The 15 Best Kauai Waterfalls (and How to Get to Them)

Hawaii’s fourth largest island, Kauai, is called the “Backyard Island,” and for good cause.

The island is full of quite a lot of beautiful terrain, together with tropical rainforests, lush valleys, towering cliffs, and cascading waterfalls.

With some falls reaching a whole lot of ft excessive and flowing into emerald swimming pools and delightful streams, the waterfalls in Kauai are nothing in need of mesmerizing.

So learn on to see our employees picks for the 15 greatest Kauai waterfalls, together with instructions on learn how to get to them!

READ MORE: The 20 Greatest Issues To Do in Kauai, Hawaii (for Nature Lovers)

Greatest Kauai Waterfalls Information

  1. Hanakapiai Falls
  2. Hanakoa Falls
  3. Hinalele Falls
  4. Hoolea Falls
  5. Ho’opi’i Falls
  6. Kalihiwai Falls
  7. Kilauea Falls
  8. Kipu Falls
  9. Opaekaa Falls
  10. Manawaiopuna Falls (aka Jurassic Park Falls) 
  11. Mount Wai’aleale Falls
  12. Queen’s Tub
  13. Secret Falls (aka Uluwehi Falls)
  14. Wailua Falls
  15. Waipo’o Falls


Hanakapiai Falls by Paul Bica is licensed by CC BY 2.0

1. Hanakapiai Falls

In case you take pleasure in trekking to see waterfalls, the Hanakapiai Falls Path is among the more difficult and fashionable climbing trails in Kauai you’ll be able to sort out.

The 8-mile spherical journey path begins proper subsequent to the lifeguard tower on Ke’e Seaside, and instantly begins to incline. Watch out of the jutting boulders, tree roots, and slippery mud, any of which might knock you off your ft!

The path continues alongside the Hankapiai Stream by means of dense bamboo forests. After 4 miles of climbing, you’ll attain the beautiful 300-feet waterfall, which drops down into a beautiful emerald pool of water beneath.

The Ke’e space was closed off as a consequence of latest flooding once we visited. However the temporary, distant view we received of those falls throughout our Kauai helicopter tour advised it’s effectively definitely worth the effort to succeed in them.

Driving Instructions:

From Wainiha Seaside, head west on HI-560 (towards Ala Eke Highway) for 3.5 miles till you attain the Kalalau/Hanakapiai Falls Trailhead.

READ MORE: Hawaiian Mythology (Intro to Hawaiian Gods, Goddesses & Legends)

Hanakoa Falls in Kauai, Hawaii
Hanakoa Falls, by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

2. Hanakoa Falls

The bottom of the 1000-foot, multi-tiered Hanakoa Falls will be reached through the Kalalau Path, which runs alongside the Napali Coast of Kauai.

After we visited in 2019, the path (in addition to Hāʻena State Park and Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park) had been closed for a 12 months as a consequence of extreme flooding.

Be aware that this climbing path has been named among the many most harmful on the earth by Outdoors, and quite a few hikers have died there.  

However those that have conquered the steep, difficult 11-mile trek say that this distant location makes for an unforgettable expertise. 

In case you select to do the tough hike, you’ll want a allow from the federal government workplace in Lihue, and plan on it being an all-day affair. Or you’ll be able to play it protected (as we did) and easily fly by the extremely large drop on a helicopter tour!

Driving Instructions:

To achieve the Kalalau trailhead, head north on Hwy 56 till you see a car parking zone on the finish of the street. In your left, you’ll see the trailhead and a big signal labeled “Kalalau Path.”

READ MORE: The 35 Greatest Daypacks for Journey

Wainiha Valley, Kauai
Wainiha Valley, photograph courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

3. Hinalele Falls

Positioned on the northern facet of the island west of the city of Hanalei, Wainiha is probably the most distant and untouched space of Kauai.

The tiny city is the gateway to the remarkably pristine Wainiha Valley, Hawaii’s third largest nature protect. Protected by the Nature Conservancy, the 7,050-acre protect consists of majestic mountains, one in all Kauai’s largest river programs, and a part of the beautiful Alaka’i wilderness.  

The protect is residence to quite a few species of uncommon and endangered Kauai birds, in addition to greater than 40 species of flowerring vegetation which are solely present in Kauai. 

It’s additionally residence to Hinalele Falls, which is fed by the Wainiha River, a longtime favourite amongst native fisherman. It’s some of the distant, rarely-seen Kauai waterfalls, which doesn’t even function on most helicopter excursions of the island. 

It’s potential to hike to this waterfall, however undoubtedly not really helpful as a result of dense forest, copious rain, and radically unpredictable water ranges. 

READ MORE: Hawaiian Monk Seal (Endangered Species Highlight)

Napali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii
Napali Coast of Kauai, by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

4. Hoolea Falls

Whereas it will not be the most important waterfall on this listing, Hoolea Falls is noteworthy for its unimaginable location in between Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve and the Na Pali Coast State Park.

It may be discovered on the finish of the 11-mile Kalalau Path mentioned above, which crosses numerous seashores, sea caves, and verdant valleys, providing jaw-dropping views all alongside the best way. So be ready for an extended and comparatively tough hike.

Once more, if you wish to camp at Hanakoa, Na Pali, or the Kalalau Valley, ensure you have a sound climbing and tenting allow.

The well-marked Kalalau Path head is behind Kalalau Seaside and is straightforward to comply with. On the finish you’ll be rewarded with the sight of the gorgeous speeding waters of the 100-foot Hoolea Falls, which flows down a volcanic rock wall.

It’s additionally price noting that it’s utterly regular for some hikers to go au naturel on this space. So be ready for the potential for seeing extra pores and skin than you’re used to on a hike!

Driving Instructions:

Identical because the instructions to get to Hanakoa Falls.

READ MORE: High 20 Nationwide Forests in America for Tenting & Mountain climbing

Ho’opi’i Falls by Kyle Pearce is licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Ho’opi’i Falls

To achieve Ho’opi’I Falls, you’ll hike the favored 2-mile round-trip Ho’opi’i Falls path, which has been rated as being reasonably tough.

The hike begins on a large dust path which might get fairly muddy after it rains, so watch your footing as you go!

Persevering with on, the path might be lined by a cooling cover of branches as you comply with a stream to Ho’opi’i Falls.

The falls are solely about 20 ft tall, however are nonetheless a good looking sight because the water flows right into a cool blue pool on the backside. Whenever you’re prepared to move again, comply with the path again the identical means you got here.

Driving Instructions:

From Freeway 56 in Kapaa, take Kawaihau Highway for simply over 2 miles and switch proper onto Kapahi Highway. There might be a trailhead previous the final home in your left.

READ MORE: The Greatest Issues To Do on Hawaii’s Large Island

Kalihiwai Falls, by Cuttlefish is licensed underneath CC BY-NC 2.0

6. Kalihiwai Falls

Kalihiwai Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall that may be seen from the freeway. However as a result of it’s positioned on non-public property, you’ll need to take the guided Kalihiwai Falls Hike to get shut.

At $129, the expertise is fairly expensive, but additionally comes full of journey.

You’ll get to discover the gorgeous non-public ranch the place the hike begins, soak up magnificent panoramic views of Kauai’s north shore, and get entry to the highest of the 500-foot summit of Pu’u O’Henui.

The guided hike may even take you thru the lowland rainforest, the place you’ll be able to study Kauai’s pure historical past. 

However the primary attraction is certainly the beautiful multi-tiered Kalihiwai Waterfall, which you’ll primarily get all to your self. The entire hike is about Four miles lengthy, often takes about Three hours, and is rated as reasonably strenuous.

Driving Instructions:

From Kilauea, take Freeway 56 west in direction of Princeville. Round Mile Marker 25 you’ll attain an unnamed waterfall. Preserve driving, and Kalihiwai Falls would be the subsequent waterfall you see.

In case you’re doing the non-public hike, go one mile north of the Princeville Airport and on the ocean facet of the Kuhio Freeway you will note inexperienced and yellow flags and a “Princeville Ranch Journey” signal.

READ MORE: The 15 Greatest UNESCO World Heritage Websites within the USA

7. Kilauea Falls

In case you’ve talked to locals or longtime Kauai vacationers, Kilauea Falls could have popped up in your radar as among the finest waterfalls in Kauai.

Sadly, it’s now not in a position to be seen up shut with out trespassing on non-public property. Kilauea Falls is positioned in a residential space of Kauai, and the Kilauea Falls Path main all the way down to it’s now not accessible.

Though different web sites could counsel it’s nonetheless definitely worth the danger to go to, we are saying it’s at all times higher to respect the desires of the local people.

Some individuals have mentioned that you could get glimpses of the falls from Kahili Quarry Highway, which is the street that was beforehand used to get all the way down to the Kilauea Falls trailhead.

READ MORE: Neighborhood-Primarily based Conservation in Kenya’s Masai Mara

Kipu Falls, by Bryce Edwards is licensed by CC BY 2.0

8. Kipu Falls

To achieve the intriguing Kipu Falls, begin on the dust pullouts (that are used for parking), after which take a brief path for about 5 to 10 minutes till you attain a fork within the street.

In case you proceed to the best, you may be led straight to Kipu Falls.

Whereas it’s lovely up shut, Kipu Falls is one in all a number of waterfalls on Kauai that’s greatest noticed from a distance. The hike to succeed in it has gained a popularity for being extremely harmful.

It’s because the fluctuating water ranges of the river could make security unpredictable when it rains, and the encircling rocks are fairly slippery.

In case you do select to hike there, proceed with warning!

Driving Instructions:

From Lihu’e, head west on Freeway 50. Flip left to move south on Kipu Highway. After a quarter-mile, take a proper on the fork within the street and comply with the paved street to the dust pullout parking space that might be simply earlier than the bridge.

READ MORE: The 7 Greatest Volcanoes in the US

Opaekaa Falls in Kauai, Hawaii
Opaeka’a Falls, by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

9. Opaeka’a Falls

One of the fashionable waterfalls in Kauai, Opaeka’a Falls is a 151-foot-tall and 40-foot-wide waterfall positioned close to Wilaua River State Park.

A very long time in the past, freshwater shrimp could possibly be seen rolling and leaping round within the waters on the base of the falls. So the identify Opaeka’a combines “Opae” (the Hawaiian phrase for shrimp) and “ka’a” (which means “rolling”). 

The falls is nice for Kauai guests of all skills as a result of straightforward accessibility and nice views afforded from the roadside overlook.

There are paved pathways and security rails main from the car parking zone to the falls, in addition to restrooms and picnic tables.

It’s also possible to stroll a brief distance up from the Opaeka’a Falls overlook and cross Kuamo’o Highway for beautiful overviews of the Wailua River, which is fashionable for kayak and canoe journeys.

 Driving Instructions:

 Take Hwy 56 till you cross over the Wailua River. Search for Kuamo’o Highway (Hwy 580), and proceed straight for about 2 miles till you see the pullout for Opaeka’a Falls in your proper.

READ MORE: 40 Fascinating Info Concerning the Hawaiian Goose (A.Okay.A. Nene Goose)

Manawaiopuna Falls (aka Jurassic Park Falls) in Kauai Hawaii
Manawaiopuna Falls/Jurassic Park Falls, by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

10. Manawaiopuna Falls (a.ok.a. Jurassic Park Falls)

Of all of the Kauai waterfalls on our listing, this one is perhaps probably the most well-known. Manawaiopuna Falls is world famend as a result of it was featured in a gap scene of the 1993 basic, Jurassic Park.

Now generally known as Jurassic Park Falls, this waterfall is a real pure surprise, with cascades thundering down a dramatic 400-foot-tall cliff.

The waterfall is positioned within the distant, fertile Hanapēpē Valley, which was was traditionally used for rising espresso, rice, and sugarcane. The close by city of Hanapēpē additionally impressed by the city within the Disney animated movie Lilo & Sew.

Sadly the valley and Manawaiopuna Falls should not accessible on foot or by automotive.

However flying over it was arguably the spotlight of our helicopter sightseeing tour of Kauai, which supplied a blinding array of views (each closeup and from afar). 

READ MORE: Record of US Nationwide Parks by State (An Epic Information)

Mount Waialeale Falls, by Kwong Yee Cheng through CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

11. Mount Wai’aleale Falls

Positioned in one of many wettest spots on the planet, Mount Wai’aleale Falls cascades down the magnificent and big Mount Waialeale.

Set within the middle of Kauai, the island’s tallest mountain is an inactive defend volcano whose summit, Kawaikinistands at an elevation of 5148 ft.

The bottom of Mount Wai’aleale is called the Blue Gap. That is the place you’ll be able to see the gorgeous falls flowing down what’s often called the Weeping Wall.

To achieve it, take the Waialeale Blue Gap Falls Path, which is 4.9 miles round-trip. A information is very really helpful, and you’ll want to examine the climate, as flash floods are widespread within the Wailua River.

However if you’d like actually beautiful views of the mountain and the waterfall, most Kauai helicopter excursions will function Mount Waialeale as a spotlight. Ours took us straight down into the center of the volcanic crater from which the island was initially created!

Driving Instructions:

From Wailua, head west on Kaumoo Highway. You’ll go by means of residential areas, then into the jungle. After 5.5 miles, you’ll attain the Keahau Arboretum. Whenever you come to a “T” intersection, flip proper and proceed on the gravel street till you attain a gate, the place parking might be accessible.

READ MORE: The High 10 Volcanoes within the World to Go to


Queen’s Tub, by dronepicr is licensed by CC BY 2.0

12. Queen’s Tub

Positioned on the north shore of Kauai, the Queen’s Tub is a novel tidal pool full of water flowing from a scenic 15-foot waterfall.

The Queen’s Tub Path is nice should you’re trying to go climbing to waterfalls in Kauai, as a result of it’s simply accessible and is simply 0.Eight miles round-trip.

Across the midway mark, you’ll see an 8-foot waterfall earlier than the trail opens as much as reveal the gorgeous 15-foot waterfall flowing into the refreshing tidal pool.

The views from listed below are unimaginable, with the glowing blue waters of Pacific Ocean as a backdrop to the falls. Simply you’ll want to discover with warning, because the rocks right here will be particularly slippery!

Driving Instructions:

Head in direction of Princeville on Ka Haku Highway and take a proper on Punahele Highway. Proceed for slightly underneath half a mile till you attain the trailhead and spacious parking space.

READ MORE: 20 of the World’s Largest Waterfalls (by Continent)

Secret Falls by Bryce Edwards is licensed by CC BY 2.0

13. Secret Falls (a.ok.a. Uluwehi Falls)

The Uluwehi Falls are sometimes referred to by locals because the Secret Falls. However don’t let that steer you away from visiting them!

Positioned within the Wailua River Basin, the Secret Falls are literally comparatively eassy to entry.

The path to the falls through the Wailua River is 6.1 miles round-trip, beginning on the river. There are kayak and canoe leases accessible, or you’ll be able to be a part of a guided float journey.

You’ll paddle up the Wailua River till you attain a financial institution in your proper, the place you’ll disembark and begin strolling on land.

Then simply comply with the path alongside the riverbank. After you cross a small stream, you’ll attain the gorgeous Secret Falls and have a welcome alternative to chill off within the pool at its base.  

Driving Instructions:

From Lehua Avenue, head southwest on Kuhio Freeway for two.6 miles, then flip proper onto Kuamoo Highway. Take a left onto Wailua Highway and proceed 400 ft till you attain the car parking zone.

READ MORE: The 30 Most Snug Mountain climbing Footwear for Girls

Wailua Falls (aka Fantasy Island Falls) in Kauai, Hawaii
Wailua Falls/Fantasy Island Falls, by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

14. Wailua Falls (a.ok.a. Fantasy Island Falls)

Iconic Wailua Falls is among the most simply accessible and delightful waterfalls on Kauai, cascading down 80 ft in two lovely streams.

It was made well-known by the hit ’70s TV present Fantasy Island, the place it was prominently featured within the opening credit.

The Wailua Falls hike is a brief stroll, as it’s simply 0.Four miles every means. However be aware that it’s very steep and slippery, and is rated as tough (even when it hasn’t been raining).

What makes this a preferred attraction for guests and locals alike is the truth that you may get superb views of this breathtaking waterfall proper from the small car parking zone.

We extremely reccomend getting there early. Not solely will you keep away from the crowds of vacationers who have a tendency to return right here for afternoon picnics, however should you time it good you is perhaps fortunate sufficient to get a photograph just like the one above, the place the rising solar creates a rainbow on the waterfall’s mist!

Driving Instructions:

Take Kuhio Freeway north towards Hanamā’ulu, then flip left at Ma’alo Highway. Proceed for a couple of miles till you attain the car parking zone on the finish of the street.

READ MORE: The 30 Most Snug Strolling Footwear & Mountain climbing Footwear for Males

Waipo’o Falls in Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii
Waipo’o Falls, by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

15.Waipo’o Falls

Cascading in two tiers virtually 800 ft into the Waimea Canyon beneath, Waip’o Falls is really a spectacular sight to see.

The beautiful falls will be seen from numerous outlooks all alongside the primary Waimea Canyon street. However to rise up shut, you can too take the Canyon Path to Waipo’o Falls which is 3.2 miles round-trip.

The path will information you on a scenic route alongside the picturesque rim of Waimea Canyon, the place you can too catch views of the Koke’e Rain Forest.

At simply over 1.5 miles you’ll attain the highest of the waterfall the place you’ll be able to peer down on the canyon ground for some glorious photograph alternatives.

However for our cash, the perfect views of Waipo’o Falls come through the Kauai helicopter excursions, which get so shut that you could virtually really feel the spraying mist in your face!

Driving Instructions:

From Waimea, head north on Freeway 550 into Koke’e State Park. Flip proper on Halemanu Drive and comply with the street to the Halemanu Koke’e Trailhead. –by Christina Maggitas, with extra reporting by Bret Love; lead picture through Pixabay


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