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Top 12 waterfalls in Molokai

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

Volcanoes, rain, and ocean in the north-eastern part of the beautiful Hawaiian island of Molokai have created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

Volcanic activity over the last 1.5 million years has created mountains here. Summit of East Molokai volcano (1,514 m high) gets a lot more rain than the western part of Molokai island – approximately 4,000 mm per year – thus the rainwater has cut spectacular valleys in the volcanic shield and formed very tall, nearly vertical ridges. Rain maintains lush vegetation – even very steep slopes here are covered with an emerald green cover of plants. Waves of the Pacific have washed out the volcanic shield, creating spectacular cliffs.

All of this facilitates the development of countless tall waterfalls.

Map of the 12 waterfalls in Molokai

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WorldYellow About the waterfalls of Molokai

Falling directly in ocean

Northeastern part of Molokai is adorned with extremely high cliffs towering above the sea up to 1,010 meters high. These cliffs belong to highest seaside cliffs of the world. Such cliffs ending abruptly in the sea Hawaiians called "na pali" – sea cliffs.

Most impressive are two sections of these cliffs containing some of the highest waterfalls in the world.

The tallest cliffs – Haloku Cliffs – are located in some 4 – 5 km long section between the Pelekunu and Wailau valleys. These cliffs contain numerous extremely tall falls, though four falls stand out (from west to east):

Just some 4 km to the east there are the next high sea cliffs rising some 750 – 800 m high. These cliffs contain the very impressive Kahiwa Falls (˜660 m tall) with numerous tall jumps along the basalt cliff.

When the wind is strong, Kahiwa Falls do not fall into the ocean – wind catches the water and rises it up again.

White ribbons in green valleys

Papalaua Falls with two streams - one of the greatest waterfalls in Molokai
Papalaua Falls, two streams / S.Kaiser, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Some of the most impressive waterfalls though are located further inland, at the far end of very deep, emerald green valleys. Contrary to seaside waterfalls, these falls of valleys in general are less subject to seasonal changes, they are perennial and more powerful.

These falls are (in the order of height):

 

Links

 

Other articles about waterfalls

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01

Haha Falls

3.6 out of 10 stars 35.5%

Some 240 m tall fall, one of seven tall waterfalls at the upper rim of Kamalo Canyon.

02

Haloku Falls

4.1 out of 10 stars 39.8%

Approximately 700 m high seasonal waterfall which falls directly into Pacific Ocean.

Lower part of Haloku Falls, Moloka'i
03

Hina Falls

3.7 out of 10 stars 37.0%

380 m tall fall, one of seven tall waterfalls at the upper rim of Kamalo Canyon.

04

Hipuapua Falls

4 out of 10 stars 39.8%

Approximately 152 – 160 m tall horsetail falls with a single drop.

Halawa Valley with Moa'ula (to the left) and Hipuapua Falls (to the right)
05

Kahiwa Falls

4.1 out of 10 stars 40.8%

Roughly 660 m high waterfall with 6 drops up to 183 m high. Waterfall almost directly falls into the Pacific Ocean. Strong winds can raise the waterfall up in the air.

Lower part of Kahiwa Falls, Molokai
06

Moa’ula Falls

3.8 out of 10 stars 38.3%

Picturesque horsetail fall with at least 7 drops. Last two drops are around 76 m tall.

Moa'ula Falls from the air. Far right side shows a glimpe of Hipuapua Falls
07

Mo’oloa Falls

3.8 out of 10 stars 38.3%

440 m tall fall, one of seven tall waterfalls at the upper rim of Kamalo Canyon.

08

Olo’upena Falls

4 out of 10 stars 40.0%

Some 900 m high seasonal waterfall which falls directly into the Pacific ocean. One of the tallest known waterfalls in the world.

Lower part of Olo'upena Falls. Haloku Falls seen in the right side
09

Papalaua Falls

4.2 out of 10 stars 41.8%

501 m high waterfall with 5 drops, tallest drop is 340 m high. Located at the far end of deep, very impressive valley.

Papalaua Falls from the air, Hawaii
10

Pu’uka’oku Falls

4.1 out of 10 stars 41.3%

Roughly 840 m high seasonal waterfall that falls directly into Pacific Ocean.

Pu'uka'oku Falls from above, marked with red arrow
11

Wailele Falls, Molokai

3.7 out of 10 stars 37.3%

Some 580 m high seasonal waterfall, falling almost directly into Pacific Ocean.

Wailele Falls near the centre. Lower part of Pu'uka'oku Falls are seen in the right side
12

Waimanu Falls, Molokai

4 out of 10 stars 39.8%

Approximately 550 m high waterfall, the tallest drop – 120 m.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Moloka’i: A Novel


This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai’i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place—and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

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 the 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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