Photograph the Boiling Pots of Wailuku River

Beyond the CityBig Island

WAILUKU RIVER is an 18-mile path of bubbling, cascading water that is particularly fearsome during heavy rains. Wailuku means “WATERS OF DESTRUCTION,” an apt moniker for this dangerous river where CONCEALED LAVA TUBES are known to create hazardous swimming conditions.

During the rainy season, the river churns through a succession of SEVEN OR EIGHT “POTS,” creating the eff ect of a steaming JACUZZI. Some of the river water fl ows beneath a level of old lava, and then suddenly bubbles up, as if it were boiling. BOILING POTS is about 2 miles past Hilo Medical Center on Wai‘ānuenue Drive. A sign to turn right onto Pe‘e Pe‘e Falls Street leads to the parking area above the river.