Big Island - Waterfalls at Wailuku River State Park


What? : Series of impressive waterfalls viewing points, 5 minutes’ drive from downtown Hilo. This is probably a 5 minute, must stop attraction, if you are visiting or just passing through the city of Hilo.


Where? : Short drive west of downtown Hilo on Waianuenue Avenue.

Google Map Link


Due note 1: There are no lifeguards on duty and neither area is safe for swimming.


Due note 2: There are restrooms and drinking water fountain at the parking lots (no fee).


My thoughts: this is a fun short stop at your day trip, with 30 visit you can cover all 3 locations and enjoy the impressive waterfalls view.


Link to other Big Islands Blog posts:


The visit:

My visit recommendation on this location will include 3 different places that have viewing points on the Wailuku River and its waterfalls.

Except walking to the viewing points and enjoy the view of the river and waterfalls there isn’t a lot more to do in each location, visiting all 3 locations can take no longer than 30 min.


Wailuku River is the longest river in Hawai'i (both the state and the island) and its course lies mostly along the divide between the lava flows of Mauna Kea and those of Mauna Loa.


Swimming or getting into the river below is forbidden, not recommended and can be very dangerous. I do not know if that is correct but read that Wailuku River accounts for 25% of the river drowning deaths in the state.



The first one is the Rainbow Falls (exact location): easily accessible waterfall viewing platform, just near the large parking lot. This 80-foot waterfall is impressive!

We visited here at a major rain event and the waterfall was rushing with the muddy brown water and high flow. It was a cloudy rainy day so no rainbow.


The second location is the Boiling Pots section of the river (exact location): Here the river cutting through the basalt rock in a series of terraced pools. The cascading water stream creating big pools that are being fed with underground flow casing the water to “bubble” as if they were boiling.


The third attraction point Wailuku River Waterfalls (exact location): Drive further upland on Waianuenue Avenue along the Wailuku River and you’ll cross a bridge. Park your car just after the bridge and walk back to enjoy the view of the rushing water below and the impressive Peepee Falls (or LK falls).




More Pictures: