You simply cannot plan a trip to Kauai without including Wailua Falls on your itinerary. One of the most beautiful waterfalls you’ll ever see, it’s also one of the most well-recognized in Hawaii.
Wailua is known for its dramatic double falls which cascade 173 feet down the rugged cliff face. If you’re lucky, you’ll visit on a day when the mist and sunshine combine to make a beautiful rainbow –– not a rare occurrence at Wailua!
Just a short drive from our selection of Kauai vacation rentals, Wailua Falls is simply a must-visit. It can be a little tricky to plan if you don’t know where to begin, so let’s lay the narrative for you.
Why is Wailua Falls so famous?
To put it simply: it’s amazing, stunning and breath-taking, just like Tunnels beach! The double-falls and their iconic rainbow have been photographed hundreds of thousands of times, plus they were featured in the opening credits of the television series Fantasy Island.
Of course, all of Hawaii’s islands are covered in beautiful waterfalls. But unlike other waterfalls nearby, Wailua Falls is far more accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s usually top of the list for adventurous travelers to Kauai who want to get out of their beach rentals and explore the island.
The best view of the falls is from the top, where you’re most likely to see the rainbow form through the mist. In fact, it’s illegal to hike to the base of the waterfall, due to the rough and unpredictable terrain, but don’t let that stop you from taking in the stunning overlook area where you can bask in the falls and all their glory!
If you want to get in a longer hike while on your trip, don’t worry! There are plenty in the area –– just refrain from hiking around Wailua Falls out of respect for Mother Nature.
Another reason that Wailua Falls is so famous is due to its important position in the history of Hawaii and its heritage. In ancient times, men used to jump off the cliff to showcase it as a sign of their manhood.
How long is the hike to Wailua Falls?
The trail is approximately a third of a mile long and can be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes, but be careful as the heart of the trail is down a very steep and slippery slope.
Hikers must hold on to tree roots, limbs and available ropes to safely navigate the slope. Unfortunately, the trail to the base of Wailua Falls is now permanently closed due to safety concerns. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the falls! There’s a stunning vantage point right off the road, so you don’t even need hiking boots or a backpack.
Despite the countless warnings attached everywhere around the top of the falls, some hikers do make a point to traverse the dangerous trail to the base of the falls. It’s not easy: hikers must have ropes, and hold on to tree roots and limbs to safely navigate the hiking terrain.
We strongly urge you to stay at the top where it’s far safer –– there are so many stunning hikes across Kauai, this one can be left off the list!
Though, it should be noted: avoid throwing any rocks or pebbles from above the falls. Though it can be tempting to toss one at the pool below to see the splash, if any daring hikers are down there it could add an extra element of danger.
Attractions near Wailua Falls
Once basked in the beauty of Wailua Falls, it doesn’t mean you just have to head back to your home or vacation rental. There are a ton of other fun activities to do in the area to really make a day of it.
One of the most famous spots is the Fern Grotto, a fern-covered lake formed by lava. The spot is only accessible by boat –– to see it, you’ll need to take a river boat tour down the Wailua River.
If you’re more adventurous, rent a kayak and make your way up the river about 1.4 miles, where you can get out and hike to the Grotto.
Visiting Lydgate Beach Park
Lydgate Beach Park is where the Wailua river flows into the ocean –– a great place to explore before exploring the falls. It’s a wonderful spot for kids, with calm beaches and picnic areas.
Here you’ll be able to rent kayaks, book boat cruises, and get more information about hiking trails in the area. For a family-friendly hike, embark on the Wailua Heritage Trail and witness an array of ancient and historic sites.
Don’t leave your snorkels at home! There’s great marine life to be-found just off the shore, even for inexperienced snorkelers.
Create your most memorable experience
Whether you plan to visit Wailua Falls, Tunnels Beach or Lydgate Beach, we can create a special tailored vacation packages to create the most memorable experience while vacationing in Kauai. Maybe it’s a special gift for a romantic honeymoon, a wedding anniversary, a picnic at the beach, a wellness trip or a completely customized and personalized experience, we can help create vacation package that will instil memories that will last forever.
Give us a call or send us an email to help you create your perfect vacation experience how you want to spend your next vacation in Kauai.
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