The end of the road on the Big Island's lush northeast coast is the gateway to another world altogether. Towering cliffs border the valley on all sides, framing a wild beach. The Muliwai Trail zig zags up from the far end of the beach, beginning a 20-mile journey through roadless jungle—a trail similar to, but much less popular than, Kauai's Kalalau Trail. Kamehameha the Great spent his youth in Waipio, surfing and developing the skills that would make him king of all the islands.
The road into Waipio is a for-real four-wheel drive route. Several van tours will take you down. But—hot tip— you can also walk down the 500 feet in about 20 minutes.
There is room to roam at the bottom. One of the best adventures is to head up the valley, where taro is grown today as it has been for centuries. The trail is a little tricky. You need to go up what appears to be a stream, but quickly turns into a dry, rutted road.
A number of people call Waipio home, all of whom ask visitors to "Respect the Land."
You get a good look at the valley from the Waipio Lookout. Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer has all the details.
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