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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Best Big Island Hiking 2

Dear Hawaii lovers,
Good news for our recent 'Best Hawaii sunset photos'. Hawaii vacation home owners loved to share their very own sunset photos, unique in each way as you can see, and Hawaii visitors enjoyed viewing them. What is a Hawaii vacation without a sunset photo!

We are ready to 'hele on' with more Best Big Island hiking, as promised on our post 'Best Big Island Hiking1', which showed you photos of Pololu Valley and talked about hiking Pololu Valley. Here is the sequel 'Best Big Island Hiking 2', which will tell you a lot about Waipio Valley hikes. This order is not according to its relevance. It's just that we had to start with one Valley. Believe me both our Big Island Valleys, Pololu and Waipio Valley, are of unique beauty and are a Big Island hikers' delight.

Waipio Valley Lookout
Waipio Valley located on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawai'i, is the largest and southernmost of the seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains. Waipi'o is a mile wide at the coast and almost six miles deep. At the coast there is a beautiful black sand beach. On either side of the valley are cliffs reaching almost 2000 feet affording views of cascading waterfalls during the rainy season.

Looking into Waipio Valley from Lookout
How can Big Island visitors explore Waipio Valley? the easiest way is driving your car on Hwy 19 to Honokaa where life seems to have stood still with all the the small retail stores along Main Street. After your Honokaa town tour, follow the signs to Waipio Valley which you can't miss as Waipio Valley Lookout is at the end of the road. Fun part is even if you come on a cloudy day, as we did when I took these photos last year, you will always be able to snap some great photos of Waipio Valley from the Lookout with the steep coastal cliffs as a backdrop.

Expansive ocean views from Waipio Valley Lookout
Provided you are in good shape, you can walk down into the valley but remember you have always to make it back up and it's steep. Only 4x4 can make it down into Waipio Valley. The valley will reward you with some amazing views and adventures. Waipio Valley is also a favorite spot for local surfers who love to ride the tough surf there. The higher, the better! That's when the TV reporter says 'Don't try this at home!'. Better stick with the horseback riding or Wagon tours. Most of them pick you up at Waipio Valley Lookout, take you into the valley and start the adventure there.

Keoki walking White Rd trail enjoying Mauna Kea viewes
Our favorite Waipio Valley hike has always been White Rd hike in the past. A hike which starts at some cattle meadows with stunning views of snow-covered Mauna Kea summit in winter and leads through singing bamboo, 'jungly' forest with wild colorful impatients, bottle brush trees and lots of ferns along the trails. After a modest hike of about 45 minutes, the scenery suddenly opens and you can just stand there in awe and utter 'Wow'. You will be standing on a small narrow trail of the valley rim, high above the valley, allowing magnificent views of the ocean and the waterfalls across the valley. Hikers' boots recommended when going further!

Waipio Valley cliffs with waterfalls
Unfortunately, White Rd hike, which has always been a special recommendation in Big Island hiking books, is now only available through HawaiianWalkways hiking tours, which made arrangements with the land owner. We don't know what exactly happened but the owner of the private land does not allow the general public to use this trail anymore. If you are not a lover of guided hiking tours, you may still access Waipio Valley rim from a different route starting in Waimea. Waimea residents, who love to hike, will tell you.

Waipio Valley views from rim with glimpses of blue ocean
That's it for today with Big Island hiking Waipio Valley. What's your best Big Island hiking experience? Let us know. Mahalo and aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations
Please, also visit our 'July Carnival of Aloha' which is hosted by Evelyn from 'Homespun Honolulu' and brings together our Hawaii blog ohana.

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