"Hanapueo Falls" and "Lower Umauma Falls"

Hamakua Coast, Hawaii, USA

About “Hanapueo Falls” and “Lower Umauma Falls”

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2007-03-10
Date last visited: 2008-02-23

Waterfall Latitude: 19.90645
Waterfall Longitude: -155.13628

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Both the “Hanapueo Falls” and the “Lower Umauma Falls” (informal names I’m giving them after their respective stream names according to our Topo map) are visible from a bridge along Highway 19.

These falls basically got our attention as we were zooming along the highway and rubbernecked towards the gulch as we crossed over the road bridge crossing high above the gorge.

Hwy_19_024_03092007 - Hanapueo Falls and Lower Umauma Falls seen together from Hwy 19
Hanapueo Falls and Lower Umauma Falls seen together from Hwy 19

I can only imagine how many more motorists miss these falls just zooming along unaware of the scene here.

To further add spice to the scene here, we were even able to see Mauna Kea behind these falls on a clear day!

As for trying to get a closer look, we looked around from the large pullout on the south side of the bridge.

However, we weren’t successful finding a way to get closer to either of the falls.

That doesn’t mean such paths don’t exist.

Umauma_Stream_012_02232008 - Looking above the Lower Umauma Falls towards the summit of Mauna Kea
Looking above the Lower Umauma Falls towards the summit of Mauna Kea

It’s just that we couldn’t figure them out (assuming they exist).


As far as I know, the Hanapueo Falls and “Lower Umauma Falls” are not administered by any official authority. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) website.

Hwy_19_014_03092007 - Focused on just the Lower Umauma Falls
Hwy_19_020_03092007 - Closer look at Hanapueo Falls in long exposure

To see the pair of waterfalls from the Hwy 19 bridge over Umauma Stream (while appear to lie outside the garden boundaries), look for the first Hwy 19 bridge north of the 16-mile post. This bridge is over 15 miles (under 30 minutes drive) north of the Hilo Airport in Hilo.

As you’re heading north, use the pullout on the left (mauka) side of Hwy 19 just before the bridge. Once you leave the car, you’ll have to walk along the bridge (fortunately the walkway is wide enough that you don’t have to worry too much about becoming roadkill) until you’re satisfied with the view.

To give you some geographical context, Hilo was 79 miles (under 2 hours drive) east of Kailua-Kona via the Saddle Road. Otherwise, taking the more conventional route along Hwy 19 through Waikoloa, Waikoloa Village, and Waimea, this drive would be 96 miles long taking over 2 hours.

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Tagged with: hanapueo, umauma, hamakua, hilo, big island, hawaii, waterfall

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

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Lower Umauma Falls February 25, 2013 6:50 pm by Jose Luis Sanchez Esteban - The best close-up of these Falls I could get. ...Read More
Lower Hanapueo Falls should be your title October 10, 2011 4:33 pm by Mark Robinson - Your site references Hanapueo Falls, although there is one falls that is only seen from the World Botanical Gardens in a serene river trail that leads to this private and intimate smaller falls that is upper Hanapueo Falls. The falls shown on your site presently is lower Hanapueo Falls which is only viewable from the… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.