Waipio Valley is one of the great coastal valleys on the north side of the Big Island.
You can make this a part of your scenic drive around the Big Island!
Waipio Valley is among the famous views of the Big Island that you’ve probably seen.
And you can get those famous views with a short walk from the parking area.
So, there’s no real hiking involved if you want to see the grand coastal views from above!
But if you do want to get some more views, there’s a road near the Waipio Valley Lookout that goes down to sea level where there’s a beach.
BUT, this isn’t just any road! It’s a STEEP road, and it’s one of the Big Island roads in which a 4wd is required.
Or, if you won’t be renting a jeep or some other 4×4 vehicle, or you just don’t want to drive it, then you can also hike down to sea level!
Even if you’re not interested in walking all the way down to the beach, if you hike for 10 minutes or so (or less) you can get to another great lookout spot of coastal views.
So to hike to this second Waipio Valley lookout, you may want to give yourself a total of 30 minutes or so round trip. (The way back is UP so it might take a little longer!)
IMPORTANT!!! Waipio Valley Road is CLOSED.
As of spring 2022, Waipio Valley Road is CLOSED due to a “geotechnical assessment.”
Waipio Valley Road is the “BEYOND” part, the road beyond the Waipio Valley Lookout.
You do NOT need to drive (or hike) Waipio Valley Road in order to go to the Waipio Valley Lookout.
So you can still go see the famous Waipio Valley from above.
You just can’t go beyond the Waipio Valley Lookout if Waipio Valley Road is closed.
Check for updates before you go.
At some point in the future, Waipio Valley Road may be accessible to tourists through a Waipio Valley tour.
More below about driving to the Waipio Valley Lookout parking area!
Here are some ideas for your time on the Big Island!
Among the most popular things to do on the Big Island are Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls State Park, and Waipio Valley!
For Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the main road to drive is Chain of Craters Road and it will take you to see the best lava fields in Hawaii! Before that though (or after!) you will want to make a stop for the Thurston lava tube. You can also hike into a former lava lake by doing the Kilauea Iki Trail!
Other Big Island activities you may want to make time for are the best black sand beaches in Hawaii (including Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles maybe!) and the Papakolea green sand beach of Hawaii.
Read more for your Hawaii trip prep:
Volcanoes in Hawaii: There was a time in December 2022 that 2 volcanoes were erupting in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This was a special occasion because even in the past few years, there was a quiet period where there was NO active lava to be seen anywhere in Hawaii. As the National Park Service says, it was the first time in nearly 40 years that TWO volcanoes were erupting in Hawaii at the same time! But what seems like nearly just like that, they stopped erupting. As it goes with volcanoes, things can change in an instant! So be sure to check National Park Service updates when your Big Island trip gets closer: What's going on with the volcanoes?
Spotted yesterday at #MaunaLoa – a lava boat rides the waves! On Dec 7, a lava boat was spotted floating down channel. Lava boats can form when portions of the cone or lava channel break away & are rafted downstream. Hot lava cools to its surface to create that smooth exterior. pic.twitter.com/D9gdoFolfq— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) December 9, 2022
Here’s a bit of what the Waipio Valley Lookout is like!
Waipio Valley is in the far north of the Big Island, and a spot where not many other things are located. Waipio Valley is a part of the Hilo Hamakua Heritage Coast.
Waipio Valley is basically the one end of this Hilo Hamakua Heritage Coast, with the town of Hilo being the other end!
Hilo to Waipio Valley is about a 1 hour drive, maybe just a little bit more.
Kailua-Kona to Waipio Valley is about a 1.5 hour drive.
The day that you go to Waipio Valley, you can make it a valley lookout kind of day! You can visit the Waipio Valley lookout and the Pololu Valley lookout on the same day.
The drive between these two valley lookouts is around 1.5 hours.
Both of these valley lookouts are also the starting location of hikes down to beach, so you can also make it a one day of hiking to the Big Island valley beaches too!
Trip to Waipio Valley Lookout
As you are driving, once you get closer, you’ll start to see signs for Waipio and Waipio Valley.
Then once you get even closer to the Waipio Valley lookout, you may start to see cars parked along the side of the road.
And then basically you will be driving to a dead end.
There’s a small parking lot at the end of the road. If you will only be going to the Waipio Valley lookout, or if you will later be driving down to the Waipio Valley beach, then you can look for parking in the parking lot. Because this parking lot is reserved for 30-minute parking, if you’ll be hiking, you don’t want to park here.
If you will be hiking, or if the parking lot at the end of the road is full, you can park along the side of the road before that dead end parking lot too. Watch out for the “no parking” signs here.
And then from the Waipio Valley parking lot, you’ll see the short path down to the Waipio Valley lookout! There are also bathrooms near the Waipio Valley lookout.
Take the trail to the Waipio Valley Lookout and take in the views!
After you have taken in views from the Waipio Valley lookout, you can then head down the road to Waipio Valley beach that you’ll see near the lookout, or head out for another Big Island activity!
See things to do in Hilo and more things to do on the Big Island!
And that’s a bit about what you’ll see from the Waipio Valley Lookout parking area!
If you’re interested in the Waipio Valley Lookout, you may also be interested in these Big Island activities:
- Waipio Valley beach
- Pololu Valley Lookout
- Pololu Valley beach
- Akaka Falls loop trail
- Kua Bay
- Kealakekua Bay
HAPPY DRIVING TO THE WAIPIO VALLEY LOOKOUT!
See the list:
- Things to do on the Big Island (for VIEWS!)
- Things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Things to do in Kona
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