Waipio Valley is a valley located in the Hamakua District of the Big Island of Hawaii. “Waipio” means “curved water” in the Hawaiian language.
It was the capital and permanent residence of many early Hawaiian kings up until the time of King `Umi. A place celebrated for its red pepper tree known as the “Nioi wela o Pa`akalana” (The burning Nioi of Pa`akalana).
The valley floor at sea level is almost 2000 feet (610 meters) below the surrounding terrain. A steep road (25% average grade) leads down into the valley from a lookout point located on the top of the southern wall of the valley. The shore line in the valley is a black sand beach, popular with surfers. A few taro farms are located in the valley. Several large waterfalls fall into the valley to feed the river which flows from the foot of the largest falls at the back of the valley out to the ocean.
Take HWY 19 or 11 towards Honokaa. Turn onto HWY 240 into Honokaa town. The road ends at the Waipio Valley Lookout. Be prepared to be speechless!