Hikes on the Big Island of Hawai‘i

The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the largest Hawaiian island (as well as the largest island in the United States). The volcanic island covers over 4,000 square miles, but is only home to a fraction of the Hawaiian population, leaving lots of outdoor spaces to explore. Explore the Big Island’s dramatic beaches, gushing waterfalls, historic sites, and evolving volcanic features.

A rugged coastline circles the island, lined with tide pools that host sea turtles and tropical fish. The island’s interior is covered with volcanic landscapes and rainforest-draped ravines. Waterfalls are abundant, including ‘Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls. On the north side of the island, Waipi‘o Valley is a special place to visit.

Five shield volcanoes make up the Island of Hawai‘i: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai and Kīlauea. The largest volcanoes are Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, each rising to over 13,000 feet tall. The summit of Mauna Kea is the tallest point in Hawai‘i, at 13,802 feet. Visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to see the very-active Kīlauea Volcano. The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands in geological terms and continues to grow from volcanic eruptions.

Akaka Falls Hawaii
‘Akaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawai‘i

Hiking the Big Island of Hawai‘i

This collection of trails on the Big Island of Hawai‘i is arranged from north to south. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these day hikes. An interactive map is also provided.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Waipio Valley Hike100Waipi‘o Beach & Muliwai Trail Overlook
This hike plunges into fantastically-wild Waipi‘o Valley, crosses a remote black sand beach (framed by cliffs and waterfalls), and climbs to a stellar view overlooking the ocean, beach, and valley.
4.88 miles
1300 feet
20.1177,
-155.5836
Puako Petroglyph Archeological District180Malama Trail
This short hike visits rare rock carvings in Puakō Petroglyph Archeological District on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawai'i.
0.2 - 1.2 miles
30 feet
19.9552,
-155.8594
Kalahuipua'a Trail and Fishponds Loop200Kalahuipua‘a Trail and Fishponds Loop
This action-packed hike explores a lava field with a lava tube shelter and impressive fishponds along a gorgeous coastline.
1.7 miles
35 feet
19.9419,
-155.8642
Kiholo Bay Wainanalii Lagoon Hike220Kiholo Bay & Wainanali‘i Lagoon
This coastal hike in Kiholo State Park Reserve has non-stop ocean views, crossing tide pools and beaches on the way to a turquoise lagoon.
2 miles
15 feet
19.85125,
-155.93188
Akaka Falls Hike300‘Akaka Falls
This short loop slips through a tropical valley to bold views of a 442-foot single-drop waterfall.
0.55 miles
115 feet
19.854,
-155.1523
Rainbow Falls350Rainbow Falls
This short hike around Rainbow Falls Lookout explores a viewpoint facing a lovely waterfall and also ventures up to the top of the falls.
0.2 miles
40 feet
19.71885,
-155.1085
Kaumana Caves Hike400Kaumana Caves
This underground hike explores lava tubes on the edge of Hilo, created by an 1881 eruption of Mauna Loa.
1 mile
50 feet
19.6866,
-155.1309
Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park430Royal Grounds – Pu‘uhonua Loop
This loop on the coast south of Kona explores Hawaiian royal grounds and a place of sanctuary in Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park.
0.5 mile
15 feet
19.4215,
-155.9102

Viewpoints on the Big Island of Hawai‘i

Waipio Lookout HawaiiWaipio Lookout
This viewpoint on the rim of Waipi‘o Valley provides a great perspective over Waipi‘o Beach and the beautiful coastline on the north side of the Big Island.

The Big Island of Hawai‘i

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Royal Ground Puuhonua Place of Refuge Loop Puuhonua o Honahnah National Historical Park Big Island of Hawaii
To walk through Hawaiian history, head to Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, located on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i, south of Kona. A convenient hiking trail weaves through the park's Royal Grounds and the Pu‘uhonua (place of refuge). This half-mile long loop passes sixteen numbered markers that correspond with entries in a park brochure to put an... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: January 9, 2019
Kaumana Caves Lava Tube Park Hilo Big Island Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawai‘i is a dynamic land, where you can find a lava tube on the edge of the island's main city. An 1881 lava flow from Mauna Loa stopped just short of Hilo. Venture up and down a lava tube created by that flow. Enter through a collapsed skylight at Kaumana Caves Park and start exploring. While the entire tube may measure over twenty miles long, visitors can expect to... Read more.
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Tagged with · Caves · Free Trails · Hilo · Lava Tubes
Distance: 1 mile · Elevation change: 50 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 8, 2019
Rainbow Falls Lookout Hike Wailuku River State Park Hilo Big Island Hawaii
A mile and a half from downtown Hilo, the biggest city on the Big Island of Hawaii, Rainbow Falls pours over a basalt ledge in Hawaii's longest river. The 80-foot tall waterfall takes a broad single-drop plunge. Visitors can see Rainbow Falls (and hopefully a morning rainbow) from Rainbow Falls Lookout in Wailuku River State Park, where 0.2 miles of lets-be-generous-and-call-it-hiking leads... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hawaii State Parks · Hilo · Waterfalls
Distance: 0.2 miles · Elevation change: 40 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 8, 2019
Akaka Falls State Park Waterfall hike Hilo Big Island Hawaii Akaka Falls Loop Trail
‘Akaka Falls is stunner – considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii – with a 442-foot single-drop into a tropical valley. This great waterfall is paired with a great viewpoint. A paved 0.55-mile long loop trail leads to a lookout in front of ‘Akaka Falls, while also providing a glimpse of 300-foot tall Kahuna Falls and several small cascades. ‘Akaka Falls is the... Read more.
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Tagged with · Hawaii State Parks · Honomu · Waterfalls
Distance: 0.55 miles · Elevation change: 115 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 1, 2019
Waipio Valley Overlook Viewpoint Waipio Lookout Big Island Hawaii
Waipi‘o Valley is a rugged, beautiful, and historic Hawaiian valley on the north side of the Big Island. The verdant valley has a mile long black sand beach framed by steep, thousand foot-tall cliffs. Get a good look at Waipi‘o Valley from a perch at the rim of the valley wall. Waipio Lookout has interesting info panels and impressive views. The lookout is also the launch point for a... Read more.
Tagged with · Ocean Views · Waipio Valley
By: Published: Last updated: January 7, 2019