Whether they cascade, fan, plunge, or trickle, waterfalls are just the sort of enchanting wonders that jump to mind when we think of Hawaii and Kauai is littered with them. Whether gazed down upon from a helicopter or viewed close enough to emerge misty-faced, the falls here range from roadside diversions to cinematic scene-stealers. At 80 feet, Wailua Falls is one of the most easily accessible but not easily forgotten. Long before it lent the “fantasy” to Fantasy Island’s opening sequence, it gave death-defying ancient warriors a beautiful jumping-off point. Namolokama Falls, on the other hand, couldn’t tempt even the bravest warrior. With multiple streams winding more than 2,300 feet down a verdant mountainside, the island’s longest falls are best savored from the Hanalei Valley Lookout. Those who dream of a more intimate encounter hike to Hanakapiai Falls which flows 100 feet off a lava rock wall into a freshwater pool that’s perfect for cooling off. Meanwhile, the 150-foot Opaeka’a is a more public affair with a popular roadside lookout giving way to the best views of its year-round focal point. Be prepared to pen some smug Wish You Were Here’s.
Hanakapi'ai Falls is hands down the most beautiful natural formation I have ever seen in person. They are the waterfalls of movies. Once you come through the end of the trees on the trail and see the falls and the pool below...well, your breath will be taken away. If you are moderately in shape and can make the very difficult 4 mile hike on the Kalalau Trail, I highly recommend doing it-it is very strenuous but the reward at the end is well worth it! (Just remember you also have to hike the 4 miles back!)
Waterfalls and More Nearby