11 Beautiful Kauaʻi Waterfalls and Waterfall Hikes You Can’t Miss (+ map!)

Kauaʻi is the most lush and least inhabited of the main Hawaiian islands, and truly is a paradise on Earth. One of the things that make the island so famous are the roaring and tropical Kauaʻi waterfalls you can find all across the island.

Our guide details some of the most famous and easily reachable waterfalls on Kauaʻi that you can visit on your trip.

Kauaʻi Waterfall Map

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Best Kauai Waterfalls

Wailua Falls

The Wailua Falls are but one of many Kauaʻi waterfalls that you need to add to your island plans! These waterfalls split into two separate falls that thunder over 170 feet down into crystal clear waters 😍.

If are experienced enough to remember Fantasy island (we are, no shame! Fantasy Island aired during the 70s and 80s), the falls were featured in the opening credits of that show.

The Wailua Falls on Kauaʻi.
The Wailua Falls on Kauaʻi. Photo by Zane Persaud on Unsplash

One of the biggest draws to Wailua Falls is how easy they are to reach. They are located right next to a parking lot so you don’t need to do any hiking to get there. This easy visibility make them worthwhile and easy to visit for all kinds of travelers.

ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls

The 151 feet tall ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls is a waterfall located on the ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream in the Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of Kauaʻi.

This is one of Kauaʻi’s most accessible major waterfalls that flows over a basalt ridge left behind by a volcanic eruption that took place millions of years ago.

Opaeka’a Falls
ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls | Image: guille pozzi

Fun fact: ʻOpaekaʻa in Hawaiian means “rolling shrimp”, probably because, at one time, freshwater shrimp were found here in abundance.

Waipoʻo Falls

The Waipoʻo Falls is a 800 foot cascading waterfall that can best be seen from various lookouts along the road through Waimea Canyon. There also is a popular and family-friendly 3 mile (round trip) hike that takes you to the top of the falls.

Waipiʻo Falls on Kauaʻi.
Waipiʻo Falls on Kauaʻi. Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

The trail itself can get muddy after heavy rain and please make sure to pack in and pack out all of your trash. Mahalo!

Mount Waialeale Falls (Wall of Tears)

Mount Waialeale is one of the highest peaks on Kauaʻi and is, with about 372 inches of rain a year, one of the wettest places in the United States! All this rain has to come down, and does so along countless waterfalls. After heavy rains there are so many waterfalls, that it has earned Waialeale Falls the title of “Wall of Tears”, or the “Weeping Wall”.

Mount Waialeale Falls - Weeping Wall
Mount Waialeale Falls – Weeping Wall | Image: Lauri Sten | Source | CC

The wall of tears is reachable by a challenging and truly majestic hike, but the trailhead is difficult to find and we recommend using the services of a guide. Visitors that have done the hike say that the weeping wall is magical and that there also are countless waterfalls visible along the trail as you hike along the river.

If hiking is not your thing, you can also see there waterfalls as part of a helicopter tour.

Hanakoa Falls

The Hanakoa Falls and the Hanakapiʻai Falls (mentioned below) are the two main waterfalls that cascade down the world-famous Na Pali Coast on Kauaʻi. At 1000 feet tall, Hanakoa Falls is the taller of the two.

Hanakoa Falls
Hanakoa Falls | Image: Brian Walter | Source | CC

You can see the falls either from a helicopter or after a long day of hiking the Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast. This trail is an eleven mile long and very scenic hike that takes you through lush valleys and to waterfalls and sea caves. Reservations for the hike are needed.

Hanakapiai Falls

The Hanakapia Falls are the second-tallest waterfalls along the Na Pali coast. Getting to these falls again requires a 4-mile hike (the Hanakapia Falls Trail) or a helicopter trip.

When hiking bring swimming gear as you will get to the beautiful Hankapiai Beach after a few miles of hiking.

Hanakapiai Falls
Hanakapiai Falls | Paul Bica | Source | CC

The Hanakapia Falls make a 300 ft drop into a small emerald green pool.

Kalihiwai Falls

Kalihiwaii Falls is a beautiful two-tiered waterfall on the Kalihiwai River. The falls are visible from a bridge over the river and are located on the north-central coast of Kauai between Kilihiwai Bay and the town of Princeville.

Kalihiwai Falls
Kalihiwai Falls | Image: Lauren | Source | CC

There are 4 more beautiful waterfalls upstream of the bridge, and all of these can be reached by a 3-hour guided hike or a horseback ride.

Kipu Falls (now blocked off)

The Kīpū Falls in East Kauaʻi have a dangerous reputation because of recent drownings and numerous other injuries. Because of this the Grove Farms Company, which owns the land where the falls are located, decided to block off the access route.

Kipu Falls
Kipu Falls | Image: Bryce Edwards | Source | CC

Uluwehi Falls (a.k.a. Secret Falls)

The Uluwehi Falls got their nickname “Secret Falls” in the pre-internet days, when only few people knew how to get there. Nowadays it is easy to find out how to get there, but it is still a whole adventure as you first need to take a 20 minute kayak ride only to get to the trailhead!

Uluwehi Falls (a.k.a. Secret Falls)
Uluwehi Falls (a.k.a. Secret Falls) | Image: Joe Baz | Source | CC

People up to the challenge are rewarded with a gorgeous 100-foot tall waterfall and a refreshing pool in which they can swim.

Hoʻopiʻi Falls

The Ho’opi’i Falls lie at the end of a 1.5 mile long trail close to Kapaʻa on Kauaʻi. The falls themselves are with a 20-ft drop not the most spectacular but the associated swimming hole and pleasant hike make this a local favorite.

Hiking Kauai | Ho'opi'i Falls | featured in Jurassic Park!

Good to know: Hoʻopiʻi has an upper and lower section. Most people stop at the upper Hoʻopiʻi  waterfall, but it is certainly worth it to continue downstream on the trail for 15-20 more minutes to enjoy the lesser-visited lower falls.

Hoʻolea Falls

The Hoʻolea falls are yet another small(ish) waterfall, but we have good reasons to include them as the final item in our list of favorite Kauaʻi waterfalls: Their location on the Na Pali coast is incredible, and the fact that you need to hike 11 miles (1 way!) means that you often have these falls all for yourself.

Remote Kalalau Beach with waterfalls.

To get to the falls you first need to hike the complete 11 miles of the Kalalau Trail (reservations with the national park needed), and then hike up the stream until you get to the waterfalls. People often take multiple days to hike this trail, so prepare well!