Rainbow Falls is one of the Big Island’s most spectacular waterfalls. Located just above Hilo town, the falls are also known as Waianuenue which means “Rainbow water” in Hawaiian. The name refers to the colorful rainbows seen in the mornings in the mists created by the waterfall as it plunges 80 feet (24 m).
The waterfall plunges into a large pool in a steep gorge lush with vegetation. Rainbow Falls span about 100 feet across depending upon recent rainfall.
Located along the Wailuku River in Wailuku River State Park, the turquoise pool and cascading falls are set amidst the jungle-like tropical foliage providing a nice sight. A viewing platform provides an optimal location to watch the water gushing down the mountain.
The cave in the lava beneath the Waianuenue Falls is said to be the home of the Hawaiian goddess Hina. Swimming is not allowed in the pool due to safety concerns.
A hike upstream leads to an area known as Boiling Pots where the water rushes through the layers of old lava and bubbles to the service in a series of “pots.” Five convulsing spouts of water to the left of Boiling Pots are known as Pe’e Pe’e Falls.