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Hamakua Hotspots

Waipio Valley and Lookout


This lush tropical Valley's striking 2000 foot vertical walls,  magnificent black sand beach, lush Taro fields and 1000 foot waterfalls is a site of unparalleled tropical beauty and is amongst Hawaii's most treasured attractions.  A special retreat for ancient Hawaiian royalty, the Valley was home to a settlement of 1500 Hawaiians when first contacted and is the site of King Kamehameha’s first great naval battles.  


Currently, the Valley is sparsely populated by Taro farmers and homesteaders, largely due to the limited access to the Valley floor which is provided by a steep one lane four-wheel-drive road.  Visitors can access the Valley floor by taking a very steep and difficult 30 minute downhill hike (coming back uptake considerably longer).  The secluded beach and awesome beauty of the Valley make this difficult trek well worthwhile.  Tours of the Valley are also available by horseback and horse-drawn carriage.  Without descending to Valley floor Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the Valley by viewing it from the Waipio Valley Lookout, which offers picnic tables, restrooms, and views that are absolutely breathtaking.  Located along the spectacular Hamakua coast, Waipio Valley is a jewel of East Hawaii. 


The high down into the Valley, while demanding some conditioning, is a challenge well worth facing as it offers spectacular views of the Valley and allows visitors to access the beautiful black sand beach and the many attractions of the Valley floor.  When hikers reach the Valley floor they have the option of turning right and proceeding to the beach, or turning left  and hiking 3 miles along Taro fields and homesteads to view the magnificent Hiilawe falls.  For expert hikers the zigzag trail on the far side of the Valley is the beginning of the awesome 11 mile backpacking trek to majestic and uninhabited Waimanu Valley.


Camping is allowed with a permit along the beach in Waipio Valley on the look-out side of the river.  The area is very popular with locals on weekends so secure your permits early.  Camping is also allowed with a permit in Waimau Valley and at a shelter along the Waimanu trail.  Permits can be obtained at the state Department of forestry in Hilo or online.

Horseback riding

Horseback rides are available in the  Valley  and they offer a great way to view the scenic wonders of the Valley, at a relaxed pace, with the benefit of a knowledgeable local guide.  Horse-drawn wagon tours are also available and are very popular with visitors.

waipio valley    waipio valley and girl

waipio valley with surf

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