Hawaii’s stunning landscape offers challenging trails with views of mountains, waterfalls, beaches, and more. Waipi’o Valley means Valley of the Kings and is the southernmost and biggest of the seven windward valleys of Kohala Mountain.
It’s not only a place of extraordinary beauty; it is also rich in historical significance. The valley cuts deeply into the mountain, with 3000 foot cliffs and majestic waterfalls, and is a perfect destination for experienced hikers who like to get away from it all.
Entering the Lush Waipi’o Valley
Hikers can park their cars at the end of Hwy 240 from Honoka’a, and walk to Waipi’o Valley Lookout. From there, they can make the 800 ft. decent into the lush, tropical valley via the Waipi’o Valley access road.
This road gains 800 vertical feet in a little more than half a mile, and has a 25 percent average grade. Today, only four-wheel-drive vehicles are allowed on the access road for those who want to drive into the valley.
Even with 4WD, the road should be taken slowly, and the reason is evident. Old car wrecks overgrown with vegetation stand as monuments to those less careful.
What You’ll See
At the bottom of the road, hikers enjoy a 10 minute hike to the black sands of Waipi’o Beach. Swimming is allowed at this beach but it is recommended swimmers don’t go into the water above their hips due to strong currents.
Hikers continue on to the right hugging the coastline to reach the Kuluahine falls. From there, hikers can choose to double back to the access road, or cut back to the left along the bottom of the valley where you have the opportunity of seeing wild horses and the 1400 feet-high Hi’ilawe.
In all, this hike is 6.5 miles round trip with a difficulty level of hard.
Hikers should be sure to pack plenty of water or sports drinks to stay hydrated, and don’t forget the camera.
Photo credits: For Aging Freeling