Akaka Falls State Park is a beautiful hiking trail located on The Big Island of Hawai’i. The trail loop is moderately to heavily trafficked and features a pair of beautiful waterfalls: Akaka and Kahuna Falls.

Hiking Akaka and Kahuna Falls Loop Trail

If you’re visiting The Big Island, Akaka Falls State Park is bound to end up on a recommended travel itinerary. The state park is located on the eastern side of the island as people travel to and from the town of Hilo. The park features a very short loop trail that winds through a dense tropical rainforest. The trail features two stunning waterfalls: a shorter one hundred foot Kahuna waterfall and the breathtaking Akaka waterfall. Akaka waterfall plunges four hundred and twenty two feet. While the Akaka waterfall is the park’s main attraction, the trail does feature a variety of beautiful tropical flowers throughout the year and native bird species.

Since this is a state park, there is a small parking fee of five dollars. Some people do attempt to park outside of the parking lot to avoid the fee but I don’t recommend doing so. The fee goes to help maintain the park. The parking lot is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The walking path is open to pedestrians from sun up to sun down. For more information check out the Department of Land and Natural Resources website. Bicycles or pets are not allowed on this trail.

On A Personal Note:

Many waterfalls on The Big Island are not easily accessible, cross private property, can only be seen by air, or require quite a bit of local knowledge. For this reason, I highly recommend this short trail. Most people take a quick detour to experience while driving to or from Hilo to the other side of the island.

Do you have any updates to the hiking trail or want to share your hike/pictures? Please leave a comment below.

  • Overall Difficulty: 25% 25%
  • Overall Views: 100% 100%
Akaka Falls State Park Quick Facts:
  • Elevation: Approx 1000 feet.
  • Elevation Gain: 100 feet.
  • Estimated Distance: 0.4 miles.
  • Estimated Time: 15-30 minutes. 
Akaka Falls Hiking Trail Directions:
Open in maps. The Akaka Falls loop trail is inside Akaka Falls State Park. Driving to the trail is relatively. Head up off of Highway 220 which is off Highway 19. Highway 19 is the main road that travels around the eastern side of the island to and from Hilo. Most people staying on the Kona side of the island decide to make this a pit stop either on the way or heading back from Hilo. Heavy rains can wash out Highway 220.  Use caution during heavy downpours.  

Akaka Falls Trail Pictures:
Akaka Falls State Park, Akaka Falls Loop Trail, Hiking Akaka Falls

Who Akaka Falls Loop Trail Is For Is For:

Novice Hikers: This hike is great for novice hikers. The trail is very well maintained by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. There’s also very minimal elevation gain as well as distance.

Advanced Hikers: Most people would consider this more of a “stroll” or a “walk in the park” as opposed to a hike. Don’t let this short distance keep you from making a pit stop. The views are beautiful.

Expert Hikers: Same.

It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.

Best Time Of Year To Hike Akaka Falls Loop Trail:

This trail can be great to hike year round long. However, it’s the rain that gives this side of the island the dense tropical forests and waterfalls. The important thing to do is to check the weather ahead of time. These waterfalls are at about one thousand feet in elevation on the northeastern slope of Mauna Kea. It’s not uncommon for clouds to pile up here in the afternoon causing rain later in the day with the sunniest weather in the morning. This picture was actually taken during heavy rain. 

Check the weather for heavy rainfall events surrounded by passing low pressure systems or tropical storms. Heavy rains can wash the road out and bring drenching downpours to the area. After a heavy rain the waterfall will have a brown tinge to it from flooding. The waterfalls are still beautiful though. Heavy rains actually make Kahuna falls more visible because a portion of it is hidden behind dense foliage.

Akaka Falls Loop Trail Conditions:
This trail is generally in great condition. Most of the trail is on a concrete path through the dense forest. There are are two vista points for two of the waterfalls. I recommend people to hike the trail in a counter-clockwise fashion. Walking along the path this way saves the best for last – Akaka fall. There are times after heavy downpours or large storms where trees and mud can run across the trail. If there is any concern that the park might be closed, check with the Akaka Falls State Park website.