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Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Free admission
Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawaii

The Basics

Located in Wailuku River State Park, Rainbow Falls—surrounded by lush greenery and basalt lava rock—draws in visitors staying on the island, stopping by on a cruise, or hopping over from another Hawaiian island. You can visit the falls on a tour that also includes nearby Akaka Falls and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Waterfall chasers can take a guided tour of the Big Island’s top waterfalls, including Rainbow, while thrill-seekers can book an adventure tour that combines helicopter flights and ziplining.

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Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
star-4.5
$153.34 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Great Island Experience!!
This excursion was so much more than we expected. We had just the right amount of time at each location. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the locations and history of the islands. I would highly recommend this tour!
David_N, Feb 2020

Recent reviews from experiences in Big Island of Hawaii

star-4
7 hour tour day
Ryan_C, Feb 2020
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
5 hour tour turned into a 7 hour tour. Our guide Giovanni was very friendly and welcoming. We saw the Volcano Park, Rainbow Falls, Mauna Loa factory, black Sand Beach and an Orchid nursery. We could of went without the Orchid stop as it was like visiting a Home Depot nursery. It was a long day but worth our while.
star-5
Volcano tour, upfront and personal
Ckc, Feb 2020
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcano Safari Lava Caves, Falls & Highlights Small Group
The tour guides made us feel like Ohana. Very informative. Locals reminded us to respect the aina. We enjoyed this tour immensely!
star-5
Hilo 6 hrs
donsandyloughry, Feb 2020
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
We were very pleased with the tour our driver was a gem bus “me” with Edmund He was sure a good driver/tour guide
star-5
Great Day Trip
Michael_D, Nov 2019
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
The Hilo tour was fantastic. Black sand beach was beautiful. Then a stop at Orchid nursery. Volcanoes National Park was impressive. Moana Loa macadamia nut factory had some reasonable prices. All in all a great day.even with some rain.
star-5
Awesome day
Andy H, Oct 2019
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
This was a fabulous trip. To call Chris our tour guide would be selling him short. He became our zoologist, our botanist, our geologist and Hawaiian language consultant. He managed to pack-in about five attractions for the price of one, and made them all fun. This was a terrific day trip. Thanks to all who were involved!
star-5
Fantastic Tour
Voyage16302919350, Jun 2019
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
This tour was our favorite of the entire cruise vacation. Dre, our guide, was so informative and fun. He made the day so special and enjoyable. The tour is a small group, traveling to many places along the way.to and from the National Park. There is ample time to see everything without feeling rushed. Do yourself a favor, book this trip and ask for Dre!
star-4
Hilo, Hawaii
HLouis_O, May 2019
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
My husband and I were with 10 other people. Enjoyed the excursion overall. Sites very crowded. No rainbow at falls. Hard to look. Very crowded. Enjoyed seeing Volcanoes National Park after 30 years last visit. The orchids stop was beautiful.
star-5
Hilo tour volcanoes ,orchids, black sand and nuts
Pete_S, Apr 2019
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
Giovanni was a knowledgable and very helpful and enthusiastic guide. We saw a whole variety of sights and aspects of the Island .
star-5
Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure
Barbara_L, Apr 2019
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
This Adventure was so much fun! The staff members on the boat were very helpful and reassuring. Their directions were very precise. A great way to see the ocean from down below! (This was our version of snorkeling/scuba diving.) The photographer took some awesome pictures and video. Such nice people!
star-4
Good excursion for the right price.
Maria_W, Nov 2018
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
Reasonable price. Great tour with Paul. Funny and informative; showed us the highlights of the island.
star-5
Great tour on Hilo
Edie_P, Feb 2020
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
If you take this excursion, and I highly recommend it, make sure you sign up with Giovanni as your guide. He is very knowledgeable and shares well researched and interesting facts about the island. He also has a very personal connection to the island, which you will discover when you take the tour. The tour is a lot of on-and-off the bus but it is a great way to see a lot of highlights... Rainbow Falls, orchid farm, macadamia nut farm where you can purchase lunch and shop at the same time. BTW you can have purchases shipped home for you. Two different volcano craters and a stop at a black sand beach made it a very enjoyable day! Highly recommend this tour and most especially Giovanni!
star-4
Hits the Higlights
Michael_D, Jan 2020
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
This tour hits the major "must-see" items near Hilo. Volcano National Park, Rainbow Falls, Macadamia Nut Farms...etc. Our tour guide Giovanni was great and told fun stories and had first hand experience of the recent eruption. Even though there is no active lava flows, the volcanoes were an amazing sight. The only negative was that if you are staying at the Hotels, this excursion picks up cruise shippers. Our cruise shippers were cantankerous, needing canes, complaining about bus temps, and requiring extra bathroom breaks. If you can avoid a cruise ship day I would highly recommend.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Rainbow Falls is a great stop for nature lovers, photographers, and first-time visitors to the Big Island.

  • Rainbows are visible at the falls only on sunny days after a rain, and then the river is at certain water levels.

  • The main viewing platform is wheelchair accessible via a short paved path; the upper overlook is accessible only by steep stairs.

  • Legend has it that the basalt cave behind Rainbow Falls is the home of ancient goddess Hina.

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How to Get There

Rainbow Falls is 2 miles (3 kilometers) from downtown Hilo. From Hilo, head west on Waianuenue Avenue and turn right onto Rainbow Drive. From the parking lot, it is a .2-mile (.3-kilometer) walk to the first (and most popular) viewing platform. A steep set of stairs leads to the viewing platform atop the falls.

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Trip ideas


When to Get There

The state park is open during daylight hours. The best time to visit the falls is in the morning on a sunny day, when chances are good for catching rainbows. Early mornings are also best for beating the crowds, which frequently arrive on tour buses between 10am and 2pm.

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How to Photograph the Rainbows at Rainbow Falls

The first viewing platform at Rainbow Falls is a popular spot for nature photographers to capture rainbows against the lush greenery and turquoise water. If you want to catch the magical colors on camera, time your visit before 10am on a sunny day after a recent rain. If the river is too low there will not be enough water to generate the mist needed to create rainbows; if it is too high, the water will be muddy and the sky rainbowless.

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