Must See Waterfalls in Kauai

Kauai has some of the most beautiful nature on the entire planet, and waterfalls are one of the many highlights of natural beauty on the Hawaiian island.  Not only is there a diverse selection of them, they’re not all impossible to get to!   Some require hikes of varying difficulty, but others are easily viewed from cars or boats.

So, what are you waiting for?  Grab your camera, and get ready to go visit some waterfalls!

Ideal setting for Waterfalls

Kauai’s nickname is the Garden Island, and it really is an appropriate title since it’s a giant haven of lush forests, beaches, and mountains.  Also, the second tallest mountain on the island, Mount Waialeale, also happens to be the second wettest place on the planet with an average rainfall of 460 inches.

The combination of these factors means that many of these falls are beautiful and have continuous source of water.  Plus, there a plenty of great hiking trails to help visitors get to the more remote groups of falls.

Hanakapiai Falls. A magical experience swimming underneath it.

A photo posted by Tuna (@42na) on

Hanakapiai Falls

These falls are located on the North Shore, and they’re not necessarily the easiest to get to.  However, the beauty that you’ll find on this hike along the Na Pali Coast is definitely worth it.  It takes about four miles of walking to get to the falls, but you’ll find a beach halfway, and there are a few exciting river crossings.  Be warned that this hike can be dangerous if the weather is very rainy (because of slippery rocks and stronger river currents), so make sure to leave early and check the weather before going.

Ho’opi Falls

This trip on the eastern side of the island has a nice bonus, because there are actually two falls next to each other.  Also, it’s a popular spot to visit because it’s a nice, easy hike to get to the falls, and you usually have the opportunity to do a little swimming in the splash pool.

Kipu Falls

Kipu Falls in the south is a spot with a rough history.  It’s extremely beautiful, so much that they even served as a background shot in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  However, it had a growing reputation as a great swimming spot, but multiple tourists have drowned by not being cautious and prepared enough.  Because of this, the owners of the land now try to prevent people from visiting.  If you do go, don’t take the risk!  Please stay out of the water.

Na Pali Coast

This one is cheating a little bit, because it isn’t actually a waterfall.  The Na Pali Coast State Park is an incredibly beautiful area on the northwest side of the island.  There are some great hiking trails (and waterfalls) through the park, but it’s also a great idea to go around the coast in a boat.  With many steep cliffs jutting out of the jungle, you’re sure to see quite a few streams of water falling straight into the ocean.

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Opaekaa Falls

This 151-foot waterfall is located in the Wailua River State Park.  It’s quite interesting to look at because the multiple streams are flowing through basalt that is the result of volcanic eruptions.  Also, this is a really easy spot to drive to, and it’s built up enough to be safe for families with children.

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“Secret Falls”

The actual name of these falls is Uluwehi Falls, but they are commonly referred to as Secret Falls.  They’re another one in Wailua State Park, and it takes quite the adventure to get there!  The first step is to take a kayak, canoe, or some other small craft to get close.  Then you have an exciting hike that takes about 45 minutes.

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Wailua Falls

If you’ve ever seen the show Fantasy Island, then you’ve already seen these falls in the opening credits.  Also, you can drive right up to the falls, so this is another lovely one to visit if you want a relaxing trip.

Waipoo Falls

Waipoo Falls may just be one of the most spectacular views you’ll see on Kauai, and they’re located in the Waimea Canyon.  Once you see how this canyon looks, you’ll understand why it’s often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  And a waterfall that drops more than 800 feet?  Well, that’s just amazing.

Waterfalls Aren’t All

This list doesn’t even contain all the waterfalls on Kauai, but you get the idea of how many there actually are.  However, it’s a good idea to remember that waterfalls aren’t everything the island has to offer!  You have options for hiking, swimming, lying on the beach, eating delicious food, and much more.  What will your great adventure be?

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