Location: Hamakua Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
This is the Waipi'o Valley, situated on the northeastern coast of Hawaii's Big Island in an area known as the Hamakua Coast. It is one of those end of the road locations, not on the way to or from anywhere else, and is sparsely populated. Most of the people who live there are taro farmers.
The valley extends inland about six miles from the coast, and is completely covered with lush tropical vegetation. At the ocean edge, the valley is fringed with about a mile of black sand beach. Steep cliffs completely surround the valley, and in some places rise nearly 2,000 feet above the valley floor.
Waipi'o Valley is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can tour the valley on horseback, or by riding a mule-drawn wagon to see the many waterfalls cascading down the sides of the cliffs.
I took this photo last week from a lookout near the top of the treacherous road that leads to the floor of the valley. The road is steep -- a 25% grade -- so only four-wheel-drive vehicles are allowed on it. It takes about a half hour to drive slowly from the lookout to the valley below. You can also hike down the road if you are fit. I have no idea how long that takes!
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