Discover Akaka Falls State Park, Hawaii

Have you ever wanted to explore a tropical paradise that feels like it’s straight out of a dream?

Let’s take a peek into the lush world of Akaka Falls State Park. Located on the northeastern Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, this park offers a breathtaking escape into nature’s wonderland.

Just a short drive from Hilo, you’ll find yourself amidst a verdant rainforest, home to the stunning Akaka and Kahuna Falls. Picture this: you’re wandering through a jungle of bamboo, wild orchids, and towering ferns, with the soothing sound of water cascading in the background.

Akaka Falls State Park spans 65 acres of tropical beauty, drawing thousands of adventure-seekers and nature lovers each year. Easily accessible from Highway 220, the park features a well-maintained loop trail that takes you on a 0.4-mile uphill hike, perfect for friends and family looking to immerse themselves in the island’s natural splendor.

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Top 3 Facts about Akaka Falls State Park

01

Stunning Waterfalls

Akaka Falls State Park is famous for its two main waterfalls, Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. Akaka Falls plunges 442 feet (135 meters) into a gorge, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii, while Kahuna Falls drops 100 feet (30 meters).

02

Tropical Rainforest

The park is located on the lush Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, with a dense tropical rainforest. Visitors can explore trails surrounded by verdant foliage, colorful flowers, and diverse plant life.

03

Protected Environment

Akaka Falls State Park spans approximately 65.4 acres (26.5 hectares) and is part of the Hawaii State Parks system. It was established to preserve the park’s natural beauty, including its waterfalls, rainforest, and native flora and fauna.

Where to Sleep

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Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Akaka Falls State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park is a gem on the Hilo Coast of the Big Island, and your journey to the falls will take you through some of Hawaii’s most scenic routes.

If you’re driving, your main approach will be via Hawaii Belt Road (Highway 19), which loops around the island. From Hilo, it’s a short drive:

  1. Head north on Highway 19.
  2. Turn left onto Highway 220, also known as Akaka Falls Road.
  3. Follow Highway 220 for approximately 3.6 miles southwest of Honomu to the end of Akaka Falls Road, where you’ll find the park entrance.

Places to Stay Near Akaka Falls State Park

While Akaka Falls State Park itself doesn’t offer accommodations, there are several options for places to stay nearby. Here are five types of accommodations you can find in the vicinity of Akaka Falls State Park:

  1. Hilo: Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island, located approximately 11 miles (18 kilometers) south of Akaka Falls State Park. In Hilo, you’ll find various accommodation options, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.
  2. Vacation Rentals: There are numerous vacation rental properties scattered throughout the surrounding area, including cottages, cabins, and houses. Renting a vacation home can provide a more secluded and immersive experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the lush surroundings.
  3. Camping: For those who prefer a more adventurous experience, camping options are available near Akaka Falls State Park. Nearby campgrounds, such as Kulanaokuaiki Campground in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, offer tent camping facilities amidst scenic surroundings.
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Best Time to Go to Akaka Falls State Park

Summer

Summer

Summer is the peak tourist season for Akaka Falls State Park. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, perfect for exploring the park’s trails and enjoying picnics amidst the lush surroundings. However, preparing for larger crowds and busier parking lots is important, especially during weekends and holidays. Despite the increased visitor numbers, summer offers the chance to witness the waterfalls at their fullest, as rainfall is typically higher during this season, resulting in more dramatic cascades.

Winter

Winter

Winter is the wettest season in Hawaii, including Akaka Falls State Park. While the rainfall can make trails slippery and muddy, it also contributes to the lushness of the rainforest and the impressive flow of the waterfalls. Winter is a great time to experience the park’s dramatic scenery, with mist rising from the cascading waterfalls and the sound of rushing water echoing through the forest. Just be sure to bring appropriate rain gear and footwear to navigate the wet conditions effectively.

Spring

Spring

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Akaka Falls State Park. During this season, the rainforest surrounding the park comes alive with vibrant colors as native flowers bloom, and the foliage is lush and verdant. The weather is usually mild, with comfortable temperatures and less rainfall compared to the wetter winter months. Spring is an ideal time for hiking the park’s trails and enjoying the stunning views of Akaka and Kahuna Falls without the crowds that can sometimes accompany the peak summer months.

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Fall

Must-See Attractions

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Akaka Falls

The park’s namesake attraction, Akaka Falls, is a stunning 442-foot (135-meter) waterfall plunging into a gorge below. Viewing platforms along the trail offer spectacular vistas of the falls, allowing visitors to appreciate its sheer height and the power of the cascading water.

Kahuna Falls

Another impressive waterfall within the park is Kahuna Falls, which drops 100 feet (30 meters) into a lush ravine. While not as tall as Akaka Falls, Kahuna Falls offers its own unique beauty and can be seen along the park’s loop trail.

Pele’s Chair

Located near the park’s entrance, Pele’s Chair is a unique rock formation that resembles a chair and is said to be associated with the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. While not as famous as the waterfalls, it’s worth a short detour to see this intriguing natural feature.

Helpful Tips: Making The Most of Your Adventure to Akaka Falls State Park

Plan Ahead

Arrive Early or Late

To avoid crowds and have a more peaceful experience, consider visiting the park early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The park tends to be busiest during the middle of the day, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

The trails within the park can be uneven and sometimes muddy, so wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes with good traction is essential. Sneakers or hiking boots are ideal for navigating the terrain comfortably and safely.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Keep a respectful distance from wildlife and refrain from feeding or approaching animals. Remember that you are a guest in their habitat, and your actions can impact their well-being.

Stay Informed

Stay on Designated Trails

To protect the fragile ecosystem and ensure your safety, staying on the designated trails while hiking in the park is crucial. Venturing off-trail can damage vegetation and pose risks such as slips and falls.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls plunges 442 feet (135 meters) into a gorge below, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii.

No, swimming is prohibited at Akaka Falls or other waterfalls within the park. The terrain around the falls is rugged, and the water can be dangerous due to strong currents and submerged rocks.

The main loop trail in the park is approximately 0.4 miles (0.6 kilometers) long and takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete, depending on your pace and how much time you spend at the viewpoints.

While the park does not have specific wheelchair-accessible trails, the main loop trail is relatively flat and well-maintained, making it accessible for strollers and wheelchairs with assistance.

The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds and have a more tranquil experience.

Yes, there is a nominal entrance fee to access the park. As of my last update, the fee was $5 per vehicle for non-residents, while Hawaii residents may have reduced or waived fees with proper identification.

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