The Legend of Akaka Falls

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.

Today, Akaka Falls State Park is a very popular and iconic attraction near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. To reach the falls, we walked a short paved trail through stunning tropical vegetation. While the entire trail is less than half a mile, there are stairs involved so the trail is not wheelchair accessible. The park is a tropical paradise that defies description and the photos hardly capture such incredible beauty. When I say tropical, I mean it was hot, humid, misty, or rainy the entire time but thankfully, I never saw a single mosquito.


Red Firespike


Red Firespike


Ti plant


Ti plant (Hawaiian Good Luck Plant)


Lori under the aerial roots of a large Banyan tree with Jim in the background


Red Ginger


Yellow Ginger


Heliconia Mariae

The walk through this lush tropical jungle would have been quite enough to satisfy us but our first view of the Akaka Falls took the experience to another level.


First view of Akaka Falls

The falls drops 442 feet into a gorge so we knew that we had only seen the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The full view was truly sublime.


Akaka Falls


Akaka Falls and trail


Jim and Laura on the stairs to the viewing area of Akaka Falls


Lori and Laura at Akaka Falls


Full view of Akaka Falls

If the photos don’t fully convey the beauty of the falls, click on this video to see Akaka Falls in motion.

Continuing along the trail, we also spotted the small Lehua and Maile Falls crying copious tears together.


Lehua and Maile Falls

Our visit to Akaka Falls was part of the Pride of America excursion to Volcanoes National Park. The third component of this excursion was a stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center. Although I’m not a huge fan of these commercial stops that all cruise lines include in their excursions, we actually appreciated this shopping opportunity to pick up some macadamia nuts to take home. Unfortunately, the factory was closed or we’d have enjoyed a look about there, too.


We spent only a day in the port of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii but felt we’d gotten a good introduction to the windward side of the island. That night the Pride of America sailed on to Kona where, the next morning, we would explore the leeward side.

Based on events from November 2015.


Categories: cruise, Travel, Uncategorized, USA | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The Legend of Akaka Falls

  1. Looks like a beautiful place~ loving all the color and Akaka Falls looks AMAZING!


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