Waipi`o Valley

Photo Credit: Ami Weisel

Waipi`o is the sweeping valley that has inspired legendary mo`olelo (stories), and beautiful Hawaiian mele (song) for hundreds of years. It has served as the prominent site for Hawaiian kū’auhau (genealogy) and is known as the valley of the kings; this includes famous chiefs such as Mo’ikeha, Kila the Industrious, Liloa and his son the great `Umi-a-Liloa. It is the land of the large lo`i fields and long stretching irrigation systems that made this valley so rich with food that was said to be resistant to famine. William Ellis was one of the first Western missionaries to visit Waipi`o and described the valley “…as one continuous garden, cultivated with taro, bananas, sugar cane, and other products of the island all growing luxuriantly.” He described “…cottages, plantations, fishponds, and meandering streams on the surface of which the light canoe was moving to and fro.” Waipi`o may have been home to as many as 40,000 people, according to some oral traditions. However, a more commonly accepted figure is about 10,000. By the 1830 census the valley’s population was 1,200. As of the 2020 census, there are around 50 people that live in the Waipi`o Valley. Today the valley is still home to lo`i fields and lush tropical gardens. It is a magical place where wild horses roam the black sand beaches, and waterfalls flow into the ocean. 

    • Accessing Waipio Valley: As of February 2022, access to Waipio Valley is restricted to valley residents and for emergency usage. No public access is allowed at this time. This is due to structural issues with the road leading into the valley, which has been deemed as unsafe by the County of Hawai`i. It is unknown when the valley road will reopen to the public. 
    • Waipio Valley Lookout: While access to the valley is prohibited, the view from the top of the valley is breathtaking and should not be missed.

Address: 48-5546 Waipio Valley Rd, Waimea, HI 96743

For more information: Directions to Waipi`o Valley

 

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Waipi`o Valley

Photo Credit: Ami Weisel

Waipi`o is the sweeping valley that has inspired legendary mo`olelo (stories), and beautiful Hawaiian mele (song) for hundreds of years. It has served as the prominent site for Hawaiian kū’auhau (genealogy) and is known as the valley of the kings; this includes famous chiefs such as Mo’ikeha, Kila the Industrious, Liloa and his son the great `Umi-a-Liloa. It is the land of the large lo`i fields and long stretching irrigation systems that made this valley so rich with food that was said to be resistant to famine. William Ellis was one of the first Western missionaries to visit Waipi`o and described the valley “…as one continuous garden, cultivated with taro, bananas, sugar cane, and other products of the island all growing luxuriantly.” He described “…cottages, plantations, fishponds, and meandering streams on the surface of which the light canoe was moving to and fro.” Waipi`o may have been home to as many as 40,000 people, according to some oral traditions. However, a more commonly accepted figure is about 10,000. By the 1830 census the valley’s population was 1,200. As of the 2020 census, there are around 50 people that live in the Waipi`o Valley. Today the valley is still home to lo`i fields and lush tropical gardens. It is a magical place where wild horses roam the black sand beaches, and waterfalls flow into the ocean. 

    • Accessing Waipio Valley: As of February 2022, access to Waipio Valley is restricted to valley residents and for emergency usage. No public access is allowed at this time. This is due to structural issues with the road leading into the valley, which has been deemed as unsafe by the County of Hawai`i. It is unknown when the valley road will reopen to the public. 
    • Waipio Valley Lookout: While access to the valley is prohibited, the view from the top of the valley is breathtaking and should not be missed.

Address: 48-5546 Waipio Valley Rd, Waimea, HI 96743

For more information: Directions to Waipi`o Valley

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