There’s a reason why people visit Hawaii from all over the world. Not only is there amazing activities and attractions, but there are also stunning natural wonders. Keep scrolling to find out the prettiest Hawaii waterfalls you’ll definitely want to check out!
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I remember my first trip to Hawaii. I was 10 years old and my family was visiting my grandma on Kauai. She took us to Wailua Falls and I was in awe of how many gallons of water were cascading down the mountain.
That trip, we saw so many of Kauai’s gorgeous waterfalls and those first impressions have always stayed with me.
Each island is packed with majestic waterfalls in Hawaii and they are always worth a look. Whether you want to pull over from the highway to see a waterfall from a scenic lookout or want to go hiking to see a secret Hawaii waterfalls, the possibilities are endless!
I’ve asked some of my travel blogger friends to share their top picks for pretty Hawaii waterfalls that everyone should add to their Hawaii itinerary!
Let’s dive in!
Hawaiian Waterfalls FAQs
Hawaii has more than 100 waterfalls throughout the islands. Some are famous and are easy to get to while others are hidden away and only accessible by hiking or taking a helicopter ride.
Located on Molokai, Olo’upena Falls is Hawaii’s tallest waterfall. It plummets almost 3,000 feet and it’s seriously stunning.
Sometimes. Many waterfalls are totally safe to swim in the base, but it’s illegal to swim at some waterfalls in Hawaii. It’s important to check before you go or keep a lookout for signs.
Top 7 Best Hawaii Waterfalls to Visit
Prettiest Hawaii Waterfalls on Oahu
If you are looking for a hike to add to your Oahu itinerary that lets you walk directly to the base of a waterfall, Lulumahu Falls is one of the best and most memorable hikes on the island.
The trailhead is right off the Pali Highway, although it can be hard to find because it is unmarked.
The beginning of the hike is fairly easy and takes you through a beautiful bamboo forest. It becomes moderately more challenging the deeper into the jungle you get. You will want to wear a good pair of hiking shoes and plan to get muddy.
The hike to the waterfall takes roughly 2 hours and zig zags back and forth across the Lulumahu Stream.
As with the trailhead, the trail itself is not well marked, making it easy to get lost along the way. Make sure to download a trail map app on your phone to keep you on the right path.
Getting lost can be part of the adventure though, as there are multiple paths to follow to the waterfall, all created by other hikers who went off the original trail, as well.
Like most jungle hikes, mosquitoes can be an issue while hiking to Lulumahu Falls, so you’ll want to spray yourself down with bug spray before beginning your hike.
The hike can be exhausting because you’ll have to scramble over boulders or downed trees and hop across rocks in the river, but standing beneath the 50 foot waterfall at the end is well worth the challenge!
Melissa Smuzynski of Parenthood and Passports
Waimea Valley is a gorgeous park and botanical garden on Oahu’s North Shore that is home to Waimea Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls in Hawaii.
Waimea Falls can be reached by taking a leisurely, one mile hike through the Waimea Valley Park. The gorgeous views along this walk makes the Waimea Valley Trail one of the best hikes in Oahu.
Along the way, you can admire the beautiful flora and fauna before arriving at the park’s centerpiece: the waterfall.
One of the best parts about visiting Waimea Falls is that you can take a refreshing swim in the pool surrounding the fall!
Life jackets are required to swim (they’re included with your ticket to the park) and water shoes are highly recommended as the pathway to enter the pool is rocky and slippery.
Make sure to bring a towel along if you plan on swimming!
Admission to Waimea Valley is just $12 for adults (note: the park is currently offering a discounted rate of $8 for adults).
If you’d prefer not to go on the hike, no worries – you can still visit the falls! There is a shuttle bus option for just $14 round-trip – you can also buy one-way tickets.
The park is also home to other attractions including a North Shore luau, which can be visited for an extra cost.
Sydney Richardson of A World in Reach
Love to hike? Check out these amazing Oahu waterfall hikes!
Prettiest Hawaii Waterfalls on Kauai
There are plenty of awesome outdoor activities and attractions in Kauai– Hawaii’s “Nature Island”– to keep adventure lovers busy for weeks.
Located near the town of Lihue and the Smith Plantation (whose nightly luau is another one of our favorite tourist attractions in Kauai), Wailua Falls were prominently featured in the opening credits of the hit TV series Fantasy Island in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Uluwehi Falls in Kauai are otherwise known as the “secret falls” and are found deep in the rainforest of the Wailua River area of Kauai.
Getting to Uluwehi Falls is an adventure in itself with the only way there being by kayak and hiking.
The area is part of sacred lands in Kauai so it is recommended to join one of the Wailua River kayaking tours who will provide you all the kayaking gear and an interesting tour as part of the experience.
A guide is also handy to understand the weather and current conditions as the river on the return paddle can be quite challenging on some days.
The journey starts with a gentle and scenic paddle for approximately 45 minutes to take you from the mouth of the Wailua River to the start of a hidden walking trail.
The hiking trail is relatively flat and easy but can be quite slippery so make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear.
You will snake your way along the river bank and then cross at one point holding onto a rope guide to get through the soft rapids – all part of the fun!
After a 20-minute hike where an experienced guide will be able to show you the historic ruins of past civilizations along the way you reach Uluwehi Falls.
Uluwehi is a gorgeous high falling waterfall plummeting into a perfect swimming hole. This is a fun, kid-friendly Kauai adventure!
It’s a great spot to take a dip and feel the spray of the falls plummeting down on you before you make your return journey home.
For this fantastic half day adventure all you need to pack are some swimmers, sunscreen, snacks and some sturdy walking shoes.
Karen Buffier from Big Adventures for Little Feet
Find out all the best waterfalls on Kauai!
Prettiest Hawaii Waterfalls on Maui
Hawaii is known for its waterfalls but one of the prettiest waterfalls can be found on the island of Maui inside the Kipahulu entrance of Haleakala National Park.
Prettiest Hawaii Waterfalls on the Big Island
Akaka Falls State Park is approximately 11 miles north of Hilo in the Hamakua Coast area of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Located at the end of Akaka Falls Road (Highway 220), this lush section of rainforest includes one of the most recognizable waterfalls in all of Hawaii, Akaka Falls.
The magnificent 422-foot-tall falls can be viewed from several points along the .4-mile loop trail. The short hike is suitable for most family members.
However, there are several sets of stairs, so those with mobility issues or parents with strollers may have difficulty completing the entire loop.
For more information about navigating Akaka Falls and other accessible Big Island activities check out Sickgirltravels.com.
The loop takes about thirty minutes to complete. To avoid the stairs completely, make a left at the entrance which will leave you immediately in front of the best view of the falls.
Keep in mind, while the trail is paved, the frequent rain and mist can leave the ground quite slippery. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear.
While the views inside the park are gorgeous, one of the most interesting things about Akaka Falls may be something you can’t see.
The less than three-inch-long goby fish (o’opu alamao’o) which make their way from their home in the Pacific to spawn in the stream above Akaka Falls.
These fish are able to use a sucker on their underside to climb the rocks behind the falls and make it to the top. Their eggs are then washed back out to the ocean to hatch.
So, as you stare out at these majestic falls, just remember the thousands of tiny rock-climbing fish ascending the cliff beneath.
Admission is $5 per car or $1 per person for walk-ins. Entrance is free to Hawaiian residents. The parking area is open from 8:30 am to 6 pm.
Jenn Lloyd of Sick Girl Travels
One of the most popular attractions to visit on the Big Island is located right in Hilo at Rainbow Falls. An easy to get to waterfall with a very short walk to the observation viewpoints.