Hiking or riding into the valley is the headline activity in Waipi‘o. For more adventure, you can ride horses, ATVs or a mule-drawn wagon in the valley. Note that some tours navigate the valley floor, while others explore the top of the valley – different experiences, both worthy. If you have any questions, stop at the Information Booth, which is staffed during daylight hours and located near the parking lot.
Waipi‘o beach isn't swimmable for most people due to rip currents and treacherous undertow. Only expert local surfers dare to challenge the waves. Experienced sea kayakers can arrange custom tours with Plenty Pupule in Kona.
If you are hiking on your own, it is strongly advised that you stick to established trails and avoid trespassing on private property if you enter the valley. You can explore Waipiʻo Beach and take the King’s Trail to Nanaue Falls, but go no further, unless you pay for a tour (and even those are limited in range). Hiking along Waipiʻo Stream to Hiʻilawe is no longer recommended as you must either traverse private land or walk in the stream itself, which is difficult and somewhat hazardous. For the average person the beach and the King’s Trail are enough. Avid outdoors people can trek over the ridge toward Waimanu on the Muliwai Trail.
Less-experienced hikers should consider exploring Waipiʻo backcountry with a tour. Not only are they safer, but they allow venturing into otherwise inaccessible areas.
It is always important to leave no trace when hiking, and this is particularly critical in pristine, sacred places such as Waipiʻo Valley. Inexcusably, some people stick their garbage into crevices in the lava-rock walls surrounding the campsites. This attracts roaches and other pests. Some even abandon unneeded gear in the valley: tents, mattress pads, beach chairs, reef shoes, rope, canned goods – you name it. Always carry out what you carry in.
Muliwai Trail Safety
- Streams in the valley are subject to flash floods during heavy rains. Don't cross waters above knee level.
- Don't drink unboiled or untreated water; leptospirosis is present.
- Beware of wasps and centipedes.
- Bring a signal device for emergencies, as sightseeing helicopters regularly pass the area.