The 10 Most Incredible Waterfalls in Kauai (With Photos)

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Written by Volia Schubiger

Published: May 27, 2022

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Hawaii’s fourth-largest island, Kauai, is affectionately known as the “Garden Isle.” Most of Kauai has a lush rainforest covering its surface. There’s no doubt that Kauai embodies heaven on Earth. Kauai is especially known for its beauty, with waterfalls all over the island adding to its allure. There are many waterfalls in Kauai that you can see during your vacation, and this article will list some of the most incredible ones worthy of your time!

1. Hanakapi’ai Falls

The,Famous,Hanakapi'ai,Falls,In,Kauai,,Hawaii.

The famous Hanakapi’ai Falls in Kauai, Hawaii.

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Caption: The total elevation rise from Hanakapi’ai beach to the falls is 760 feet.

Hanakapi’ai Falls
Location:Hanalei, Kauai
Nearby Attractions:Hanakapi’ai Beach
Animals to See:Striped Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins

You might want to be willing to break a sweat for a waterfall with a nearly 300-foot drop. The walk from the beach to Hanakapiai Falls is about four miles round trip. However, there is a chance that the route will become slippery and hazardous at times, and that there may be sudden rainstorms. We guarantee you’ll enjoy the falls as well as the scenery as you climb through bamboo woods and tropical jungle.

2. Wailua Falls

Amazing twin Wailua waterfalls on Kauai island, Hawaii

Wailua Falls is well known for appearing in the opening credits of the long-running television series “Fantasy Island.

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Wailua Falls
Location:Kapaʻa, HI
Nearby Attractions:Wailua River State Park
Animals to See:White-rumped Shama, Chinese Hwamei

Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve near Lihue is home to the falls, where the Wailua River splits into two streams, cascading 100 feet to a picturesque lake below. Although the river’s flow changes with rainfall, those who come early in the morning are treated to a rainbow caused by sun rays passing through the fall mist. Wailua Falls can be viewed from the road, unlike other waterfalls in Kauai, so there is no need to exit the car- although you’re probably going to want to!

3. Ho’opi’i Falls

Ho'opi'i Falls

Hoopii Falls (or Ho’opi’i Falls) is really a pair of waterfalls situated in Kapa’a’s calmer, more residential side.

©Abbie Warnock-Matthews/Shutterstock.com

Ho’opi’i Falls
Location:Kapaʻa, Kauai
Nearby Attractions:Kapaʻa Stream
Animals to See:Hoary Bats, Monk Seals

Ho’opi’i Falls, located on Kauai’s eastern shore, is considered one of the island’s hidden wonders. It drops approximately 600 feet from top to bottom. If you are willing to venture off the beaten path, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the flora and fauna, as well as two waterfalls with the same name. In Jurassic Park, the falls were used in the setting of the imaginary Amber Mine of Mano de Dios in the Dominican Republic.

4. Hanakoa Falls

Hanakoa Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanakoa Falls is one of the two waterfalls along the enchanting Kalalau Trail.

©Adam Springer/Shutterstock.com

Hanakoa Falls
Location:Kauai, HI
Nearby Attractions:Nā Pali Coast
Animals to See:Apapane, ‘Elepaio

The lovely and picturesque Hanakoa Falls are on the Napali Coast, tucked away in the mountains near Kalalau Trail’s midway point. Due to elevation variances and natural barriers, only partial tiers of the falls can be seen from viewing sites along the path. The falls are approximately 1,000 feet tall from top to bottom. However, you can get permission from Lihue’s government offices if you want to hike all the way to the falls.

5. Kalihiwai Falls

Caption: Kalihiwai Falls is a lovely two-tiered waterfall in Kauai viewable from the Kalihiwai River bridge.

Kalihiwai Falls
Location:Kilauea, Kauai
Nearby Attractions:Kalihiwai Falls Hike
Animals to See:Hawaiian Crow, Hawaiian Stilt

The magnificent Kilihiwai Falls is accessible by automobile on Kauai’s north-central coast between Princeville and Kilihiwai Bay. The best way to see them, though, is by foot or horseback since the popular viewing point near the Kalihiwai River bridge has been blocked off recently. Don’t miss out on one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Kauai!

6. Ho’ole’a Falls

Caption: Ho’ole’a Falls has an elevation of 200 feet.

Ho’ole’a Falls
Location:Kauai County, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Kalalau Beach
Animals to See:Angelfish, Butterfly Fish

In the heart of Kauai, Ho’ole’a Falls is nestled in between the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve and the Na Pali Coast State Park. Visitors flock to the falls and surrounding area because of the vista. You can find the falls at the end of the Kalalau Trail, about 11 miles west of Kalalau Beach. 200-foot Hoolea Falls awaits you if you’re determined.

7. Mount Waialeale Falls

Aerial view of waterfalls in crater of Mount Waialeale on hawaiian island of Kauai from helicopter flight

The peak of Mt. Waialeale receives more than 450 inches of rain each year on average.

©Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com

Mount Waialeale Falls
Location:Kauai, HI
Nearby Attractions:Mount Waialeale summit
Animals to See:Indian mongoose, Hawaiian goose

Hawaii’s word for rippling water is Waialeale, a fitting name given the area gets over 600 inches of rain each year. Around 3,000 feet above sea level, Mount Waialeale captures warm, moisture-rich clouds moving in from the sea. These clouds release their content onto adjacent mountains. ​​There are few places as spectacular as these falls, also known as the ‘Wall of Tears,’ on Kauai. But unless you’re willing to spend lots of money on a helicopter excursion, you will have to be satisfied with photographs since they’re almost impossible to get to.

8. Opaekaa Falls

ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls, a waterfall located on the ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream in Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of the island of Kauai, Hawaii, United States.

Opaekaa Falls is a 151 ft tall and 40 ft wide waterfall in Kauai.

©Abbie Warnock-Matthews/Shutterstock.com

Opaekaa Falls
Location:Kauai, Hawaii
Nearby Attractions:Wailua River State Park
Animals to See:Kariba tilapia, Bluefin trevally

A 150-foot drop of the Wailua River in Opaekaa Falls leads to a hidden pool filled with froth and spray below. You can see the falls from a nice parking lot and viewing area that also has picnic tables. Despite most people being content with the view from the viewing area, there is a trailhead nearby if you have hiking shoes. It will take you to a more interesting vantage point if you follow it for about 30 minutes.

9. Uluwehi Falls

Uluwehi Falls, Kaiai

One of the most cherished natural treasures of Hawaii is the Uluwehi Falls, also referred to as Secret Falls.

© Gary Gilardi/Shutterstock.com

Uluwehi Falls
Location:Kapaʻa, Kauai
Nearby Attractions:Wailua River State Park
Animals to See:Feral Pigs, Amakihi

The 100-foot Uluwehi Falls, dubbed Secret Falls by locals, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kauai. But you can get to the falls if you know what to look for. However, tours are the best way to see Uluwehi Falls, unless you’re up for a 50-minute kayak ride followed by a 30-minute jungle hike.

10. Kipu Falls

Kipu Falls Kauai

Kipu Falls is a small but popular waterfall that’s better known as a swimming hole than a waterfall.

©Jason McCartney/Shutterstock.com

Kipu Falls
Location:Lihue, HI
Nearby Attractions:Huleia Stream
Animals to See:White-footed boobies, Laysan albatross

There is nothing like Kipu Falls for adventurous tourists who are not afraid of trespassing or risking great heights. Despite being on private land, the falls are located upstream from the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, and it is a popular swimming spot among locals. Because of the possibility of forceful falls, particularly during the wet season, swimming is only recommended for only the most fit and daring.


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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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