Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WAIHILAU FALLS

Waimanu Falls consists of three impossibly tall and slender threads of white water veiling down a tremendous cliff covered in lush green vegetation. The wall of the amphitheater is approximately 2600' (792m) tall according to the USGS topographical maps of the area.

HISTORY AND NAMES
Waihilau Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall

OUR THOUGHTS
If access weren't so difficult, this could be a world famous valley. Mercifully, the difficulty in accessing the place is also responsible for its pristine condition. The average day hiker simply won't get here. The dedicated trampers that DO make it are the sort of people who have a reverence for nature in the first place.

This valley is one of the amphitheaters that formed on the flanks of the extinct Kohala Volcano. Myriad rivulets and streams gather on the flanks of the old volcano and merge, streaming over the enormous valley walls.

Happily, if you DO make it to the valley, you've reached a pristine and remote valley that has 4 very tall waterfalls. Waimanu Falls is located at the headwall of the amphitheater on the west side of the valley. On the way, you'll pass Wai'ilikahi Falls, Kakaauki Falls, and Lahomene Falls, each well over a thousand feet in height.

LOCATION AND DIRECTIONS
Access is difficult as you have to first make the trip to the Waipio Valley. You will then climb 1200' (366m) up the Muliwai trail on the opposite side of the valley, traverse a series of ridges and valleys, then descend into Waimanu Valley. It is a hard 9 mile one way hike. The alternative is to kayak from Waipio Valley west to Waimanu Valley, but winds are fickle along the north shore of the Big Island. Also, if you DO make it to the valley, you'll need a filtration system for drinking water as leptospirosis is possibly present in the water. You'll also need a camping permit. They're free, but you should make reservations. Call the Hawaii State Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 808-974-4221.

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