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

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

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

With some falls reaching lots of of ft excessive and flowing into emerald swimming pools and exquisite 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 tips on 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

When you take pleasure in trekking to see waterfalls, the Hanakapiai Falls Path is likely one of the more difficult and widespread mountaineering trails in Kauai you’ll be able to deal with.

The 8-mile spherical journey path begins proper subsequent to the lifeguard tower on Ke’e Seashore, 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 via dense bamboo forests. After 4 miles of mountaineering, you’ll attain the gorgeous 300-feet waterfall, which drops down into a stunning emerald pool of water under.

The Ke’e space was closed off as a result of current flooding once we visited. However the transient, distant view we acquired of those falls throughout our Kauai helicopter tour steered it’s properly definitely worth the effort to achieve them.

Driving Instructions:

From Wainiha Seashore, head west on HI-560 (towards Ala Eke Street) 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 could 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 result of extreme flooding.

Be aware that this mountaineering path has been named among the many most harmful on the earth by Exterior, 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. 

When you select to do the troublesome 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 secure (as we did) and easily fly by the extremely huge drop on a helicopter tour!

Driving Instructions:

To achieve the Kalalau trailhead, head north on Hwy 56 till you see a parking zone on the finish of the highway. 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, picture courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

3. Hinalele Falls

Situated on the northern facet of the island west of the city of Hanalei, Wainiha is essentially 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 among Kauai’s largest river programs, and a part of the beautiful Alaka’i wilderness.  

The protect is dwelling 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 dwelling to Hinalele Falls, which is fed by the Wainiha River, a longtime favourite amongst native fisherman. It’s one of the crucial distant, rarely-seen Kauai waterfalls, which doesn’t even characteristic on most helicopter excursions of the island. 

It’s doable to hike to this waterfall, however positively not beneficial because of the 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 is probably not the most important waterfall on this checklist, 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 varied seashores, sea caves, and verdant valleys, providing jaw-dropping views all alongside the best way. So be ready for an extended and comparatively troublesome hike.

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

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

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

Driving Instructions:

Similar because the instructions to get to Hanakoa Falls.

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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 troublesome.

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 can be coated 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. Once you’re prepared to move again, comply with the path again the identical approach you got here.

Driving Instructions:

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

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

Kalihiwai Falls, by Cuttlefish is licensed below 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 situated on non-public property, you’ll should take the guided Kalihiwai Falls Hike to get shut.

At $129, the expertise is fairly dear, but in addition comes full of journey.

You’ll get to discover the attractive non-public ranch the place the hike begins, absorb 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 also take you thru the lowland rainforest, the place you’ll be able to find out about Kauai’s pure historical past. 

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

Driving Instructions:

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

When 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.

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7. Kilauea Falls

When you’ve talked to locals or longtime Kauai vacationers, Kilauea Falls could have popped up in your radar as among the best 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 situated in a residential space of Kauai, and the Kilauea Falls Path main right down to it’s now not accessible.

Though different web sites could recommend it’s nonetheless definitely worth the threat to go to, we are saying it’s all the time higher to respect the needs of the local people.

Some individuals have stated that you would be able to get glimpses of the falls from Kahili Quarry Street, which is the highway that was beforehand used to get right down to the Kilauea Falls trailhead.

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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 highway.

When you proceed to the suitable, you may be led straight to Kipu Falls.

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

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

When 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 Street. After a quarter-mile, take a proper on the fork within the highway and comply with the paved highway to the dust pullout parking space that can be simply earlier than the bridge.

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

9. Opaeka’a Falls

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

A very long time in the past, freshwater shrimp may very well 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 because of the simple accessibility and nice views afforded from the roadside overlook.

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

You can even stroll a brief distance up from the Opaeka’a Falls overlook and cross Kuamo’o Street for gorgeous overviews of the Wailua River, which is widespread for kayak and canoe journeys.

 Driving Instructions:

 Take Hwy 56 till you cross over the Wailua River. Search for Kuamo’o Street (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 Information 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 checklist, this one is likely to be essentially 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 marvel, with cascades thundering down a dramatic 400-foot-tall cliff.

The waterfall is situated 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 will not be accessible on foot or by automobile.

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

READ MORE: Listing 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

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

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

The bottom of Mount Wai’aleale is named the Blue Gap. That is the place you’ll be able to see the attractive 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 extremely beneficial, and you’ll want to test the climate, as flash floods are widespread within the Wailua River.

However if you need actually gorgeous views of the mountain and the waterfall, most Kauai helicopter excursions will characteristic 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 Street. You’ll move via residential areas, then into the jungle. After 5.5 miles, you’ll attain the Keahau Arboretum. Once you come to a “T” intersection, flip proper and proceed on the gravel highway till you attain a gate, the place parking can be obtainable.

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

12. Queen’s Tub

Situated on the north shore of Kauai, the Queen’s Tub is a singular tidal pool crammed with water flowing from a scenic 15-foot waterfall.

The Queen’s Tub Path is nice if you happen to’re trying to go mountaineering 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 attractive 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 could be particularly slippery!

Driving Instructions:

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

READ MORE: 20 of the World’s Greatest 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!

Situated 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 obtainable, 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 attractive Secret Falls and have a welcome alternative to chill off within the pool at its base.  

Driving Instructions:

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

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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 likely one of the most simply accessible and exquisite 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 approach. However word that it’s very steep and slippery, and is rated as troublesome (even when it hasn’t been raining).

What makes this a well-liked attraction for guests and locals alike is the truth that you may get wonderful views of this breathtaking waterfall proper from the small parking zone.

We extremely reccomend getting there early. Not solely will you keep away from the crowds of vacationers who have a tendency to come back right here for afternoon picnics, however if you happen to time it good you is likely to be 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 Street. Proceed for just a few miles till you attain the parking zone on the finish of the highway.

READ MORE: The 30 Most Snug Strolling Footwear & 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 nearly 800 ft into the Waimea Canyon under, Waip’o Falls is actually a spectacular sight to see.

The beautiful falls could be seen from varied outlooks all alongside the principle Waimea Canyon highway. However to stand up shut, it’s also possible to 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 it’s also possible to 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 wonderful picture alternatives.

However for our cash, the easiest views of Waipo’o Falls come through the Kauai helicopter excursions, which get so shut that you would be able to nearly 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 highway to the Halemanu Koke’e Trailhead. –by Christina Maggitas, with further reporting by Bret Love; lead picture through Pixabay



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