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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Getting to Know Hawaii: Boiling Pots

The Need to Knows
  • Boiling Pots is located at the junction of Pe'epe'e Falls Road and Wailuku Drive in Hilo, Hawaii.  Its exact location can be found here:
  • Boiling Pots is open daily during daylight hours.
  • Parking is free and there are no admission costs.
  • There are restrooms, trash cans, and water fountains available here.
  • The pathway is absolutely wheelchair and stroller-friendly.
  • Since this area is jungle, it may be in your best interest to have mosquito repellent on hand.

Just a short drive down from Rainbow Falls in the exact same Wailuku River State Park is a natural attraction known as Boiling Pots.  It's pretty easy to find and can offer a nice detour if you're hanging out in the Hilo area with some time to kill, especially if you've just finished checking out Rainbow Falls.

Boiling Pots got its name from how the Wailuku River tumbles and rushes its way down towards Hilo Bay over a succession of terraced pools formed eons ago by cooling basalt lava.  The lava actually formed hexagonal columns that are a pretty fascinating geological sight.  Apparently, some of the river's water flows underneath the layers of basalt lava rock and then suddenly rushes back up, appearing as if it's boiling.

Columnar basalt
From Flickr user Anita Gould showcasing the columnar basalt making up the Pots

Sadly, like earlier over at Rainbow Falls, the Wailuku River simply was not raging.  It was a pretty dry day in the middle of summer, so we weren't expecting major rapids or anything.  It would have been nice to see how the Pots got their name though, so next time we'll know better to come at another time of year, like winter!  :)

The top of some of the "pots" on down the river

Here's a quick video from YouTube user World of Waterfalls to give you an idea of how different this stretch of the Wailuku River can look during periods of flooding:

Even though the river wasn't raging, this area is still incredibly gorgeous.  I thoroughly enjoyed being the only people visiting at this point in time and relished soaking in the views, especially of the nearby Pe'epe'e Falls, a beautiful five-spouted (in the rainy season anyways!) waterfall that feeds the Pots.  I'm not sure exactly how tall is it (between 60-80 feet?), but it isn't as tall as Rainbow Falls as far as I'm aware.

If we'd had the time, we'd have gone down the path on the side to the river itself, but unfortunately it was getting close to lunch time and we were hungry.  I would have loved to see Pe'epe'e Falls from that vantage point though!  Maybe another time :)

All in all, Boiling Pots was a nice pit stop for us since we had a little time to kill.  It seems like it would be a nice area to come enjoy nature by having a picnic or exploring the river (when it's very calm, of course), especially since there don't seem to be too many people visiting here like Rainbow Falls.  It probably isn't a main attraction that you'd drive all the way from Kona or somewhere to see, but it's nice to pair it up with Rainbow Falls and Hilo if you're coming over to see those anyways.  I'm glad we were able to visit it!

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