For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE!
Note: Despite our enthusiasm in the video it turns out we didn’t actually find Narnia. Guess we will have to plan a return trip to the Big Island to find the true location of Narnia. This guide will give you the details of our hike and where we went in our failed attempt.
Hawaii is well known for many things, one of those being beautiful waterfalls. On our search for Narnia we stumbled across a swimming hole with spectacular waterfalls. It was somewhat off the beaten path and consisted of four 30ft high narrow waterfalls that all pour into the same pool. Even though it wasn’t Narnia, it was a relatively easy hike and would be worth checking out.
Time Required: 1 hour
Location: East side of Big Island upstream of Rainbow Falls
Distance: 2km round trip
Elevation Gain: 50ft
Difficulty: 5/10 – Route finding, Rapid elevation drop to base of falls.
Season: Year Round
Additional Requirements: N/A
From Hilo: If you have Google maps, try putting in Wailuku River Falls. This is the approximate location of the trailhead. If it doesn’t come up, follow Waianuenue Ave and you will come to a bridge. The bridge is about 1.8 miles (2.9km) passed the Hilo Medical Center. Pull over just passed the bridge and park safely off the road. The trailhead is nearby.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes.
- Water: Hawaii is hot and humid. It is easy to become dehydrated when hiking.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: Bring a swimsuit. On a nice day swimming in the pools makes the hike very worthwhile.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
- Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Flash Floods: This area of the Big Island receives over 100 inches of rain annually. Heavy rains can cause flash floods in streams and rivers. If there is flooding and fast-moving water, attempting to swim or cross streams and rivers can be very dangerous and potentially fatal.
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary: On our search for Narnia we wanted to check out Rainbow Falls first. The trailheads for Narnia and Rainbow Falls are only about ten minutes apart (we think) so if you haven’t seen Rainbow Falls its worth stopping. Further up the road the waterfalls and swimming pool we reached were a short 1km hike in through dense bamboo forest. Once you reach the falls you will have to scurry your way down to the base of the falls which can be difficult.
We recommend checking out Rainbow Falls (Route marker #1 on the map) before making your way up. Rainbow Falls is a very well-known touristy attraction. Take the turn of onto Rainbow Dr. from Waianeuneu Ave. You will see a parking lot and a paved path with signs directing you where to go. It’s hard to miss.
Once you’ve seen enough of Rainbow Falls, get back in your vehicle and drive west down Waianuenue Ave for 2.1 miles (3.3km) until you cross a bridge. This bridge crosses the Wailuku River which feeds Pe’epe’e Falls and Rainbow Falls. Park your car on the shoulder just passed the bridge. Get out and enjoy the view of a beautiful waterfall upstream.
Now for the hike to Narnia (or so we thought)! If you are standing in the middle of the bridge facing upstream, the trail will enter the forest to your right, just past the bridge, and continue upstream along the ridge parallel with the Wailuku River. There will be a sign for where to enter. As you’re hiking along the trail towards the falls, you should keep the river to your left. Once you make it to the end of the trail you will be at the top of the large waterfall you could see from the bridge. To the right of that will be a pool with four waterfalls flowing into it (Route marker #3 on the map)! Take a look at the falls from the top to get an idea of how you will get down to the base.
To get down to the falls head back the same way you came, this time with the river on your right. About halfway back on that trail, keep your eyes open to the left and find a trail that leads down to a small creek that is the drainage from the waterfalls. Once you make your way to that creek, follow it up stream and feast your eyes upon some awesome waterfalls. Before getting in the water be aware of the flow rate. Water is powerful so unless you’re super confident, give the waterfalls some space.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
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Have fun out there!