Epic Waterfalls

5 Must-See Gushers

(page 5 of 5)

Drive-up Falls—Wailua and Opaekaa         

Not all waterfalls on Kauai are remote. There are a number of beautiful “drive-up” falls which you can see just a few steps from your car. Two of the best-known drive-up falls are both on Kauai’s East Side. The first is Wailua Falls, which was featured in the 1970s television series Fantasy Island. To reach the falls from downtown Lïhu‘e, drive north of Wilcox Hospital on the Kühiö Highway (Hwy 56) and soon you will reach Mä‘alo Road (Hwy 583) where you turn left and drive through abandoned cane fields for about four miles until you reach a small turnaround where everyone parks. These beautiful falls range from 80-ft to much higher depending on whose figures you accept.

Nearby, another drive-up falls is Opaekaa just north of Wailua Falls (continue north on Kuhio Highway four miles then turn left at the ruins of Coco Palms on Kuamoo Road). Opaekaa Falls is not as high as Wailua, but you can view it from a distance and, unless it is bone dry, typically has an impressive flow, which is downright remarkable after long periods of heavy rain.

A few words of caution: Hiking to any of these falls means you are most likely to get wet and muddy. The bottom of a waterfall is not a safe place to be when water, rocks or other debris come down. Before you go frolicking in the rivers, streams and other freshwater in Hawai‘i, take a few minutes to read up on the risks of leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that is potentially life threatening and may be found throughout Hawai‘i. Practice good judgment and always put safety first.

I Spy Waterfalls

To see the Wall of Tears of Mt. Waialeale and the famed Jurassic Falls along with much of Kauai’s inaccessible interior, book an air tour with Jack Harter (808) 245-3774, Safari (808) 246-0136, Sunshine Helicopters (808) 245-5953 or AirVentures 1-866-464-7864. 


For the Secret Falls Tour or kayak rentals, call Kayak Kaua‘i (808) 826-9844. 

As featured in Kauai Traveler magazine

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