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 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 is 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 (estimates differ in different sources). For the most part, there is no free fall of water, it flows along the steep cliff. Below the falls there has formed rather large pool.

Halawa Valley with Moa'ula (to the left) and Hipuapua Falls (to the right)
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 the Marquesas Islands came here around the 7th century AD. The fertile valley experienced a boom of the 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 a football field.

Private property

Walk to the beautiful waterfalls inevitably leads through 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 an extremely beautiful place.

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

Hipuapua Falls are included in the following list:

Map of 12 best waterfalls in Molokai Island
Map of 12 best waterfalls in Molokai Island


  1. Hipuapua Falls. World Waterfall Database.
  2. Hipuapua Falls.
  3. Hipuapua Falls. World of Waterfalls. Accessed on June 7, 2010
Hipuapua Falls on the map
Travelers' Map is loading...
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Location, GPS coordinates: 21.1550 N 156.7677 W
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 2 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Oceania, United States, Hawaii, near the north coast of Moloka’i, beginning of Halawa Valley
Alternate names: Hīpuapua Falls
Height: Roughly 152 – 160 m

Video of Hipuapua Falls (to the right)

nokia afridi, July 2013

Landmarks of Hawaii

Eruption of Kīlauea volcano, 1954
Eruption of Kīlauea volcano, 1954 / USGS, public domain
The Hawaiian Islands belong to the most remote islands in the world. Hawaii are characterised by tropical climate, mountainous relief, volcanism and isolation. If compared to most islands in Pacific, several Hawaiian Islands have comparatively large landmass. All these factors have led to the development of numerous impressive and unique natural attractions and some impressive monuments of culture.

Waterfalls and rapids

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, Wikimedia Commons / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

Recommended books

Lonely Planet Best of Hawaii

Ancient Sites of Maui, Molokai and Lanai

This informative and easy-to-follow guidebook makes the ancient sites of Maui, Molokai and Lanai available to the general public for the first time. Grouping th sites by location, the book characterizes the cultural background of five main types of sites: heiau (temples), pohaku (sacred stones), petroglyphs, caves and fishponds.

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