15 Best Waterfalls in Kauai

Best Waterfalls in Kauai

Hello, and welcome to Kauai! Have you heard the name? Many of you may not have heard of the existence of such a place. It is a charming island tucked away in the heart of Hawaii. Now Hawaii is something you all have heard of!

Kauai, the “Garden Isle,” is renowned for its lush surroundings, spotless beaches, and breathtaking waterfalls. All nature lovers will find something appealing about Kauai’s waterfalls, which range from flowing sheets of water crashing into emerald pools to hidden beauties buried away in the island’s remote corners.

In this article, we’ll take you on an exciting tour to the15 best waterfalls in Kauai, where the awesomeness of nature has no bounds.

Hanakapiai Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai
Credits : paul (dex) bica, via Wikimedia Commons

Hanakapiai Falls, situated in the magnificent Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, marks the start of our expedition. This 300-foot waterfall is located deep within the beautiful Hanakapiai Valley.

It is absolutely breathtaking to watch the water tumble down from the cliff. Adventurers must embark on a strenuous but rewarding 8-mile round-trip journey to access this beauty.

Beautiful views of soaring cliffs, lush forests, and a crystal-clear river will greet you along the journey. The ultimate prize awaits at the falls, where you can refresh in the energizing pool beneath the cascading waves.

Wailua Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai

On the east side of Kauai, a double-tiered waterfall called Wailua Falls has mesmerized tourists for decades. It is one of the best waterfalls in Kauai. The waterfall drops about 80 feet into the Wailua River. Situated close to Lihue, Wailua Falls offer a captivating spectacle.

The falls are easily accessible and hence, have made cameos in various movies and television series, adding to their attractiveness with their ethereal beauty and lush environs.

Opaekaa Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai

As we explore the island’s east side, we see the spectacular Opaekaa Falls. This 151-foot waterfall, named “rolling shrimp” in Hawaiian, smoothly cascades into a pool surrounded by luscious vegetation.

Opaekaa Falls can be reached easily and is only a few miles from Wailua Falls. It provides a breathtaking vista of the Wailua River Valley. Visit early in the day to see how the sun and the mist from the falls interact.

Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls) 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai

Uluwehi Falls, often known as Secret Falls, is a hidden gem in the Wailua River Valley that can be reached by kayak or paddleboard. This remote gem can only be reached by crossing the river and rewards travelers with a tranquil atmosphere and unspoiled beauty.

When you canoe along the picturesque Wailua River, passing through lush jungles and historic Hawaiian monuments, the trek to Secret Falls is just as magical as the final destination.

When you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by a 120-foot waterfall that cascades into a lovely pool and invites you to cool off and enjoy the peace.

Waipoo Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai
Credits : dronepicr, via WIkimedia Commons

Waimea Canyon is frequently called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Visitors will have to explore it to arrive at the breathtaking Waipoo Falls.

It is one of the best waterfalls in Kauai that is easiest to get to and delivers a stunning sight that will remain long in your memory. Waipoo Falls portrays a beautiful image of natural beauty as it plunges down the 800-foot-high red walls of the canyon.

Visitors can take a leisurely trek down the Waipoo Falls Trail, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, to get to the viewpoint.

Waimoku Falls

Best Waterfalls in Kauai
Credits : Ekrem Canli, via Wikimedia Commons

The magnificent Waimoku Falls are located in Haleakala National Park on Maui’s eastern shore. This massive 400-foot waterfall is reachable via the well-known Pipiwai Trail, mesmerizing visitors with its ethereal splendor. Be prepared to get lost in this magical location’s peaceful surroundings.

Embrace the allure of the bamboo forest as you stroll down a wooden boardwalk past dazzling streams and emerald pools. Waimoku Falls gracefully cascades down a sheer lava rock wall. This sheer rock wall is the prize at the end of this breathtaking adventure.

Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Falls) 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai
Credits : Julian Fong, via Wikimedia Commons

Manawaiopuna Falls, also known as Jurassic Falls, is tucked away in the center of Hanapepe Valley and rose to popularity as a location for the popular movie “Jurassic Park.” This 360-foot waterfall can only be reached by helicopter or guided tour. It delivers a fully immersive experience.

Experience the grandeur of Manawaiopuna Falls as it cascades into a verdant oasis as you soar over the deep tropical trees, catch glimpses of the stunning coastline, and take in the scenery. Get ready to revisit “Jurassic Park’s” magical movie world as you prepare to be taken there.

Ho’opi’i Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai

Ho’opi’i Falls, located on Kauai’s eastern side within a thick rainforest, offers a picture-perfect setting. The top falls have two tiers and drop around 15 feet into a peaceful lake, and the lower falls drop another 20 feet into a bigger basin.

Visitors must take a short, muddy journey to reach these falls, heightening the sense of adventure. Once there, have a cooling swim, partake in a picnic, and savor the tranquil atmosphere of these undiscovered treasures.

Uluwehi Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai

Moving on to another hidden treasure, Uluwehi Falls, also known as the Secret Falls, embodies Kauai’s untouched beauty. These falls are accessible only by boat or kayak as they are situated deep within the island’s lush interior.

Embark on a guided river tour or rent a kayak and paddle up the Wailua River, passing through dense forests and serene landscapes. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a stunning 100-foot waterfall, surrounded by a pristine pool that beckons you to take a revitalizing swim.

Hanakoa Falls 

Kalalau Trail, Kauai - Hanakoa Falls
Credits : Rick McCharles, via Flicker

As we continue exploring along the Na Pali Coast, Hanakoa Falls presents as a breathtaking spectacle of nature. Hidden deep within the Hanakoa Valley, this 800-foot waterfall is accessible only to those who dare to conquer the challenging 11-mile Kalalau Trail.

Despite the demanding journey, the reward of witnessing the majestic Hanakoa Falls, surrounded by towering cliffs and verdant vegetation, makes it all worthwhile. Immerse yourself in the serenity of this remote paradise, and let the beauty of Hanakoa Falls leave you in awe.

Makaleha Falls 

Nestled in the verdant mountains of the Makaleha Forest Reserve, Makaleha Falls presents a mesmerizing sight that will take your breath away. Consisting of a series of cascades, these falls tumble down a lush cliff face, enveloped in vibrant greenery.

While reaching the base of the falls is challenging, the panoramic views along the Makaleha Ridge Trail make it a rewarding adventure. Be prepared for a hike that will test your endurance and agility, but rest assured, the stunning vistas and the allure of Makaleha Falls make it an experience you won’t soon forget.

Waialeale Falls 

Waimea Canyon - Kauai - Puu Ka Pele Lookout - Waipoo Falls
Credits : Al_HikesAZ, via Flicker

Located deep within the heart of the uninhabited Mount Wai’ale’ale, one of the wettest spots on Earth, Waialeale Falls is a testament to the raw power of nature. These falls cascade down the slopes of the ancient volcano. Access to this hidden gem is challenging, and a helicopter tour is often the best way to witness the grandeur of Waialeale Falls up close. 

Olo’upena Falls 

As the world’s fourth tallest waterfall, Olo’upena Falls is a true natural wonder that can be found along the Na Pali Coast. Plummeting an astonishing 2,953 feet into the Pacific Ocean, this remote and awe-inspiring cascade can be best appreciated from a distance by taking a helicopter tour or embarking on a boat excursion.

Marvel at the beauty of this breathtaking waterfall, which is often adorned with wisps of mist and surrounded by towering sea cliffs, creating a sight that will leave you speechless.

Kipu Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai
Credits : Bryce Edwards, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated just outside Lihue, Kipu Falls is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. While not the tallest or most dramatic waterfall on the island, Kipu Falls offers a fun-filled adventure and an opportunity to cool off in its refreshing waters.

However, it is essential to exercise caution and respect the power of the falls, as the currents can be strong. Relax by the natural pool, take turns jumping off the rocks into the water, or bask in the scenic beauty that surrounds you.

Papalaua Falls 

Best Waterfalls in Kauai
Credits : Forest and Kim Starr, via Wikimedia Commons

Our final destination on this waterfall expedition takes us to the hidden gem known as Papalaua Falls. Located in the remote region of the Waimea Canyon, Papalaua Falls showcases its beauty from a distance, cascading down the cliffs into the lush valley below.

The falls can be best admired from various lookout points along the canyon, offering panoramic views of the rugged landscape and the cascading waters. Prepare yourself to be mesmerized by the natural splendor of Papalaua Falls as you take in the breathtaking scenery.

Conclusion

The waterfalls of Kauai are a testament to the island’s unadulterated natural beauty and provide nature lovers with an unforgettable experience. These 15 best waterfalls in Kauai display the richness and beauty of the island’s geography.

The greatest waterfalls in Kauai offer an incredible journey that will leave you with memories that last a lifetime, whether you’re looking for adventure, tranquility or a look into the island’s film history.

So let the mist caress your skin and let the soul-entrancing rhythm of the cascades capture your attention as you immerse yourself in the allure of Kauai’s waterfalls.

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