The journey up the lush Hamakua Coast along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor drive passes many waterfalls, tropical gardens, and ends at the breathtaking Waipio Valley Lookout.
The sacred Waipio Valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I, and an important center for political and religious life in Hawaii. Not only is “The Valley of the Kings” an important site for Hawaiian history and culture, but it’s also a place of dramatic tropical beauty.
And it’s easy to get to and experience!
The Waipio Valley Lookout view is the star of the show, obviously, but there is plenty of beauty to observe near the lookout.
Off the coast, whales breach.
This valley goes way back out of view from the Waipio Valley Lookout. It is about one mile across and over five-miles deep and surrounded by cliffs up to 2000-feet high.
The valley was once home to thousands of Native Hawaiians. In 1946, a tidal wave destroyed most structures in the valley including a temple called Paka’alana.
Today, there are less than 100 residents live here. The ponds in the photo below grow taro.
Across the way, you can see a trail that leads in and out of the valley.
The largest of the valleys coming off of Kohala Mountain, Waipio means “curved water” in Hawaiian.
Do you see the huge waterfall in this photo? It’s not even the largest here. The island of Hawaii’s tallest waterfall, Hiilawe Falls cascades down 1,300 feet in the back of Waipio Valley. You can’t see it from the overlook.
I suggest a guided tour, hike, or horseback ride to explore the valley. The road into the valley is steep and requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and in fact, many rental car companies will not allow it. Many areas of the valley careful not to trespass on private land).
Visit Waipio Valley Overlook
It’s free to visit the overlook! Drive, park, walk to the overlook. For the money, there is no better, easier view to take in on the island than this one.