This is a beautiful hike and we were so lucky to be able to view this amazing waterfall. Not only is this a beautiful trail but it is fun and unpredictable. The trail is on private land so please be quite and respectful to the owners. Also make sure there is no flooding going on during this time, there are river crossings on this trail.
The hike starts at the top of the Waipio lookout pictured below.
The road is very very steep going down and hard on the knees, there were parts where I was zig-zaging and walking backwards to save them. At about 0.8 miles the road turns and keeps going downward towards Waipio beach. Instead of following this down keep going straight along Waipio Valley Rd. Keep following this past some of the houses until you reach the river crossing. It is along the edge of the river you will see a small trail.
Follow this trail down through the jungle until you reach the end…and then its into the river! This trail is in no way consistent and there is more than one way to get to the end. Basically if the trail is ended by a large cliff, chances are you must cross the river. I think we crossed the river about 3 times. There are trails on both sides of the river and if all else fails just stay in the river and wade up.
I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH : Please be quite and respectful on the trail. Do not have loud conversations, it is likely you will be confronted and kicked out by land owners.
What we did: once we got to the large pool of water we got in and hung to the right for a few feet (most people say to hang to the left and climb the boulders) after a few feet look up for a small trail and climb up once you find it. This trail is very nice and is much better than the ones others have described on the right. after this part it is a bit of a blur crossing back and forth on the river.
Other posts I have read about this trail have talked about scrambling over slick boulders. Maybe we got lucky and it was dry, but we did not encounter this on our trail. The boulders we encountered were not in the river and were relatively easy to hop from one to another.
(sorry for lack of pictures! this was such a fun trail we didn’t want to stop!)
finally you will arrive at the falls!
Make sure to bring your swimsuit! It is a great place to swim around, people even climb up and jump off!
follow the trail back the same way you came and go visit the beach! On your way back up the road try hitchhiking back up…maybe you’ll get lucky! We unfortunately we did not get lucky, but one of my friends scored a beer from someone driving down! (the elevation change along this road is about 1000 feet for the small 0.8 miles up)
I will leave you with a beautiful picture I took of Waipio Valley halfway up the Z-trail