Time: <1 HOUR
Distance: 0.5 MILES
Elevation Gain: 80 FEET
Foot Traffic: MODERATE
Challenges: Muddy and somewhat steep descent
Sights: Wailua Falls!!!
What to Bring: Swimsuit, Towel, Camera
Wailua Falls is an iconic landmark of the island of Kaua'i-- a gorgeous triple flow waterfall, located in an easily accessible part of the island. The real magic of these falls, however, come when you hike to its base. It is a short hike, but balances that with a very muddy, and steep descent. But if you make that trek, you will get to fully experience one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Hawaii. Be sure to bring your camera for this one. It is a place where you will want to capture every moment.
Our short Kaua'i trip was coming to a close. After an awesome day 1 hiking the Honopu Ridge and Kukui Trails, we spent our second day, lounging and camping on the beach, experiencing the Super Blood Wolf Moon (yea it's a thing). It was our final day before hopping back to Oahu, so we had to make it count. Despite a collective 10+ years on the island and several visits to Kaua'i, none of us had hiked to the base of Wailua Falls. We knew this would have to be the way we closed out our trip. There really was no better way to do it.
The first thing you will need to do is get to the falls. They are located at the end of Maalo Road. It should be easy to find... look for all the cars. It seems like parking gets a little hectic but we didn't have a problem parking farther up and off the side of the road. Above is a shot from the lookout. Most people will come here, snap a few pics, and go on with their day. But there is so much more to these falls than this lookout.
But of course, you have to know where to look. Luckily, it's not too difficult to figure out. Follow the guardrail away from the falls until the fence ends. See that opening in the trees with the sign? That is one of the paths down to the base.
We learned after the hike, that there is actually more than one path down to the falls. If you were to go around this fence and head left (from the picture's perspective), you would actually find another opening in the trees with a rope to mark the trail. If I did this hike again, this is the path I would choose. It is more direct and actually a bit easier of a descent.
But unfortunately, none of us knew that. So we took the harder route. This route wasn't anything crazy, it just took a bit longer.
. There was plenty of mud and the descent was steep, but it's all part of the adventure! Still, we were all glad the ropes were here to assist us.
And within 15 minutes, we got our first glimpse of the falls! Let's get closer shall we?
PICTURE TIME! Seriously, it was impossible to resist taking thousands of pictures here. It was just too beautiful. And we happened be here at the perfect time of day because a rainbow was visible at the base. Unreal!
Commence photo shoot. Special mahalo to Indre (insta @search_for_happy) for acting as my model for many of these photos. I've finally accepted that people really create better perspective in photos. I suppose I will have to keep hiking with people in the future... just for the photos of course 😜.
A rare photo with me in it. Like most, I suffer from being overly critical of what I look like in photos. But I like this one... because I'm mostly in the shadows...
Fun fact, you can actually hike behind the waterfall. Not too difficult, but I do recommend keeping the shoes on. Once you near, you will be hit with several sensations-- the roar of the falls and the constant spray coming hitting your body. As I got closer, I struggled to keep my camera dry.
But it was worth the risk for the photos. This shot captures the raw power you feel standing beneath this magnificent creation.
After playing behind the falls, we decided it was time to take a dip in the water... we were a bit smelly after camping for the last two days. I took the opportunity to take a few more photos. Carly looks so small here next the 80 feet of greatness.
Indre's pose here captures the feeling-- it's hard to look away. But we do have to move on, back to Oahu, and back to the next day, week, and year of our lives. But photos like this, help us relive moments like these, and help us to keep exploring.
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Also Check Out:
- Journey Era's Post about Wailua Falls