One of the best ways to experience the unique natural beauty of Kauai is to hike to a waterfall. Several cascading waterfalls on Kauai are absolutely picture-perfect and postcard-worthy. They are one of the reasons why Kauai is so spectacular. Those who love hiking will find these best waterfall hikes in Kauai, Hawaii, unforgettable. Be sure to check them out.
Top 9 Waterfall Hikes Trails on Kauai
1. Waipoo Falls Canyon Trail
Taking in nearly 800 feet of drops, Waipo’o Falls is hard to miss in Northwest Kauai. The Canyon Trail, aka Waipo’o Falls Trail, provides views of the textures, colors, and patterns of Waimea Canyon. After 25 minutes of hiking, a 5-minute detour on the right fork in the path will get you your first glimpse of the Waimea Canyon.
The second viewpoint overlooks a huge canyon drop, and the final stop is a little nook where you can sit back and take in the sounds, sights, and smells of the tropical foliage.
2. Hanakapiai Falls Trail
Take a hike on Kauai’s most popular trail, the Hanakapiai Falls Trail. A 4-mile trail begins near Hakakapikai beach and goes 2 miles to Hanakapiai beach before leading two more miles into the jungle along the Hankapiai stream.
There are gnarled tree roots, boulders, and slippery mud on the inclined, winding trail. Nevertheless, the breathtaking 300-foot-fall at the end is worth it, as it seemingly falls from the heavens, plunging into the emerald green depths of the pool below. Be sure to take pictures of what will be one of your most memorable times in Hawaii.
3. Makaleha Falls Trail
If you are looking for a jungle waterfall adventure like Jurassic Park, then the Makaleha Falls Hike is for you! This 2.6-mile trail follows a stream almost entirely, leaving you covered in mud but fully energized.
You will walk through mossy rocks and slippery ground, weave through vines and roots, cross numerous rivers, wade through the stream water, and boulder across the whole way to the two-tiered falls. You can spend some time sitting in a narrow canyon and jumping off the cliffs into the beautiful pool at the end of the hike.
4. Opaekaa Falls Trail
Kauai’s Opaekaa Falls is one of the most accessible and thus most popular waterfalls. Opaeka’a plunges more than 150 feet deep into the secluded pool below over the Wailua River.
The falls are often viewed from a distance from the parking lot. But a steep and challenging trail along the stream leads you to the bottom of the falls. It is where there is a dramatic viewpoint. Feel free to bring your camera, hiking shoes, raincoats, water, sodas, and sandwiches, and make a day of it.
5. Uluwehi Waterfalls Trail
Uluwehi Falls is referred to as the “Secret Falls” because getting there is not easy unless you are on tour – it’s a kayak/canoe ride followed by a dense rainforest hike. It is located on the east side of Kauai on the Lower Wailua River, a 50-minute canoe/kayak trip up the river, and a 30-45-minute extraordinarily muddy and slippery hike, so it is best experienced in sandals or tabis rather than hiking boots. Be prepared to get dirty, and a stunning waterfall will reward you at the end.
6. Stone Dam Waterfall via the Wai Koa Loop Trail
Kauai Stone Dam can be reached via the Wai Koa Loop Trail, which is 4.5 miles long and takes about two hours to complete. Since the trail is mostly flat, it is rated as beginner/intermediate. The trail does not have bathrooms or potable water. Take this into consideration and plan accordingly.
7. Hanakoa Falls via the Kalalau Trail
A waterfall named Hanakoa Falls is the second of two that line the Napali coast. In comparison with Hanakapiai Falls, Hanakoa Falls is not only more immense but also more scenic. The hike takes about 7 miles (one way) from the trailhead at Kee beach.
After the 4-mile trek to Hanakapiai Falls, you must walk two more miles on the Kalalau trail to reach the Hanakoa falls.
8. Mount Waialeale Falls Trail
The Hawaiian word Waialeale means “rippling seas.” At 914 meters high, Mount Waialeale traps moisture-rich, warm sea clouds, which shower down in a verdant-white cascade known as the ‘Wall of Tears’/’Weeping Wall,’ plunging into the Blue Hole at the base of Mount Waialeale (or locally, Wailua Headwaters).
The journey begins at the Keahua Stream at the end of the Highway and includes many stream crossings. It is only for the most experienced hikers. Kuamoo Road, 580. Also, because the locals consider the Blue Hole sacred, conduct some research and speak with people before undertaking this walk.
9. Kalihiwai Falls Trail
In Kauai’s north-central region between Kilihiwai Bay and Princeville, Kalihiwai Falls offers a scenic, multi-tiered waterfall that can be reached only with a guided tour starting at the Princeville Ranch.
This tour provides insight into the area’s wildlife, geology, history, and stunning views. Starting at the top of Pu’u O’ Henui, you will be able to see the entire north shore and hike into the low-land rainforest, descending a 10-foot rock wall, and ending at Kalihiwai Falls. Bring your swimsuit, camera, and picnic lunch – and have a blast!
More Places to Visit in Kauai
The island of Kauai is truly a gem. You will never run out of things to do and places to go. Once you are done checking out the different waterfalls trails, you may also want to check out the Napali Coast with the help of Makana Charters and Tours. You can experience Napali Coast sunset cruise where you can take good photos of the beautiful scenery.
Makana Charters and tours is a family-owned and operated business dedicated to giving guests to Kauai the most satisfactory possible experience. We’veThey have been providing tours of the Na Pali coast in custom-built touring catamarans for over 20 years, and they’re the ultimate touring experience.
9 Best Waterfall Hikes on Kauai [Infographic]