Big Island Helicopter Waterfalls

Windward Mauna Kea and Kohala Mountains (The Big Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
A pair of ocean-facing waterfalls side by side

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

While I've featured several Big Island Waterfalls on this website, there are still countless more.

The vast majority of these waterfalls are concentrated on the windward sides of both the Kohala Mountains as well as Mauna Kea. Most of these are either inaccessible or private. Thus, I created this page to showcase the waterfalls seen on our lone successful helicopter tour.

One thing I want to mention on this page is Kapoloa Falls. This was the same waterfall that Samantha Brown featured on her show, which Julie and I chanced upon while channel surfing one day. Unfortunately, the Kona Earthquake of October 2006 caused extensive damage to the Kohala Ditch Trail deep into Pololu Valley thereby rendering this waterfall inaccessible to the general public as guided tours (which were required because the trail passed through private land) were no longer offered.

So the only way to see this waterfall would be by helicopter, and that's why I decided to say something about it on this page. In our particular 2008 tour, I had asked our pilot if he was willing to fly into the back of Pololu Valley to see this falls (which he verbally said yes), but as the tour went on, he ended up forgetting about it so we were never able to photograph the falls.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Snow atop what I think is Mauna Loa
Entering Waimanu Valley - one of seven valleys of the Kohala Mountains.  Yes, there are waterfalls in there.
A large volcanic crater.  Chopper tours on this island mostly focus on the volcanoes, and apparently only specialized tours also feature waterfalls.A large volcanic crater. Chopper tours on this island mostly focus on the volcanoes, and apparently only specialized tours also feature waterfalls.
An active vent whose scale and context can only be appreciated from the air
A large volcanic crater.  Chopper tours on the Big Island mostly focus on the volcanoes or volcanic features like this, but apparently only specialized tours would feature waterfallsA large volcanic crater. Chopper tours on the Big Island mostly focus on the volcanoes or volcanic features like this, but apparently only specialized tours would feature waterfalls

Hard to tell which waterfall is which from up hereHard to tell which waterfall is which from up here

This looks like Wai'ale FallsThis looks like Wai'ale Falls

A pair of obscure waterfalls somewhere upstream of HiloA pair of obscure waterfalls somewhere upstream of Hilo

This looks like Kulaniapia FallsThis looks like Kulaniapia Falls

Some set of waterfalls on the Hamakua Coast

Another gulch

Another falls

Another series of waterfalls

Still more waterfalls. As you can see, there are numerous waterfalls in the gulches on Mauna Kea's windward slopes

This looks like Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls

Kahuna Falls

Akaka Falls

This series of falls might be on the Umauma Stream, but I'm not sure

Another waterfall that looks to be within reach of someone's ranch or farm

An ocean-facing waterfallAn ocean-facing waterfall. This one was close to Waipi'o Valley.

Another ocean-facing waterfallAnother ocean-facing waterfall

Looking back towards the Hamakua CoastLooking back towards the Hamakua Coast

Approaching a waterfall in Waimanu ValleyApproaching a waterfall in Waimanu Valley

A tall waterfall in Waimanu ValleyA tall waterfall in Waimanu Valley

Different angle of that tall waterfall in Waimanu ValleyDifferent angle of that tall waterfall in Waimanu Valley

Another Waimanu Valley WaterfallAnother Waimanu Valley Waterfall

When we were done seeing waterfalls, we noticed this WWII wreckageWhen we were done seeing waterfalls, we noticed this WWII wreckage


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We've made numerous attempts at doing a chopper ride on the Big Island, but we were only successful once. So we can appreciate how much weather really affects this kind of tour.

Helicopter tour companies are more spread out on this island than on the other islands. We know that there are a couple near Waikoloa (I recalled Blue Hawaiian had one helipad there while Tropical had one near a resort in Waikoloa) as well as more near the Kona Airport.

There are more tour companies leaving from Hilo, which would be the preferred base since choppers wouldn't have to fly as far to visit both the lava and the Kohala Mountains.

I know I'm being a bit vague here as the directions alone to each of the tour companies would be a huge undertaking. So I'll just punt you over to the chopper companies of your choice as they'll provide you with directions when you book.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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