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What are the best places for a visit to a historic dam or waterway in Hawaii?

Hawaii’s Historic Dams and Waterways Beckon Visitors

Hawaii, known for its lush landscapes and pristine beaches, also boasts a rich history reflected in its historic dams and waterways. These engineering marvels offer a glimpse into the past and a unique addition to the typical tourist itinerary.

The Nu’uanu Dam, located on Oahu, is a prime example. Built in 1910, this dam is part of the Nu’uanu Reservoir system and played a crucial role in the island’s agricultural development. Visitors can explore the surrounding Nu’uanu Pali State Park, which offers breathtaking views and trails rich with historical significance.

Waikolu Valley Overlook on Molokai provides a stunning vista of an ancient Hawaiian aqueduct system. These waterways, known as ‘auwai,’ were used for irrigation in the traditional lo’i kalo (taro fields), which are still visible in the valley below.

Wailuku River State Park on the Big Island is home to the famous Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots, part of a waterway that was central to Native Hawaiian culture and daily life. The park’s river system is a testament to the island’s volcanic activity and the powerful natural forces that shaped Hawaii’s geography.


Q: Are these sites accessible to the public?
A: Yes, all mentioned sites are accessible, but visitors should check for any restrictions or required permits.

Q: Is there an admission fee?
A: Some parks and sites may have parking or entrance fees. It’s best to research individual locations beforehand.

Q: Are guided tours available?
A: Certain sites offer guided tours, which can provide a deeper historical context and insights into the area’s significance.

Dam: A barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level, forming a reservoir used to generate electricity or as a water supply.
Aqueduct: A conduit or artificial channel for conveying water, often in the form of a bridge across a valley or other gap.
‘Auwai: Traditional Hawaiian irrigation channels that divert water from streams to taro fields and other agricultural sites.