Hike to Hanakapi'ai Falls in Kauai, HI

Kauai Travel Blog

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The Hanakapi’ai Falls trail, 5 hours round trip, for me is 4 hours, I was by myself, and a good hiker. I started this trail at Ke’e beach which at the end of the road on the north side of Kauai. It was raining on the eastside of town so I figured that the north side would be dry, wrong. I had a day off from work and had no real plans for doing anything. I wanted to do this trail for a long while and decided to do it that morning. I got to the trail head at about 130pm where it was still raining, and so I figured a swim  at Ke’e beach would be what I needed to get used to being wet for the hike, besides the water is warm.

There were about a million people coming off the trail, and being so late and raining they looked at like I was nuts, could be.

  The trail is a rocky climb to start with the rain making it like a creek. The views start with a high above look at Ke’e beach. The people I passed along the trail were really pleasant, and very soaked, as well was I. The pictures I took were of the hike into the falls, for I had to make hast to get out before dark had set in. The coast line of the trail is along some very high cliffs of the north side of Kauai, known as the Napali Coast. As I start this trail is close to Ke’e beach, I can hear the waves crashing on the reef, but as I walk the trail above the ocean I hear the waves crashing with a great roar against the cliffs.  During the winter months the northern swells make for some great surfing along the northern coastline, and some seriously dangerous currents, rip tides, and high surf that make swimming and just playing in the water very dangerous.

The trail is surrounded by many exotic plants and tropical fruits making this hike very beautiful to see even though it raining cats and dogs. The trail from Hanakapi’ai beach is rouged at times, actually most of the time, but very passable.  The trail has many bamboo trees, guava trees, and passes back and forth the Hanakapi’ai stream, and the many smaller falls are in the stream.  The smells along the trail are very pungent, with smells of fresh flowers, the smell of wet earth, and the smell of rotting fruit, and a smell that I could not resist. This smell I could not ever locate on the trail, but as I walked it filled the air and was the most enchanting fragrance that I have ever come across. The funny thing was that I was the only one on the trail being as late as it was, so it was not a women perfume.


As I hiked along the trail there is red dirt the covers my shoes and ankles, this dirt is all over the islands. The dirt is very slippery when it is raining, and thus I made sure to watch my every step, it’s hard to get out of clothes too. As I make my way up the stream to the falls this dirt is replaced more with rocks and tree roots. As I got closer to the falls I can start to hear the falls before I even see them. And when I get my first look at the falls I am amazed at the height of the falls themselves.  As I look up to the top of the falls I see the walls that surround me, and feel so little in comparison.  Jumping in the water, I lost my breath as I submerge myself into the cold fresh water.

This is very true
And as I swim to the falls and looking up at the falls, again I lose my breath at the sheer magnitude the falls.

After I have a brief snack and water, I head back to the trail and partake in the solitude of being the only one on the trail, and enjoy the beauty of nature and the sounds of it as I wonder back through jungle like atmosphere of this trail. Again the rain comes upon me on my journey back to my car, this time the rain is coming down more, and the trail acts more like a run-off for the entire coast.  The only time I am dry is when I get in my car, and if you know anything about my island car, that’s not saying much.   Happy Travels

sunsplashin1 says:
I love this place! I can't wait to go back.
Posted on: Mar 07, 2010
ms_travelr says:
I'm very jealous (and I mean that in a nice way) :-P
Posted on: Nov 25, 2008
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This is very true
This is very true
Hanakapiai Beach
Hanakapi'ai Beach
Hanakapiai Beach
Hanakapi'ai Beach
Water drop placed perfectly on len…
Water drop placed perfectly on le…
300 ft Fall Hanakapiai Falls
300 ft Fall Hanakapi'ai Falls
That is some cold ass water, I was…
That is some cold ass water, I wa…
Great pictures, soaked to the bone…
Great pictures, soaked to the bon…
4,312 km (2,679 miles) traveled
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photo by: hauteboy