Waipio Valley

The North Shore of Big Island is home to the lush and stunning Waipio Valley. Often compared to the natural beauty of the Napali Coast on Kauai, the verdant green series of valleys and towering seaside bluffs create a breathtaking sight. The valley's name derives from an ancient Hawaiian word meaning "cured water" and is known as the "Valley of King." Ancient Hawaiian rulers once called Waipio Valley Big Island home and it's also rumored to be the training site of the first king.

Getting to Waipio Valley Big Island is an adventure in itself. The valley is accessed only by a 30 minute Hawaii hiking trip or by utility vehicle via a very steep road. One of the black sand Big Island beaches is found in the Waipio Valley bordered by plunging valleys and cascading waterfalls. The community exhibits true Hawaiian hospitality and residents are friendly and accommodating. A Waipio Valley tour through the region offers magnificent views of the Na'alapa Waterfall and the winding river valley.

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the valley is a Waipio horseback tour. Trained horses navigate the rugged terrain expertly on a trip through verdant jungle paths, sparkling streams, taro fields and stunning waterfalls. Waipio horseback riding is possible for all skill levels from beginner to expert where numerous spiritual and historical sites are explored. Paniolos, the Hawaiian cowboys in the area, lead Waipio horseback tours through the valley pointing out all the points of interest along the route. Open range riding is offered and cantering and trotting is also possible. This makes the two and a half hour morning or an afternoon excursion a more natural one where visitors aren't riding on the heels of the horse ahead.

There are other ways to enjoy a Waipio Valley tour. Traditional wagon tours are offered for those who aren't comfortable on horseback. These tour types take visitors through the Waipio Valley on wagons drawn by mules and offer narration about the culture and history of one of Big Islands best loved valleys. Another option for a Waipio Valley tour is via 4X4 across back country routes to many points of breathtaking beauty and historic sites. Guides recount ancient stories behind each site. Big Island tours also offer short hikes to more secluded landmarks. A Waipio Valley tour can easily be found in Hilo or Kailua and is often complete with a hearty lunch and drinks.

Those who enjoy more active pursuits can take in the valley on foot. Hiking deep into the bordering valleys is a rewarding experience and a top choice for things to do in Waipio Valley Big Island. Hiking trips are best done with a guide or by very experienced hikers. One of the highlights of a hike is the Hiilawe Falls, an almost 1,500 foot high cascade which can be challenging to reach. One of the black sand Big Island beaches is also situated in the valley and is a favorite among hikers on Hawaii holidays. It can be reached by hiking east from the main paved route. Along the route to the beach there is a tranquil forested setting where grazing wild horses can be seen. With no running water, phone service or electricity, hikers should set out well prepared.

The raw beauty of the Waipio Valley presents another of the Big Island attractions developed from the island's natural geographic wonders. The best view of the valley, and the easiest to reach, is the scenic lookout found at the ending point of Route 240 almost ten miles from Honoka'a. A hike along the floor of the valley exhibits many rewards but the true gem is a look from the top. For a full day of sightseeing pair a day trip to Waipio Valley Big Island with an evening star gazing trip to nearby Mauna Kea for a detailed look at some of Big Island's northern attractions.

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