When Harrison Ford made nice talk with Anne Heche in the1998 schmaltzy adventure comedy, Six Days, Seven Nights, Kilauea Falls looked much like the baby Niagara pictured here: a fifty-foot high, 150-foot wide white curtain falling into a swimming oval nearly 200-feet across. (In the scene Heche feels some kind of serpent under the surface—how Freudian.)
During heavy rains, the river becomes a torrent to be avoided. These days, locals looking for a swim get to this beauty via a shared easement through private property, and not on a public trail. The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge Expansion Act of 2004 authorized the purchase of 234 acres of land, including Kilauea Falls— and a public access to a trail is part of the plan. The feds are good to go, but—this is a big but—monies need to be authorized and deals have to be struck with individual landowners.
For now, the best way to see the falls is to rent the Harrison Ford movie.