The Waipi'o Valley is located in the Hamakua District, Big on Iceland. Its unique characteristics include the black sands on the coast, the taro farms in the valley and the numerous waterfalls.
The only road in the valley has huge 25% gap. Some providers also offer riding tours in Waipi'o Valley.
Waipi'o Valley is the largest and southernmost of the seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains. Waipi'o is a mile wide at the coast and almost six miles deep. At the coast there is a beautiful black sand beach. On either side of the valley are cliffs reaching almost 2000 feet with cascading waterfalls.
Unless you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, your drive will end at the Waipio Valley Lookout. Here the view of the valley and beach is spectacular. For an even better experience, hike down the trail to the edge of the valley and discover the wonders of Waipio. The direction of your hike is up to you; the valley is wide open and wonderful jungle trees, rivers, and Hawaiian animals stretch in all directions. Camping is very enjoyable in the Waipio and several bed and breakfasts also exist in the valley.
For a unique experience, try the horseback Waipio Valley Guided Tour.
History of Waipi'o Valley:
Long before Westerners knew that Sandwich islands existed, more than 40,000 Hawaiians lived in fertile Waipio Valley beneath 3,500 foot cliffs. Where they fished, grew taro and worshipped their gods. The dim remains of a 15-acre fish pond and ruins of ancient terraces at the back of the long valley attest to its population and history as a place of plentiful food and sometimes too much water from rain, waterfalls, the river and periodic tsunamis.
The population of Waipio dwindled from around 5,000 at the time Captain Cook arrived in Kealakekua to about 1,300 in the 1820s, and down to about 150 a hundred years later.
Today, amidst taro, coconuts, avocados, bananas and large assortment of other wild fruits, nuts and flora. Waipio has 60-100 residents, a mixture of farmers of Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese ancestry and haoles looking for seclusion and self-sufficient life-style.
Many Hawaiian alii were buried in Waipio where a section of the beach is called lua o milu, doorway to the land of the dead. Great chiefs lived in the valley long before Kamehameha made it his base of spiritual power. According to legend, a priest from this valley gave Kamehameha custody of Ku, his war god, before he set off to conquer the islands.
This legendary gateway to the other world was favored by Wakea, creator of all the islands; prankster demigod Maui's head was smashed against the rocks by the great god Kanoloa, making blood colored earth forever in the upper valley; inseparable lovers Hiilawe and Kakalaoa, who were turned into a 1,300-foot beautiful waterfall and a large boulder set below, rather than be parted by the god Lano (looking for a bride), have not yielded an inch, even to 55-foot tsunami waves.
Take Rte 19 North out of Hilo. Turn right onto Rte 240 towards Waipio. Take this road until you reach the Waipio Lookout.