Can you swim at Rainbow Falls Hawaii?

Want to Swim In Rainbow Falls, Hawaii? (Rules + Best Time)

In Hilo, Hawaii, there is a waterfall called Rainbow (Wainuenue) Falls. It is over 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter and 80 feet (24 meters) tall. Hawaii State Parks includes the waterfall. The falls are free to view. The Wailuku River thunders down Rainbow (Wainuenue) Falls and into a sizable lake below. The turquoise-colored pool is surrounded by stunning, non-native wild ginger, and the gorge is covered with a deep, luxuriant non-native tropical rainforest.

The waterfall, Wainuenue in Hawaiian, which means “rainbow water,” runs over a natural lava cave that was once the abode of the legendary Hawaiian goddess Hina. The rainbows that can be seen in the mist the waterfall produces on clear mornings at about 10 a.m. are what give Rainbow Falls its name. Want to swim at Rainbow Falls, Hawaii? Read on for all you need to know about swimming at Rainbow Falls. Here, we have shared a detailed Hawaii tourist safety guide. You can check it out.

Can you swim at Rainbow Falls Hawaii?

swim at Rainbow Falls Hawaii

The name of the Rainbow Falls in Hawaii comes from the beautiful rainbow that is produced when the sun reflects off the falls at just the perfect angle. Can you swim there? Wainuenue Falls, another name for it, is an 80-foot waterfall that is just amazing to watch. Or is all that at the end of the rainbow merely a pot of gold?

Swimming at Rainbow Falls is dangerous. Swimming at Rainbow Falls is not safe. However, when the river is quiet and the weather is dry, swimming in the pools above Rainbow Falls may be safe (at your own risk). However, how much rain fell upstream in the days before will determine this. The waterfalls could look like a trickle or be furious. The pools above the falls are safe for swimming but are not advertised as long as the weather is calm and dry and the river is not in flood season. Wading or swimming in waterfalls requires extreme caution because they are frequently subject to rapid flooding.


By taking the path to the top of Rainbow Falls Lookout, through the grove of banyan trees, and to the right back to the river, one can reach the river above. A smaller waterfall, numerous swimming holes, and boulders for sunbathing are also present. Do not approach Rainbow Falls’ edge, it is unsafe to swim on the edges. Boiling Pots and Rainbow Falls are both located within Wailuku River State Park.

Rainbow Falls

Infrastructure has been put in place that prevents people from swimming in the falls. In this location, there are no assigned lifeguards. Stay away from the waterfall’s edge. At the base of the waterfall at Rainbow Falls, there is a deep, wide pool that is 100 feet wide. Swimming is not forbidden or unlawful, but you should do so at your own risk.

Best weather to swim at Rainbow Falls, Hawaii

Best weather to swim at Rainbow Falls, Hawaii

The weather is usually moderate at this time of the year along with rains occuring time to time. The entire area looks breathtaking at this time of the year. From the overlook, you can turn left and enter a magnificent rainforest where a huge banyan tree can be found. A barely discernible route leads to the waterfall’s flow through Fahrne’s vibrant flowers and verdant surroundings. You can ascend to the base of the waterfall in the natural pools and sit right on the edge. Only when there is minimal water, though, because else the currents are too dangerous.

Precautions to take when swimming at Rainbow Falls

Avoid swimming in freshwaters, such as that which flows off the Rainbow Falls, if you have open wounds or cuts.
Furthermore, when people swim with their heads underwater, diseases can enter the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes. So, avoid getting water in your ears and mouth. Even though the early occupants of the island drank freshwater from the rivers and waterfalls, it is not advisable to drink waterfall water without first treating it with chemicals or boiling it.

Favorable Season to Visit Rainbow Falls:

Although the waterfall is open all year round, the best hours to see it is typically in the morning. Before the masses arrive and the parking lots fill up, the earlier the better. Since the observation deck is east of the waterfall, the proposed time makes sense. Therefore, one must be present when the sun rises in order to watch the rainbow form over the waterfall.

After a very heavy downpour is another popular time to travel. After that, countless gallons of water pour over the edge of the waterfall. This marvel produces a massive cascade that is breathtaking to see. Use caution because this is not the best time to go swimming.

Heavy rains at Rainbow Falls
Heavy rains at Rainbow Falls

Visitation is also best in the early morning and late afternoon, especially if you want to go hiking. You can avoid the crowds and the heat in this way. The greatest time to explore a cave would be before any significant downpours because these can obstruct the cave entrance. As proper illumination is required to examine the rock formations, early morning is optimal. The path leading to the cave entrance is rough and slick, therefore appropriate footwear is required.

Alternative Swimming Locations Near Rainbow Falls:

One of the waterfalls in the town of Hilo is called Rainbow Falls. Six Tons and Boiling Pots are the other two.

1. Boiling Pots:

Boiling Pots, Hawaii
Boiling Pots, Hawaii

Just a short distance separates Boiling Pots from Rainbow Falls upstream. Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots are both a component of Wailuku River State Park. This state park has no entrance fees, therefore visiting both areas is free. At Boiling Pots, lakes and lava rock formations are used as conduits for the water to flow downstream. The water rolls in and out of the pools, appearing to be boiling.

2. Six Tons:

Swimming is highly recommended at Six Tons. There is a little waterfall and swimming hole there. When the river is quiet, folks prefer to go to this location and have a cooling swim.

Other Waterfalls on the Big Island suitable for swimming

Umauma Falls:

Umauma Falls
Umauma Falls

Although it is on private land, the triple-tiered waterfall known as Umauma Falls is great for swimming. Visitors can explore this natural marvel while on the site by using the zipline and a variety of other experiences, including ATV and horseback riding.

Hi’ilawe Falls:

The 1,300-foot-tall Hi’ilawe Falls are situated on private land. And only from the air or through the valley is the waterfall visible. Your alternatives include taking a helicopter trip or hiking down the canyon. It is not advised to drive.

Rules and regulations of the government

At Rainbow Falls, fishing is controlled. Each type of fish has its own distinct set of rules. Every season brings a different set of fishing rules to Hawaii. These rules specify how many and how big of a fish an individual may keep, as well as when and how often you may fish.

Diving is not only not permitted but also not encouraged when swimming. Jumping off Rainbow Falls’ ledge is forbidden by law. Numerous warnings posted by the Division of State Parks caution people from going too close to the edge.

Deaths at Rainbow Falls

Kelly Mrowinski and Myles Osgood lost their life in February and March of 2018, respectively, in Rainbow Falls. The search group located Myles’ body the day after getting the complaint, but it took them almost two weeks to find Kelly’s body.

Also Read:

Can You Swim in Miami in December? (Complete Guide)


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About the author

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is a tech-savvy editor at World-Wire, renowned for his expertise in writing detailed technical articles and user-friendly how-to guides. With a background in Information Technology, he excels in demystifying complex tech topics. His work is highly valued for its accuracy and practicality, earning him awards like "Innovator in Tech Journalism" in 2023. Alex's role at World-Wire is pivotal in making technology accessible to a broad audience.

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