Waiānuenue (Rainbow Falls) – Hilo, Hawaii - Atlas Obscura

Waiānuenue (Rainbow Falls)

This legendary urban waterfall creates a dazzling display of rainbows. 


This breathtaking 80-foot waterfall is located inside Wailuku River State Park, which is located in the city of Hilo. The natural wonder was thought to be the home of the Hawaiian moon goddess known as Hina. Legend has it that Hina lives in the lava cave behind the falls, only coming out on certain nights. 

The falls are known as Waiānuenue in the native Hawaiian language. The word roughly translates to “rainbow water,” and it’s easy to see why.

Almost every morning at around 10 a.m., the falls produce a dazzling series of rainbows. The falls provide a peaceful oasis and a reminder of the Big Island’s deep connection to Hawaiian mythology. 

Know Before You Go

The best view of the falls can be had by climbing up a steep set of rocky stairs to a viewing area. It's popular with both tourists and locals, although locals tend to go earlier in the morning or later in the day to avoid the crowds. 

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