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Waipi'o Black Sand Beach

big island/hamakua

48-5561A Waipio Valley Rd
Honokaa, 96727

Waterfalls, Hiking

Hours of Operation:

    8 AM - 6 PM
Waterfalls, Hiking

Waipi'o Black Sand Beach

The Big Island's Breathtaking Beach

Visiting Waipio Black Sand Beach is like stepping into a timeless realm, where nature's beauty is at its most pure and untamed. A few hours of relaxation on this beach can reinvigorate your spirit, while the hike to reach it provides an excellent workout. Nestled in the Hamakua District on the northern shore of the Big Island of Hawaii, Waipio Valley derives its name from the Hawaiian language, with "Waipio" meaning "curved water," a reference to the meandering streams that wind through the valley.

This awe-inspiring beachfront has served as a backdrop for numerous films, its scenery genuinely breathtaking. The valley's shoreline boasts a soft black sand beach, a product of the ocean's sculpting of basaltic lava over time. While the beach's beauty is captivating, it offers no amenities and limited water-related activities. If you seek a quintessential Hawaiian beach day, you may want to savor the panoramic view from the lookout point and then explore some of the Big Island's more popular beaches.

To reach Waipio Black Sand Beach, embark on Waipio Road, accessible only on foot. Take the dirt road branching to the right, leading toward the ocean. This path traverses a wooded area with views of taro patches to your left. Lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of Waipio's magnificent wild horses, though be mindful of their presence on the path. Allow about 10 minutes to reach the beach on a relatively dry day, and allocate more time if recent rains have created large puddles. As you approach the beach, the path veers left through an Ironwood tree grove, planted to provide windbreak protection. Some areas here are designated as burial sites and hold sacred significance, with signs prohibiting camping. The addition of portable restrooms enhances the visitor experience and hygiene. Please refrain from drinking water from the streams, as they may contain leptospirosis bacteria due to the presence of feral animals in the valley.

Waipio Valley Road, which provides access to the valley from a lookout point at its summit, offers an overlooking view of the valley floor. This paved public road is open only to 4-wheel drive vehicles, and most rental vehicles are not equipped for it, with rental contracts generally prohibiting entry into the valley. Remarkably steep, Waipio Valley Road is the steepest road of its length in the United States.

The beach is bisected by the Wailoa Stream into a Northern and a Southern beach. Crossing this stream can be challenging and should only be attempted during low tide and when it's not raining, as flash floods and strong currents may pose risks. Stay informed about the current conditions, as they can change rapidly. The Northern beach area features Kaluahine Falls and Waiulili Falls, which become visible during periods of substantial rainfall.

Waipio Black Sand Beach is not ideal for swimming or snorkeling due to its potent currents and high surf. However, it remains popular among highly skilled surfers. Visitors often spend their time here relaxing along the shore, observing the mighty waves, and exploring the surrounding coastline. For those who venture to the beach's southern end, you can embark on the initial section of the Muliwai Trail, leading to the Waimanu Valley.

Waipi'o Black Sand BeachThe Big Island's Breathtaking BeachVisiting Waipio Black Sand Beach is like ....

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