Are you planning your most awaited trip to Hawaii? But, confused about which island you must visit?
Well, if you are a water baby who loves the aesthetic beauty of nature, this article will give you enough reasons to visit Kauai, specifically Kauai waterfalls.
Surrounded by tall mountain ranges, pearly white beaches, aged sea cliffs, magnificent valleys, and the most beautiful Kauai waterfalls, Kauai is the fourth largest island in Hawaii.
Known as the garden island, Kauai is pure bliss here in Hawaii. Being one of the wettest places, the island features many breathtaking Kauai waterfalls with the most scenic landscape.
Here is a list of 10 stunning Kauai waterfalls that are worth visiting.
Top 10 Stunning Kauai Waterfalls
1. Wailua Falls
One of the most spectacular among Kauai waterfalls is the Wailwa falls. Located along the bank of Wailwa river, Lihue, Wailua Falls was featured in the opening scenes of the long-running television show ‘Fantasy Island.’
Well, the two leveled waterfall is none less than a fantasy itself in Wailua Falls!
The waterfall is quite famous among visitors. Not just it’s beauty but also the location. You can easily reach the falls. No hiking is required for the same. You can also spot the falls from the roadside.
The Wailua Falls drops down into a pool around 30ft deep. Some visitors try to jump off the falls to reach the pond, but it is not advised to do so. The falls have proven fatal for many visitors.
Instead of jumping, you can hike to the bottom of the fall. There are two different trails. Don’t forget to carry your cameras to capture some social media-worthy pictures.
2. Kahiwa Falls
Also known as the tiered waterfall, next on the list of waterfalls in Kauai is Kahiwa falls. The waterfall is unique, having 6 tiers with the highest drop of almost 183 meters.
Kahiwa falls located at the north end of Molokai island between two valleys, The valley of Wailau and papalaua. Sometimes, kahiwa falls are mistaken with the closely situated papalaua falls. But both can be distinguished easily as Kahiwa falls drop into the Pacific ocean directly.
Being one of the tallest falls in Hawaii, Kahiwa waterfall is around 660 meters tall. The upper part of the falls is not visible as such; it is hidden among the cliffs. The scenery at the Kahiwa falls at it’s best. One can also enjoy the same by helicopter ride when the weather conditions are adequate.
3. Opaekaa Falls
One of the most fascinating among Kauai waterfalls is the Opaekaa Falls. Just like the Wailua falls, Opaekaa falls can also be seen through the roadside.
Near the eastern shore of Kauai island, the waterfall is located on the opaekaa stream, Wailua River state park. The name ‘Opaekaa‘ means rolling shrimp. The shrimps were common among the valley back then, and they were seen rolling through the falls.
The fall is best seen through the highway parking lot. The background is occupied by the tall Makueha mountains and the beautiful valley below. You can also spot a few tropical birds soaring through the valley.
You can also visit a nearby ancient temple, The temple of snow goddess Poli’ahu. A historic bell stone is also located near the waterfall. So if you’re into historical things, that’s the cherry on the top for you.
4. Ho’opi’I Falls
Located on the eastern shore of Kauai island, Ho’opi’i falls consist of two different falls, the upper and the lower Ho’opi’i falls.
Both are lined by Kapa’a stream near the Kapa’a town. Like other Kauai waterfalls, The scenery here also is magnificent.
The Ho’opi’i falls are well known for their appearance in the film Jurassic Park. With vines, ferns dispersed among the trails, mountain cliffs in the backdrop, and a pool underneath, The ho’opi’i falls looks spectacular.
Visitors often jump off the cliff to reach the bottom. Well, it’s a great place to take a refreshing ride through the water.
You can easily hike through one of the many trails to reach the falls. The trails are easy but become steep and muddy in several areas where you need to be careful. The first fall can be reached within a hike of half an hour.
5. Uluwehi Falls
Located in the eastern Kawai, Uluwahi falls drops down in the Wailua river flowing through Mount Waileale in the middle of the jungle of Wailua River. Often known as the secret falls, Uluwehi falls surely the hidden gem of Kauai waterfalls.
The falls are easily accessible. No secret as such! But it’s always good to take guided tours as it gets tricky unless you know the directions well.
The tours involve kayaking up the Wailua River, followed by a 20-minute hike along the Wailua river valley.
Going up the river is the easy part; coming down is a bit tricky because of the direction of the winds.
6. Hanakoa Falls
The next masterpiece on the list of Kauai waterfalls is the Hanakoa falls. Alongside the dangerous Kalalau trail beyond the Hanakapi’ai beach at the Na pali coast lies the Hanakoa falls.
One of the tallest among the Kauai waterfalls, Hanakoa waterfalls, is around 1000ft in height.
Near the Hanakoa falls lies another beauty, The Hanakapiai falls. While Hanakapi’ai falls are much shorter than Hanakoa falls, but two are anyways better than one!
Because of its great height, helicopter rides are available to make the most of the location. A larger part of the falls isn’t visible from the ground.
Hike to the falls is a bit tricky and long as well. It takes almost 3-4 hours to reach the falls. A hiking permit is required from the authorities to hike beyond the Hanakapi’ai beach.
It is advised to take the permit in advance. Also, the hike is a bit tiring, so do carry water bottles and stuff with yourself.
7. Kipu Falls
Beauty that might scare you! Yes, you read that right. Kipu falls have been a bit dangerous for visitors.
There is a history of five drowning deaths in the last five years at the pool area. Still, it is one of the visitor’s favorite spots for swimming in Kauai.
Known for its filming in the scene of Raiders of Lost Ark, Kipu falls, a single drop fall located along the Huie’ia stream near the Huie’ia National Wildlife refugee, East Kauai.
The fall doesn’t reach much height. It’s more or less 20 feet and very well seen from the bottom. The pool isn’t as dangerous as such, but it may trouble you during the rainy season. Most people jump directly from the top of the falls to swim in the freshwater.
The trail is quite slippery, packed with mud, and surrounded by sugarcane plants.
8. Manawaiopuna Falls
Commonly known as Jurassic Falls, Manawaiopuna falls called so for its filming in the movie Jurassic Park, 1993. Nestled among huge mountain cliffs filled with endemic flora, Manawaiopuna falls one of the most captivating sceneries among Kauai waterfalls.
Located on the western part of Kauai island along the Hanapepe Valley, Manawaiopuna falls set on privately owned land.
The fall is 400 m tall. To make the most out of the location, helicopter rides are available. The helicopter lands at several locations between the ride and also at the base of the falls. After that, you can take the trail, which leads you to beauty. The hike takes around 70 minutes.
9. Queen’s Bath
Located in the northern part of Kauai island near Princeville town, The waterfall Queen’s bath is of great historical significance.
Nestled among the igneous rock and endemic flora, Queen’s bath’s natural pool is an ideal recreational setting among Kauai waterfalls.
The pool was named as Queen’s bath as royals used to take a bath in the same. It was also used as a place to relieve stress and relax by the royals.
The pool is accessible through a small trail. The trail is muddy and steep in certain areas and might trouble you during winters. The path is rocky; make sure you carry your hiking shoes. Otherwise, the hike is short and pleasant.
You can also spot some marine flora like sea urchins and fishes in the pond.
10. Waipo’o Falls
Last but not least, among the top 10 Kauai Waterfalls is the Waipo’o falls. Located in northwestern Kauai near the Waimea Canyon, the beauty of two-tiered Waipo’o falls is a sight to behold.
The waipo’o falls rise up to 800ft, among the edgy mountain cliffs. The waterfall often dries during summer days. So, it is better to visit falls during winters.
You can also see a part of the fall from the Waimea Canyon lookout. Helicopter rides are also available for a better and closer view of the waterfall.
North of the Waimea Canyon lookout lies another lookout called the Pu’uka Pele point. The falls are better viewed from this point. The hike to the top of the falls is moderate in terms of hiking. Take the canyon trail, and it will take you to the top of the falls.
If you’ve already visited any one of the above-mentioned Kauai waterfalls, do share your experience with us in the comment section below. If not, I hope I have given you enough reasons to do so.