Hipuapua Falls

Halawa Valley and Hipuapua Falls
Halawa Valley and Hipuapua Falls. It is possible that white spot to the left from falls is a spot of Moa'ula Falls / David Holt, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 21.1550 N 156.7677 W
No:97        (list of all attractions)
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:Oceania, United States, Hawaii, near the north coast of Moloka'i, beginning of Halawa Valley
Alternate names:Hīpuapua Falls
Height:Roughly 152 - 160 m

The upper part of the beautiful Hipuapua Valley is adorned with two large, high waterfalls. The highest of the two are Hipuapua Falls (152 - 160 m), just some 300 m away are the legendary Moa'ula Falls (more than 76 m).


Hipuapua falls are easily seen from the Highway 450. Walk to the waterfall takes approximately one and a half hour in one direction. It is advised to unite it with a walk to the nearby Moa'ula Falls. Hipuapua Falls are somewhat harder to access than Moa'ula, but more impressive.

Falls have formed on Hipuapua stream and are perennial. From the distance they look like a narrow ribbon but as one approaches the base of the falls, turns out that there is fairly wide river thundering down along the basalt cliff.

Falls have one main drop - some 152 - 160 m tall (estimated differ in different sources). For most part there is not free fall of water, it flows along the steep cliff. Below the falls there has formed rather large pool.

Halawa Valley with Moa'ula and Hipuapua Falls
Halawa Valley with Moa'ula (to the left) and Hipuapua Falls (to the right) / S.Kaiser, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Rich history

The beautiful Halawa Valley is one of the first areas to be inhabited in Hawaii. Settlers from Marquesas Islands came here around the 7th century AD. The fertile valley experienced a boom of population - it was densely inhabited and the main foodstuff was locally grown taro. Unfortunately this beautiful valley experienced much warfare.

With the arrival of Europeans the life of native Hawaiians changed. The last blow to the traditional lifestyle though came in the middle of the 20th century, when powerful tsunamis covered the valley with sea salt in 1946 and 1957. Taro fields were not fertile anymore and most people left for cities.

Nowadays in the valley there live few families - but otherwise the valley looks pristine and primeval. Walk through the valley though reveals signs of the past: it leads along the ancient temples - heiau - some as large as football field.

Private property

Walk to the beautiful waterfalls inevitably leads through the private properties. Naturally, locals are not too happy to see endless lines of tourists passing there and back through the peaceful valley. In fact - not so peaceful - there is frequent noise pollution coming from other tourists flying around with helicopters.

Sadly - this is the price for living in extremely beautiful place.

Tourists walking to the falls though are kindly advised to take local guides (in fact - not so cheap!).


See Hipuapua Falls on the map of Hawaii!

Hipuapua Falls are included in the following list:

Map of Molokai

Top 12 Moloka'i waterfalls


  1. Hipuapua Falls. World Waterfall Database. Accessed on June 7, 2010
  2. Hipuapua Falls (many images!). HawaiiWeb.com. Accessed on June 7, 2010
  3. Hipuapua Falls. World of Waterfalls. Accessed on June 7, 2010

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