Tip: This town has a view of two islands off Maui’s coast, Moloka'i and Lana'i.

 Currently: Big Island What to See Sightseeing › Articles

Rainbow Falls

The Wailuku River, which defines the western limit of downtown Hilo, is 18 miles long, making it the longest river in the Hawaiian archipelago. Wailuku, which means 'destroying water', had a fearsome reputation because it was so difficult to cross during periods of high rain. The river is now safely traversed

by three charming road bridges, the first at the bottom of Waianuenue Avenue, a main thoroughfare in downtown Hilo.

Waianuenue, which means 'rainbow seen in the water,' leads up to its raison d'etre, the natural wonder, Rainbow Falls. The roaring water falls 80 feet into a large pool almost a 100 feet in diameter. Behind the falls is a deep cave, a legendary home of Hina, mother of Maui. When the cascade hits the water far below, the mists throw flocks of rainbows into the air. The best time to catch a rainbow is in the early morning sunshine, before the clouds back up into the looming mass of Mauna Kea.

Many people are content to view the falls from a vantage point near the parking lot, from which a stone stairway leads to a special viewing area directly over the falls. Follow the same path slightly farther away from the falls, and you'll be in the shade of a gigantic banyan tree and a different vantage point. There is no access to the pond below, so do not try to scale the slippery slopes to get any closer to the thunderous torrent. The river was not named Wailuku for nothing.

Take Waianuenue Drive through Hilo and bear right on Rainbow Drive. A parking lot will be on your right. Make the short walk to a lookout and hope for a rainbow. There's no access to the pond at the base of the falls, so don't even think about scaling the slippery slopes to get closer. Use a long lens.

Articles Related to This One
Shop for
Package type:
Departing from:
Depart:
 
Going to:
Return:
 
Adults:
Seniors:
Children:
Search for packages
More package search options from Expedia
Going to:
Arrive:  
Return:  
Adults:
Seniors:
Children:
Search for packages
More Package search options from Expedia
Departing from:
Depart:
 
Going to:
Return:
 
Adults:
Seniors:
Children:
Search for flights
More flight search options from Expedia
Search for hotels in:
Check-in: Check-out:
Rooms:
Adults:
Children:
  Adults:
Children:
  Adults:
Children:
Search for hotels
More hotel search options from Expedia
Pick-up location:
Pick-up:
Drop-off:
Car class:
Search for cars
More car search options from Expedia
Select a top destination:
Departing in:
Cruise length:
Search for cruises
More cruise search options from Expedia
Destination:
Start date:
End date:
Search for activities
More activity search options from Expedia
Current Specials - Big Island
  • From $989 - Island Hopping: Big Island & Oahu, 6 Nights w/Air, Hotel, Transfers & Daily Breakfast
  • From $1,075 - 6 Nights Island Hopping: Big Island & Maui w/Air, Hotel & Breakfast. Spend 3 Nights in each island.
  • Dolphin Encounter, Guided Snorkel, and Underwater Scooter Ride with Dolphin Quest Hawaii
  • Make some new friends at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or Oahu
  • Make a Play Date with a Dolphin at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or Oahu
  • $619+Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows: 3 nights with air and car. Includes FREE midsize rental car PLUS kids 17 & younger stay FREE.
  • Enjoy a personal Family Swim at Dolphin Quest Hawaii
  • Be a Dolphin Trainer for a Day with Dolphin Quest Hawaii!
  • $649+ Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay: 3 nights with air and car. Includes FREE midsize car, $100 off, PLUS kids 17 & younger stay FREE.
  • Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort - $305
More of our Current Specials on The Big Island
Packages

Hawaiian Airlines: Special Offers
Hot Clicks - All Islands
  • Hilton Hawaii Deals - starting at just $169
  • Save up to 50% on your car rental with major USA car companies - Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • Volcano Value Rates at Royal Kona Resort from $129
  • $485+ Hawaii Vacations: 3 Nights with Air & FREE midsize rental or roundtrip transfers
  • Kaanapali Beach Hotel - 4 night Best of the Beach package just $1385