Adventure / Hiking / Kauai

Chasing Waterfalls in Kauai

Chasing Waterfalls

Recently I traveled to the island of Kauai with my mother and my two daughters. To be independent on the island, we found it necessary to rent a car, as we didn’t see many opportunities to catch a taxi. One of the most popular things to do on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai is to visit the waterfalls, and so one of our morning adventures was chasing waterfalls!

chasing waterfalls Wailua
Wailua Falls

Our first stop was the popular Wailua Falls. It was magnificent and required no hiking on our part to see it in it’s entirety. The falls are 173 feet tall and are most famous for being in the opening credits of the television show Fantasy Island. In the past, Hawaiian men were known to jump into the falls, landing in the pool below to prove their manhood. The falls were beautiful and we were lucky to see a rainbow emerging through the mist. A local told us that there is a special trail which hikers can take that will lead to the pool at the bottom of the falls. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that big of a hike, as we had more stops to make.

chasing waterfalls opaekka
Opaekaa Falls

We got back onto the road and about 25 minutes later (due to traffic) we arrived at the scenic overlook of Opaekaa Falls in Wailua River State Park. The Opaekaa Falls are 151 feet tall and are easily viewed from an overlook on the side of the road. Opaekaa literally means rolling shrimp, because in the old days’ shrimp were so plentiful they rolled down the falls. I can only imagine how amazing that would have been to see! Just across the street at the overlook we were able to see stunning views of the Wailua River, as well as the surrounding greenery.

chasing waterfalls ho'opi'i
Ho’opi’i Falls

Next, we wanted to see upper Ho’opi’i Falls, which required a short hike of maybe a mile or so. It was all downhill and a bit slick so my Mom stayed behind. The entire trail was shaded by huge tropical trees with great big leaves. Once we reached the river we followed the path down-stream until we heard the thundering of the falls. The Ho’opi’i Falls were beautiful and there were a couple of places we could get close enough to be in a picture with the falls. We climbed down for a closer look, the falls were about 15 feet high and had a pool below. It is said there was a lower set of falls as well, but we decided to save that for another time.

These were the only waterfalls that we went and saw up close, but driving around the island we saw many more in the distant mountains.

If you are into chasing waterfalls, these can be visited in just a few short hours of your day. I want to share a link to The World of Waterfalls, they list about 15 falls you can visit on the island of Kauai.

Have you seen amazing waterfalls that took your breath away? Do you prefer to hike into them or see them from the comfort of your car? Please comment below any favorites you may have!


14 thoughts on “Chasing Waterfalls in Kauai

  1. Our family loved visiting the different waterfalls on the island. We went to both sets of the Ho’opi’i falls and swam in the pools. We also hiked the 4 miles up to Hanakapi’ai Falls on the Kalalau Trail. This was an all day adventure with lots of water crossings and plenty of mud. It was definitely worth the hike to see this amazing waterfall.

  2. I haven’t yet had the chance to visit Hawaii, but your beautiful photos are giving me wanderlust! I personally love hiking to waterfalls, and my favorites are the ones I can swim under! 🙂 It is so cool that you had the opportunity to visit these falls with your family – so lovely!

    1. I wish we could have swam under one of them, that would have been so much fun. Thank you for the nice comment! 🙂

  3. I love this post! I’m super obsessed with gorgeous waterfalls and Ho’opi’i Falls looks simply astounding beyond belief! 🙂 Hope I get to visit someday!

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