Every guidebook mentions Waipi'o Valley along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island as a 'must do!' itinerary item. Deemed the Valley of the Kings because at one time many rulers did call it home, it’s also the largest valley on the Kohala coast measuring a mile wide at the coastline and almost six miles deep. Visiting is not easy. First of all, it’s a residential area comprised of private land -owned by the Bishop Estate as well as private homeowners. While the number of residents today pale in comparison to the density of 4,000 who worked and worshiped here decades ago, there are still dozens of full time residents, and if you take the wrong turn, you’re in their driveway. I’d recommend two approaches, the first going with an official tour group and secondly parking at the top of the road and walking down.
I added a video (just learning iMovie) and neither reflect the fact that I could barely breath as I navigated streams, mud pools and the 25% grade access road. Full disclosure, my off-roading experience tops off at going over curbs in my Eurovan in a tight turn, but I think anyone would agree that these roads are not easy to navigate Also it turns out that most rental companies don't allow people to take their cars to Waipio Valley... oops.
If you want to go on your own, my suggestion is to park in the lot at the lookout, hide any valuables and lock your car. The hike down to the beach should take just under an hour and a solid hour to get back up the hill. And if you are planning to cool off in the ocean - be careful these waters are notoriously rough. Did I mention the INSANE beauty?
How to get there:
Hwy. 240, 8 miles northwest of the town of Honokaa. Follow the road through town, it will end a the Waipio Valley Lookout.