The Big Island of Hawaii has an incredible amount of waterfalls just waiting to be explored thanks to its varied landscapes and heavy rainfalls that send rain hurling down its signature volcanoes. Some of these waterfalls you can view from just your car while others are inaccessible by foot, viewable only via a helicopter tour. The Pee Pee (pronounced pay-ay pay-ay) Falls near Hilo lie somewhere in the middle — requiring a short hike in order to enjoy them in their full beauty.
To reach Pee Pee Falls, you will head west out of Hilo and follow signs for Boiling Pots and its associated parking area on the south side of the Wailuku River. A small paved trail leads from that parking past a restroom and onto a viewing platform for Boiling Pots. If you stand all the way out on the platform, you can catch a general view of Pee Pee Falls.
However, for the best view of this series of waterfalls, you can also opt for a hike to take you closer. Note that this is not a dedicated or sanctioned hiking trail, and it should not be attempted following heavy rainfalls. That warning aside, you can find a path on the other side of the Boiling Pots overlook that will take you closer to the falls themselves. Simply follow the river upstream to the large plunging pool beneath Pee Pee Falls. This is about a one-mile, round-trip hike.
Pee Pee Falls cascades off of a large horseshoe-shaped cliff as a series of three unique waterfalls. The two rightmost falls are generally the most viewable from the Boiling Pots platform. The tallest, center-most waterfall crashes down 80 feet, impressive but certainly not among the tallest on the island or even in the surrounding area. Still, this ringed cliff and its cascading waters are quite beautiful, especially if you have managed to get up close to it.
During the drier seasons, when the waters flow much more slowly, the plunge pool beneath the Pee Pee Falls often becomes filled with swimmers. Again though, stay cautious as the water can become swift and has a history of drowning deaths due to sweeping unsuspecting swimmers down to Boiling Pots. Even during the best of swim-friendly conditions, we would not rank the hike to the falls or the swimming as being kid-friendly.
The Boiling Pots are not called such because of their temperatures but rather because of how they move. As the water leaves the Pee Pee Falls plunging pool, it swarms over a series of rocks and down a very narrow channel. This channel is filled with its own boulders and underwater arches that cause the water moving across it to churn, roll, and bubble; in other words, they cause the water flowing through this narrow section to boast an appearance very much like boiling water.
The park for Boiling Pots is not very large, but it has plenty of amenities that make it a good lunch break stop. Here, you will find picnic tables as well as full bathroom facilities and a nice green lawn for children to run around and get extra energy out.
-There are a ton of waterfalls around the village of Hilo. So many so that you can center an entire day exploring this area of the Big Island. This is especially true for those who don’t mind doing the more hidden hiking trails like the one mentioned here from Boiling Pots to Pee Pee Falls. You can view our other pages for more information about these Hilo-area waterfalls, but they include Waiale Falls, Kulaniapia Falls, and Rainbow Falls.
-Want a short hike but not on an official state park trail? Just south of Boiling Pots, directly south as the crow flies, is the Kaumana Caves. This is a set of two lava tube caves that are free and open to the public 24/hours a day, maintained as a state park.