Waiulili Falls

Waipio Valley / Kohala Coast (The Big Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 2
Waiulili Falls
Waiulili Falls is the second of the ocean-bound waterfalls accessible via the sacred Waipi'o Valley (the other being Kaluahine Falls).

While the falls didn't look all that tall from the ground, we were fortunate to see the falls from a helicopter. That was when we realized just how tall this waterfall really was. I don't have the figures of this one, but for sure it seemed to span the entire height of the cliff!

As for hiking towards the falls from Waipi'o Valley, I only became aware of this option after reading about it through the Blue Bible. After undertaking this hike, I have to say that this was an excursion that definitely had its share of risks. Let me get into the hike description and tell you about the risks as they come.

First, I had to descend the steep access road into Waipi'o Valley. As mentioned on the Hi'ilawe Falls page, that was a road you definitely would NOT want to drive in a rental car. Plus, it was not an easy hike on the way back up.

Heading towards the mouth of Waipi'o Valley Once I was down in the valley, I was immediately faced with a junction. Turning right at this junction, the muddy road eventually led to the beach at the mouth of Waipi'o Valley. At that point, the coastal boulder scramble towards the waterfalls began.

Initially, the boulder scramble went a short distance towards what seemed to be a small gully that would normally harbor a stream. However, both times I've been here, this gully was dry. I believe this was supposed to be the Kaluahine Falls, but I wonder if it was merely an ephemeral waterfall that just so happened to be named.

I couldn't believe that this was supposed to be the same waterfall that was in a scene for Kevin Costner's Waterworld (I haven't seen the movie so I can't verify that claim). Apparently the falls were flowing back then, but definitely not these days as far as my experience goes.

After the disappointment of Kaluahine Falls, I continued onwards. At this point, the space between the churning ocean and the vertical cliffs got narrower. So as the slow progress on the loose boulders persisted, I was constantly faced with being plucked by a rogue wave on the makai side and being hit with falling rocks on the mauka side. Indeed, being out here definitely did not feel very safe, and in the back of my mind, I kept thinking I'd much rather be out of here than lingering around to see a waterfall.

In any case, I went far enough to catch an angled view of the Waiulili Falls. I believe this was about 1/4-mile of awkward boulder scrambling beyond the Kaluahine Falls (which itself was a very short distance from the mouth of Waipi'o Valley).

While it appeared that I could've gone closer to the Waiulili Falls, I just didn't feel like pushing my luck given the everpresent hazards that were all around me. So the photos you see on this page were as good a view as I was going to get.

Directions: This waterfall shares the same trailhead as that of Hi'ilawe Falls. So see that page for driving directions to Waipi'o Valley Lookout.

[Back to top]
Waiulili Falls in context
Another look at Waiulili Falls with a crashing wave fronting it
Descending into Waipi'o ValleyDescending into Waipi'o Valley

A rusted sign saying you're proceeding at your own riskA rusted sign saying you're proceeding at your own risk. No kidding!

Looking up at the bare wall of a dry Kaluahine FallsLooking up at the bare wall of a dry Kaluahine Falls

The awkward boulder scramble beyond Kaluahine FallsThe awkward boulder scramble beyond Kaluahine Falls

First glimpse of Waiulili FallsFirst glimpse of Waiulili Falls

Looking back at Waipi'o Bay from far along the scrambleLooking back at Waipi'o Bay from far along the scramble

The full height of Waiulili FallsThe full height of Waiulili Falls as seen from the air

Once again, Kaluahine Falls was dry on a second time down hereOnce again, Kaluahine Falls was dry on a second time down here

Looking back across Waipi'o BayLooking back across Waipi'o Bay

I noticed this tall, thin waterfall which I didn't notice before across Waipi'o BayI noticed this tall, thin waterfall which I didn't notice before across Waipi'o Bay

Back at a familiar view of Waiulili FallsBack at a familiar view of Waiulili Falls

[Back to top]


[Back to top]


View Larger Map

[Back to top]

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

[Back to top]


[Back to top]


Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

Click here to see visitor comments for other waterfalls that we've visited in this region

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

Enter Your Title

[Back to top]

[Go to the Big Island Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the Hawai'i Page]

[Return from Waiulili Falls to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]

FOLLOW US ON:   Facebook   Twitter

Quick Navigation:

If you like this page,
you might also like...

A Big Island Waterfall
Big Island Waterfalls

Hawaii's Top 10
Hawaii's Top 10

Featured Visitor Stories
or Comments

The Tragedy of Sacred Falls
Prior to the Mothers day landslide that killed 8 people and injured 50 others, on Mothers Day of 1999, Sacred Falls State Park was my favorite hike on this Island...[more]

Gigantic Waterfall Hole
Ahoy! On or about June 1975, on an afternoon helicopter ride with Jack Harter, out of the Kauai Surf Hotel, Na'wili'wili, we were flying west of Kapa'a...[more]

Memories of Likeke Falls
I was stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station 1970 to 1972 and frequented the Likeke water falls (Oahu). Back then there was a trail off...[more]

Papalaua Falls
I am extremely familiar with Papalaua Falls. I used to run kayak trips down Koolau Moloka'i and will again someday. I also made two documentaries including the falls...[more]

Wailua Falls, Kauai
I loved Wailua Falls. We hiked to the bottom and swam in the gigantic pool. We got such beautiful pictures of our family. The hike was not well marked and very steep....[more]

Mountain Apples
I was stationed at Schofield Barracks from 1980-1983. I was introduced to Sacred Falls by some locals at my church. My fondest memory was climbing the hillsides on the trail...[more]

Likeke Falls - Easier path
I am a professional photographer and was turned onto this waterfall by a local tour company which took hikers up to Likeke waterfall on a daily basis...[more]