ʻAkaka Falls State Park
Pleasant self-guided walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling ‘Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. The 0.4-mile loop footpath requires some physical exertion.
ʻAkaka Falls State Park is a state park on Hawaiʻi Island; the Big Island of Hawai’i. The park is about 11 miles north of Hilo, west of Honomū off the Hawaii Belt Road at the end of Hawaii Route 220. It includes its namesake ʻAkaka Falls, a 442-foot tall waterfall. ʻAkaka is named after Chief ‘Akakaokanī’auoi’oikawao, grandson of Kūlanikapele and Kīakalohia. The accessible portion of the park lies high on the right shoulder of the deep gorge into which the waterfall plunges, and the falls can be viewed from several points along a loop trail through the park. Also visible from this trail is Kahūnā Falls, a 300-foot tall waterfall, and several smaller cascades.
Hawaiian Legends & Mythology
Legend has it the Hawaiian god, Akaka, lived next to a waterfall with his wife while his girlfriends, Lehua and Maile, lived nearby. When his wife returned early one day nearly catching him with one of the girlfriends, Akaka ran away and fell into the falls. (Some versions say he jumped but I find that hard to believe.) Lehua and Maile cried so hard when they heard about Akaka’s death, they turned into small waterfalls. The waterfall that Akaka fell into was named Akaka Falls and two nearby small cascading falls are called Lehua and Maile Falls.