Kauai Waterfalls Guide
Each region of Hawaii is home to several beautiful waterfalls. Some require a bit of a hike while others are easily accessed via driving or a short walk. Regardless of which you’re looking for, you’ll find everything you need to know to experience the wonderful natural beauty of these unreal attractions in this guide!
North Shore Waterfalls
Magical Hanakapiai Falls | paul (dex) bica from toronto, canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
If you’re hiking the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast, you’ll come to the Hanakapiai Beach about two miles along the trailhead. From there, you can trek another two miles inland along the Hanakapiai Stream to get to this 300-foot waterfall. Keep in mind that this secondary trail isn’t heavily trafficked and that you’ll need a reservation to enter the Kalalau Trail, which you can acquire here.
Peaceful Kilauea Falls | Photo by @gmicahb via Instagram
Although public funds were used to clean the area surrounding Kilauea Falls, one wealthy individual was allowed to close access to the falls trail after purchasing property along the trailhead. We can’t recommend trespassing, so you’ll have to look elsewhere to find a publicly accessible waterfall, unfortunately.
Visit these waterfalls on Shaka Guide’s North Shore Kauai driving tour.
East Coast Waterfalls
Charming Ho’opi’i Falls | Kyle Pearce, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr
This series of falls along the Kapaʻa Stream near the town of Kawaihau was used in the filming of Jurassic Park (1993). There’s an awesome trail associated with the falls found near the end of Kapahi Road. There are several pools along the stream that are excellent for swimming.
‘Opaeka’a Falls. Robert Linsdell, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr
Found in the Wailua River State Park, this 150-foot waterfall is named after the freshwater shrimp that the ancient Hawaiian people would gather for food. The fall is visible from the road at a lookout vista on Kuamoo Road between Kamokila Hawaiian Village and Poliahu Heiau.
Wailua Falls are visible from a lookout and accessible via a very muddy hike. This 171-foot waterfall can be found at the end of Maalo Road Highway 583 in the Wailua River State Park. The pool below the falls is great for swimming, but the currents can be fast and dangerous at the base of the waterfall.
Visit these waterfalls on Shaka Guide’s Wailua Valley & Waterfalls driving tour.
Epic sight at Wailua Falls | Ewok Slayer at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Southern Inland Waterfalls
This beautiful set of waterfalls was recently opened to the public, and as such, the exact location isn’t quite mapped yet. This being true, it may be best to book one of the several tours available to the falls, which include a zipline over the falls and hike to the base!
If you’re determined to find it on your own, take a right onto Cane Road from Kaumaulii Highway 50 and another right to stay on Cane Road. Take the first left off of Cane onto an unnamed roadway. Take the first right after that and then stay left at each fork until you reach a dead end. There should be a trail nearby.
Historic Manawaiopuna Falls | Photo by Cyril Fluck, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr
This waterfall, which is also featured in Jurassic Park, is only accessible by a helicopter tour that lands nearby. If you have the opportunity to take the tour, it’s an awesome experience and you’ll definitely be the only group there. This 400-foot waterfall is surrounded by amazing basalt columns and beautiful green foliage.
Take our Poipu & Koloa Town tour and then check out these waterfalls!
Western Inland Waterfalls
sarandy westfall / Unsplash
Waipo’o Falls in Waimea Canyon
This waterfall is yet another phenomenal attraction in the renowned Waimea Canyon State Park. You can find this waterfall at the end of the 3.2-mile Waimea Canyon Trail, which begins at a parking lot on Kokee Road Highway 550. This gorgeous 800-foot waterfall can also be seen year-round, but the flow gets a bit thin during the drier summer months.
You can see the waterfall from several lookouts along Kokee Road, as well, if you aren’t interested in the hike. This area is also home to wild goats, which seem to break the laws of physics as they navigate the steep cliffs.
Visit Waipo’o Falls on our Waimea & Na Pali driving tour.
Kauai Waterfalls Tour
If you’re looking to experience as much of Kauai as possible, Shaka Guide’s Kauai driving tours are a great way to view the island’s popular and lesser-known attractions. And, since you’re here, we’ll specifically recommend our Wailua Valley and Waterfalls Tour.
Whether you choose to take one of our tours or go at it alone, we're certain your visit to any one of Kauai’s waterfalls will be a memorable experience. Good luck, travelers and adventurers!
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