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How to Visit Wailua Falls on Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii is a tropical destination filled with incredible waterfalls, many of which are located on the island of Kauai. One of the most beautiful waterfalls to see while you are traveling here is Wailua Falls, which is north of Lihue and at the southern end of the Wailua River.

Here are some details about Wailua Falls to help you plan for your trip!

*Looking to stay nearby? Check out these top vacation rentals near Wailua Falls.

A stunning double waterfall to see
Credit: A stunning double waterfall to see by © Jared Richardson | Dreamstime.com

One of the most beautiful destinations on Kauai, Wailua Falls is a double waterfall that drops down about 80 to 200 feet in a truly dramatic way. The size of the falls depends on the recent rainfall conditions up in the mountains, but it’s a beautiful place to see at any time. In fact, Wailua Falls was featured in the opening scene of the 1970s hit TV show, Fantasy Island.

Rainbow over Wailua Falls
Credit: Rainbow over Wailua Falls by © Alexander Demyanenko | Dreamstime.com

Something that makes Wailua Falls unique is that it’s easy to access without even needing to go for a hike. Drive north from Lihue via Maalo Road in Hanamaulu to access this site. You can see the waterfall from the side of the road without having to hike down or spend a lot of time getting to the area. You can see the waterfall well from the overlook, but never throw rocks or other objects down from the viewing point for everyone’s safety. Also, park in the designated parking area, and be respectful of other tourists who have arrived to see the falls as well.

There are several pools of water where one can swim at the base of Wailua Falls
Credit: There are several pools of water where one can swim at the base of Wailua Falls by © Stephen Minkler | Dreamstime.com

Over the years, many people have hiked down to the falls to get a closer look and immerse themselves in the true nature of the region. However, hiking down can be a dangerous endeavor and is not recommended unless you are a very experienced hiker and agile on your feet. In fact, there are official signs posted that provide warnings against hiking down in the area for safety purposes.

Hike around the falls for epic views
Credit: Hike around the falls for epic views by © arkantostock | Dreamstime.com

The hike to the bottom pool is short but very steep and often muddy. It can be difficult to navigate because it is slippery, especially after recent rains. Even good hikers who are being very careful have reported slipping and falling on this trail just to get to the base of the falls. The full trail out and back is less than a mile, but plan at least an hour for it because of the steepness and questionable conditions. The easiest route to hike to the bottom of the falls starts right by the main parking lot. You should expect to scramble over rocks, wade through water, and feel cold water temperatures as you go down the trail towards the falls.

The Wailua Waterfall on the island of Kauai flows into the Wailua River
Credit: The Wailua Waterfall on the island of Kauai flows into the Wailua River by © Demerzel21 | Dreamstime.com

But no matter how you choose to visit Wailua Falls, make sure to snap a lot of photos because the scenery is something that you’ll never want to forget. Another option to see the falls is to take an airplane or helicopter tour over Kauai to get a whole new perspective of the landscape. Remember that cliff-diving is not a safe option at Wailua Falls. However, morning is a great time to visit Wailua Falls because the sunlight mixed with the mist often results in a beautiful rainbow.

Wailua Falls Information
Location: Wailua River State Park on Kauai, Hawaii
GPS Coordinates: 22.0346° N, 159.3789° W
State Park Website

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