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10 Things You Might Not Know About Big Island’s Waipi’o Valley

Waipi’o Valley is one of the Big Island’s most special treasures, adored by locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re hiking or 4-wheel driving to hang out at the beach all day, searching for wild horses, or just admiring this awe-inspiring place from the lookout, there is so much to love. Its natural beauty is just the beginning of what Waipi’o Valley holds, however. Get to know more about the history, both cultural and natural, of this incredible place.

 10 Fun Facts About Waipi’o Valley

  • Waipiʻo means ‘Curved Water’ in the Hawaiian language.
  • Often called ‘The Valley of the Kings’, Waipiʻo Valley was the home of King Kamehameha I and was the residence of many early Hawaiian Aliʻi (kings).
  • The road down to the valley is the steepest road of its length in the United States with a 25% grade for the entirety of its 900-foot descent, in less than one mile.
  • There are cliffs on both sides of the valley rich with vegetation, reaching almost 2000 feet.
  • The valley is filled with hundreds of waterfalls, both small and large, including one of Hawaii’s most celebrated waterfalls – Hiʻilawe Falls, which is 1,300 feet high.

  • The valley once had churches, restaurants, and schools, but in 1946 a tsunami swept far back into the valley.
  • Annual rainfall at Waipiʻo Valley averages between 140 to 175 inches of rain per year.
  • It is said that many kings are buried here and that their mana, or divine power, remain for protection.
  • 4,000 to as many as 10,000 people lived in Waipiʻo during the times before the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778, according to oral histories.
  • Since ancient times, Waipiʻo Valley has an abundant supply of water which cultivates the wetland taro.
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