uphill on the fire road.
** you can also take a 2nd route from the parking area and go down Wainuenue road through this neighborhood and when you see the first small paved road (on the left side) going uphill through this neighborhood which eventually becomes a fire road heading up through the area and to Narnia.
Continue about a mile uphill on the fire road which has a slight slope but is relatively easy to do. Once you approach a very large catchment water tank on the left side, you will see a trail on the right side going through some tall trees. Head right in that direction all the way to the end and you will eventually get to the main vantage point at Narnia.
Turn right at the large cement water tank to the observation area
From the right turn, you are walking through forested area for a short distance and you will see a clearing where the first waterfalls come into view.
From here, you can walk the shorter trails for different viewpoints of the waterfalls and reservoir. There are some access to the water for swimming in the reservoir (please do not go into the water on rainy days when the water flow is rushing and unpredictable – it is very dangerious. Also, there are rangers that are patroling regularly and now ticketing visitors that actually are swimming in the various ponds).
More views of the Narnia pools
Beautiful ferns and fern grottos are everywhere along the waterfalls and shady areas.
A Fun Video Highlight to Narnia
Extended hike from Narnia
If you want to extend your hike, you can also hike to the main dam and reservoir which is another 3 mile uphill walk on same the fire road. You will eventually see the river and dam area and reservoir. If the water is calm, you definitely can get in below the dam area for swimming (swim again at your own risk). Or you can walk across the dam and follow a small trail to where the canyon areas of the Wainuenue river pass through which is quite spectacular to explore.
Returning back to parking area
The hike back is easy and you will get nice views back into Hilo area. You can actually take the fire road directly down to Wainuenue and turn right to walk back to the small parking area.
More Beach time fun in Hilo?
If the weather is good and you want to be outdoors, why not take a drive to Hilo town and the beaches on the south side and check out the gorgeous string of beaches along the way starting with the sweet family friendly beach at Coconut Island. Further down the road is Carlsmith beach park with gorgeous clear aquamarine pools and lagoons that are unlike any of the beaches on the Big Island. At the end of the beaches is the beautiful Richardson Ocean Beach which is an interesting combination of black and green sand beach worth checking out and maybe so some snorkeling fun in this protected bay.
Conclusion to Narnia Hiking
Hiking and visiting Narnia is fun to do above the Hilo area. Swimming in the reservoir or pool areas is dangerous during rainy season and when water is rising or rapidly flowing so take precaution or avoid going into the water overall and just enjoy the views and taking pictures without any risks taken.
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More details visiting other areas in Hawaii
Explore the Puna district and attractions
Hike around the Akaka Falls State Park
Have you been to Narnia?
What was your experience like, any comments or tips you can share in the comments below?
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