Waterfall Tour:  Kohala Waterfalls Adventure

General Information

Schedule: Tours daily. 8 hours round trip, departs from Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters, and Waikoloa Queen’s Marketplace.
Rated: Easy; all ages welcome.
Included in the Tour: Deli style lunch with assorted soft drinks, juices and bottled water
Gear Provided: Walking sticks, warm wear, day packs and rain ponchos.
Prices: Adult: $169.00, plus tax. Child (12 and under): $139.00, plus tax.
Group Size: Tour limited to a maximum of 12 guests.
Restrictions: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. We sometimes encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions. Other tour restrictions may apply.
What to Bring & Wear: Comfortable walking shoes or reef walkers, bathing suit, hat, sunscreen and a light jacket or sweatshirt.

Full Description

Ola i ka wai a ka opua - that tells us “there is life in the rain.” Rain also gives us the resplendent countryside and plentiful waterfalls of Kohala. Nowhere in Hawaii is the importance and story of water more evident than here in the lands of Kamehameha. In its eternal cycle, water continues to shape a dramatic landscape of valleys, streams and cliffs.  These same waters reveal the history and culture of Kohala.

The tour begins with a wonderful drive of contrast and change from the dry-side resort area to the lush green country of Kohala. Along the way you’ll journey up the North Kona and Kohala coastlines over lava flows from Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and the Kohala Mountains. Often from the shoreline you are able to see splashing spinner dolphins or in the winter months, breaching humpback whales. You’ll pass through the quaint plantation towns of Hawi and Kapaau, site of the life-size statue of King Kamehameha I. At the end of the road we pass through a locked gate onto private property, and the real fun begins, with a bumpy but short off-road drive in our 6WD Pinzgauer on an old cane road.

Out of the Pinzgauer, you’ll step back into the early 1900’s, when plantation owners began construction of the Kohala Ditch Trail to bring much needed water to the sugar cane fields. Along the 1.5 mile loop trail you’ll see tunnels blasted and carved from solid rock, walk over an aqueduct on two bridges, and learn the story of the tremendous effort it took to build an irrigation system stretching over 22 miles. You’ll delve into ancient Hawaiian history as well, visiting a former taro farming site just off the path. Seven beautiful waterfalls grace the trail.  You can take a refreshing dip in the last pool we visit, and play under a refreshing cascade. With stunning mountain panoramas, green valleys and pasturelands, and of course the abundant water, the Kohala Waterfalls Adventure is a fascinating way for young and old to experience Kohala’s “story of water.”


  1. How much hiking do we do? Expect to cover approximately 1.5 miles in 1 - 2 hours.
  2. Is there elevation gain? Expect to do minimal climbing. The estimated elevation gain over the course of the hike is about 200’.
  3. What is the water temperature in the pool we swim in? Water temperature varies by season and the amount of rainfall. Temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees F.


We appreciate your comments! If you've taken a tour and would like to share your feedback, please leave a comment. If you have questions regarding tour specifics, like times, reservations or other details prior to your tour, please use the contact form.

By T. Chow on 2014/11/22

This was the best office outing I’ve ever been on. Friends are envious over the photos taken at where we stopped for lunch.
Matt was a very knowledgeable tour guide -
I owe him this info: for hanai parentage of Kamehameha I, see http://nupepa-hawaii.com/2014/06/14/history-and-the-kahu-hanai-of-kamehameha-1911/
Tiffany Chow
Big Island Neurology

By Jane on 2014/06/06

Gary was our guide and was great. Enjoyed the waterfalls and hope to go with him on a bird watching trip next time. A really fun day!

By Don Macknowski on 2014/05/15

The hike and lunch with view were great, but no opportunity was given for the promised swim.

By Ann Bellefeuille on 2014/03/14

Had a spectacular trip with Mike today!  My husband, 8 yr old son and I were picked up at our hotel in Kona, and with 6 others, we had a lovely day. 

Mike gave us commentary on the ride up, pointing out things and relaying info.  Then we transferred into ia 6WD Pinzgauer, and drove into the rain forest.  We were loaned a backpack, towel, rain gear, a walking stick, and given water bottles and granola bars.  We put on bug spray and began the hike.

We stopped and hiked in,  viewing many waterfalls,foot bridges, and stopped to sample fruits and berries. 

As I am a very amateur hiker, Mike was very kind to assist me at times, as he was there to take photos of/for people as well.

We concluded the hike at a beautiful waterfall where we had the opportunity to swim in the refreshing, COOL water.

We then stopped for a picnic lunch on a spectacular cliff top with a gorgeous view of the water. 

With a quick stop in Hawi to change vehicles, and buy an ice cream cone, we were on our way.  All in all a great day and we were back to our hotel by 3pm to enjoy the rest of the day.

Thanks for a great tour, Mike!

By Susan on 2014/02/13

This waterfall hike was fabulous!  Mike was a great tour guide—it was obvious that he loved sharing his knowledge of the history and plants of the area.  Everything was just as described.  Backpacks, ponchos, water bottles, and walking sticks were provided.  The walking sticks sure came in handy! Our 9 year old granddaughter enjoyed the hike as much as we did, including sampling fruits and berries and a dip in the waterfall pool along the way.  Refreshing!  Lunch was delicious; served picnic style with a beautiful vista.  We highly recommend this adventure! Thank you, Mike, for a wonderful day!!

By Rachel on 2014/01/17

Greatest. Tour. Ever.  Our group of 9 had a wonderful time, thanks in large part to Matt, our knowledgeable guide.  We loved everything, from the vehicle that resembled Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to the beauty of the countryside and the refreshing dip at the base of the falls.  We’d do it again and highly recommend it.  Thanks, Matt!

By Sue Loope on 2013/12/17

Our waterfall hike was amazing!  Gorgeous scenery, wonderful waterfalls and great history!  Our guide, Brett was informative and fun.  So glad you took a quick swim with us!  As a travel agent I am highly recommending Hawaii Forest & Trail!

Sue from Kalamazoo

By Miss on 2013/10/25

What time is the tour started? [Hawaii Forest & Trail:] This tour departs our offices in Kona at 6:50 am.  Depending on your hotel accommodations, we also have several pickup times and locations available.

By Linda on 2013/04/10

I was looking for a longer distance hike- do you have a suggestion?  [Hawaii Forest & Trail:] For our standard tours, the Rainforest & Dryforest tour has the longest hike.  We’ll do about 4 miles throughout the day.

By lyn on 2012/11/15

Was wondering about doing this one, can we see any birding along the way, will those be pointed out???? [Hawaii Forest & Trail:] While birding isn’t the focus of this trip, do let your Interpretive Guide know you’re interested so they can be on the lookout.  We do get to see some introduced species on this trip, such as Cattle Egrets, Red-billed Leothrix plus the ubiquitous Common Myna.  There are a few natives we can also spot such as Io and White-tailed Tropicbirds, and if we’re lucky, Great Frigatebirds and Pueo.

By Jaime Fuchs on 2012/10/20

My husband and I did the Kohala waterfall tour yesterday. It was a great experience!! Our tour guide Matt was very informative. We would definitly recommend this tour to anyone eager to see some of Hawaii’s natural beauty. Thanks for a great experience!!
—Jaime and Tim

By Greta on 2012/06/07

Do you have to take the tour or can you just pay an entrance fee and walk it yourself?  [Hawaii Forest & Trail] Access to the trail is only on the tour.  It’s a private trail system, so in addition to getting to the trail head, the guide outfits everyone with walking sticks and daypacks, waterbottles, and provides information about the area’s flora, fauna, natural history and cultural highlights.

By Kathy from Ellicott City, MD on 2012/04/16

I took the Waterfall tour in April 2012.  Greg was our tour guide. We saw a pod of spinner dolphins on the way to the falls, the waterfalls and a taro farming site. We had a tasty lunch while looking at a beautiful view of seaside cliffs. We learned about the folklore, wildlife and plant life of the Island. We went 4 wheeling in an Australian army vehicle, which was really fun. I came away with a much better understanding of the Big Island than I got from exploring it on my own. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is thinking of going!

By Cindy Bement on 2012/02/07

I just returned from the waterfall tour.  We had a great time and Eugene was very helpful and informative.  Your website says we would view seven waterfalls but we feel that we did not see that many, closer to 5.  There was an elderly woman in the group that had a difficult time keeping up.  Is it possible we took some short cuts and missed some of the other falls.

By Nick and Joanna Morgera on 2011/11/12

We took this tour on 11/3/11. Taj and Ethan were our guides. They did a great job informing us of the surroundings and helping us make incredible memories.
Thank you!!!

By Hollie Riddle on 2011/10/22

Uncle Danny was our guide and his knowledge of the island was impressive, better then any other guide I think I have ever been around. The hike was easy, but did have some steep steps if your legs aren’t too steady. My kids are 6 and 8 and did very well, and were very excited to swim in the falls. Great family memories were made and great pictures were taken at the cliffs. Highly suggest this tour for any age.

By Jim Dellamonica on 2011/05/12

Joel was our guide on one of the most informative and pleasurable excusions on our recent trip to the Big Island.  He was a pleasent host, considerate to a fault and an asset to your business.  I look forward to another tour on our next trip.

By Hawaii Forest & Trail on 2011/01/07

@Jay:  You’re referring to our Valley Waterfall Adventure.  Unfortunately, we lost that trail in the 2006 earthquake.

@Tim:  Hawaii doesn’t have many native orchids, so your best chance for spotting introduced orchids are going to be in remnant native forests.  There are several introduced species that can be found along the trail on our Kohala Waterfall Adventure and typically are in bloom during the dryer times.  With the drought this last year we had some great blooms in the fall.  Be sure to check out the Akasuka Orchid Nursery by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

By Jay Merkins on 2010/12/22

What is the tour where you hike up 1000 ft and get to walk underneath Kapoloa Falls?  I don’t see that option on your list, but I think you are the company that offers that tour.

Please let me know either way.



By Tim Wagner on 2010/12/18

i am planning a trip in the Spring - possibly mid April with my wife. She is the grower/curator of the orchid collection at the Missouri Botanical Garden (second largest in the US). She, of course, is interested in seeing the environment in which various species grow (only to observe and document, not to pick). I am seeking advice on the best tour and time of year and time of day. THANKS!

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