This hike is a uniquely Hawaiian experience, bringing you into the valley that seems paused in an era from long ago. The rural inhabitants have numerous agricultural properties in the center of the valley, but the beachfront is undeveloped with coarse black volcanic sand and a small forest.
At a Glance:
Highlights: This hike is steep, but with a beautiful beachfront and jungle trails awaiting you at the bottom. The black sand beach lined with trees and flanked by cliffs on each end is a picture postcard of old Hawaii.
Location: Honoka'a, Hawaii
Activity Level: Strenuous due to 900 foot change of elevation.
Equipment: Sturdy shoes, rain gear, lots of water and food.
Warnings!: Do not attempt to drive into the valley, even if you have a jeep rental as it is extremely difficult for the inexperienced. Hiking in and out is much safer. The ocean front and stream mouth along the beach has no lifeguard so be extremely cautious. Do NOT cross stream if flooded. Bring plenty of drinking water as there is no source of potable water in the valley.
Cost: No fee
Where to Start:
The descent from the scenic lookout above the valley is along a paved, but extremely steep jeep road. The 900 foot elevation drop over 1 mile during your descent requires patience and stamina. Best to be cautious and step aside for the brave souls attempting to drive the road in or out. Upon reaching the bottom of the jeep road, you reach a crossroad. Turn right and you will reach the beach after several hundred yards walk through a forest-lined dirt road. The stream and ocean connection is powerful with currents, be cautious. If stream water is running clear and calm you may choose to cross the stream inland from the ocean, and proceed along an oceanfront trail that winds through an ironwood forest stretching to the farside of the valley. This trail splits with a portion climbing up the Cliffside to continue 9 miles to the next valley called Waimanu. The other split of the trail turns left and inland skirting along the edge of the valley and an easement along several private properties. Stay on trail and do not enter the private properties and eventually a mile up valley you come upon a small 15 foot waterfall and side tributary stream.
You will want to bring food and plenty of water for this trek. Remember to be watchful of weather conditions, avoiding stream crossing if it is raining. Also gauge your stamina for the 900 foot ascent out of the valley. The closest supply stop for this hike is Honoka'a town.
- From Hilo: Drive HI-route 19 for 50 miles toward Honoka'a town, turning right onto route 240. After passing through Honoka'a town, follow road to the end parking at the lookout for Waipi'o Valley
- From Kona: Drive HI-route 19 north for 65 miles toward Honoka'a, turning left onto route 240. After passing through Honoka'a town proper, follow road to the end parking at the lookout for Waipi'o Valley