by B. N. Sullivan
This is the mouth of the Waipiʻo Valley, situated on the northeastern coast of Hawaii's Big Island, in the Hamakua district. The remote valley is historically important as the childhood home of King Kamehameha I, but we think its greatest virtue is its stunning natural beauty. The valley is about a mile wide at the coast, and is surrounded by steep cliffs that rise up to 2,000 feet from the valley floor. Waipiʻo Valley extends inland for roughly five miles, and features hiking trails, streams, and waterfalls -- including the 1,300 foot high Hiʻilawe Falls.
This photo was taken from the Waipiʻo Valley Overlook. From this vantage point you can see the surf breaking on the black sand beach that forms the seaward edge of the valley. The Overlook is near the top of the narrow, rugged road that descends into the valley. Not only is the sole road into Waipiʻo Valley narrow, it is very steep -- a 25% grade -- requiring four-wheel drive. It takes about a half hour to carefully descend into the valley from this overlook point.
As residents of Hawaii's Big Island, we may be prejudiced, but one thing we can say about our island home is that it's a feast for the eyes, don't you think?