7 of the Best Kaua’i Waterfalls to Experience

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

Embarking on a journey through Kaua’i feels like stepping into a Bob Ross canvas, where the island’s lush greenery cradles some of the most captivating waterfalls in the world. Each cascade, whether veiled in the misty embrace of Mount Waialeale or tucked away in the secluded corners of the Na Pali Coast, holds a unique story of untamed beauty and timeless fascination. Kauai’s waterfalls stand as a testament to the island’s geological splendor and its enduring ability to captivate the senses. Join me on a journey to explore an integral part of the island’s enchanting allure, 7 of the best Kaua’i waterfalls.

1. Hanakapi’ai Falls

Hanakapiai Falls is one of the more difficult waterfalls to reach, but also one of the most famous falls on the island. As such, you can expect about an 8 mile out and back hike to reach this 300 foot tall waterfall. But what a waterfall it is! Located off the Na Pali coast, Hanakapi’ai Falls is an epic waterfall that appears on most top Hawaii waterfall lists.

If you are able-bodied and in decent physical fitness, hiking to Hanakapi’ai Falls is well worth the journey. This is one of my favorite waterfalls that I experienced on my trip in Kaua’i. You can read my full guide to hiking Hanakapi’ai Falls.

2. Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls is my favorite waterfall on Kaua’i. It’s not the tallest, or the most exotic waterfall. At 151 feet, Wailua Falls holds a special place in my heart. Why? Because I had this set of waterfalls all to myself for over an hour. I would have been content just staying near this waterfall my entire Kaua’i trip if I could have. While this set of waterfalls is easily viewable from the observation point on the street, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Getting down to the bottom of Wailua Falls takes about 20 minutes each way and is somewhat difficult. You’ll use a series of ropes that others have tied, which will help guide you down. I only recommend doing so if you are physically fit (no children or elderly) as the trek down is somewhat steep, wet, and muddy. You can read my guide how to get to the bottom of Wailua Falls if you’re interested in seeing this beauty up close and personal.

3. Opaeka’a Falls

Opaeka’a Falls is another well-known waterfall located on the Eastern side of the island. While I hiked down to Wailua Falls, I do not recommend that you attempt to do so on the Opaeka’a Falls. Hikers have died attempting to get down to the bottom, and I have heard that locals will call the police on you if they see you attempting it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to view these falls from the observation point off Kuamoo Road. Don’t try to get to the bottom of this one.

4. Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls)

The 400 foot tall Manawaiopuna Falls, also known as the waterfall from the original Jurassic Park movie, is only accessible from the air as it sits on private property. I saw this one from the helicopter tour, which is pretty neat! I wish I could access this waterfall from a hike, but it’s currently not possible.

5. Uluwehi Falls

Also known as Secret Falls, Uluwehi Falls is the only waterfall on this list I didn’t see in person as I ran out of time. To get to these falls, you’ll have to rent a kayak and paddle 45 minutes upstream. You’ll then have to hike another 20 minutes. “Secret Falls” has become not so much of a secret anymore, so you can expect to see quite a few other tourists near the falls if you go to see it Monday – Friday. As I last checked, many of the guided tours do not operate on the weekends, so it may be a good time for you to go if you’d like to view these falls with less people.

6. Waipo’o Falls

While you’re driving out to the western side of the island, Waipo’o Falls is a must see. Nestled in the amazing Waimea Canyon, Waipo’o Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls to get a great view of on the island. While hiking to this 800 foot waterfall is not possible (at least, from my research), you can get a great view by parking at the Waimea Canyon Overlook.

Waimea Canyon Overlook in Kaua'i, Hawaii

7. Mount Waialeale Waterfalls

The Weeping Wall, or Blue Hole, is an amazing spot inland where the volcano that formed the island sits dormant. What makes this spot special is the amount of waterfalls it has because it’s one of the rainiest places on earth. I was able to see this one on my helicopter tour, but was unable to hike to it due to not having a 4×4 vehicle.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Kaua’i’s Waterfalls

Thank you for reading through my guide of the 7 best Kaua’i waterfalls! If you’re looking to see some of Kaua’i’s best natural wonders, visiting the waterfalls is one of your best bets. I planned many of my mini adventures around these waterfalls, and I was left in awe. If you only have time to see a couple of these waterfalls, I’d highly recommend Hanakapa’ai Falls, Wailua Falls, and Mount Wailaleale Waterfalls via helicopter or hike if possible.

Happy wandering!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

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