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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
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

WorldBlue  In short

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).

4 out of 10 stars 39.8%

GPS coordinates
21.1550 N 156.7677 W
Location, 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

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Description

Hipuapua falls are easily seen from Highway 450. Walk to the waterfall takes approximately one and a half hours 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 the 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 a 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 a 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. A walk through the valley though reveals signs of the past: it leads along with 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!).

References

  1. Hipuapua Falls. World Waterfall Database.
  2. Hipuapua Falls. HawaiiWeb.com.
  3. Hipuapua Falls. World of Waterfalls. Accessed on June 7, 2010

Hipuapua Falls are included in the following article:

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