Waimea Valley


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Waimea Valley was  known as “the valley of the priests” in the time of the ancient Hawaiians as it was home to the Kahuna Nui (high priests.)  It was the site of first contact between the Hawaiians on Oahu and European explorers in search of fresh water. This encounter did not go well and ended with the execution of the HMS Daedalus’ captain.


Today Waimea Valley is a park that includes several historical structures. It is also home to botanical gardens and a waterfall with a swimming hole. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of the waterfall.


The trail to the waterfall is about a mile on a wide path through the botanical gardens, with many signs naming the various tropical plants. On the day that we were there, a section of the trail was blocked off because a movie crew was there filming Jumanji 2.


In its modern history, Waimea Valley was a County Park and then was managed by the National Audubon Society for five years. In 2008,  Hi’ipaka LLC, a non-profit organization created by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs took over management of the park.


When I’d visited in the eighties, swimming in the deep pool at the base of the 45 foot waterfall was a free-for-all and a little scary to me at the time. On this visit, we were handed life vests before we could go in the water. Apparently, there have been drownings, so the rules have changed.


Oahu Posts:


Location: 2055 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

Designation: Military Reservation

Date established/designated: circa 1904

Date of my visit: April 2019



15 thoughts on “Waimea Valley

  1. A beautiful spot, for sure. We visited here once in the early 2,000’s with our sons. They also had traditional hula dancers and cliff divers, if I recall. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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