Opaekaa Falls ('Opaeka'a Falls)

Wailua River State Park (Kauai Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 1
Opaekaa Falls
Opaekaa Falls (or Opaeka'a Falls) is a segmented waterfall said to tumble at a height of 151ft.

This waterfall was real easy to see from a distance because it had an official overlook and car park that was well signposted, and it was not far from the town of Kapaa (or Kapa'a). Thus, we were definitely accompanied by many other tourists at this overlook as it was a very popular stop.

I believe "Opaeka'a" means "rolling shrimp" probably because there used to be the rare native shrimp in the freshwater streams here, and these shrimp were known to be able to cliff climbs containing waterfalls such as this one.

Now even though the overlook was very popular and busy, it left a lot to be desired due to its very distant and partially obstructed view (thanks to a tree that covered up a good chunk of the falls). Thus, it posed a dilemma as to whether we should seek out a way to get closer to the waterfall or be content with this view that bordered on disappointing.

Well, it turned out that there were paths to the base of the waterfall. However, one of them was very dangerous as a pair of ladies who made the attempt had died just before we arrived. This one was mentioned in the Adventures section of the Blue Bible. As you can tell from the dearth of photos on this page, we decided against chancing it.

Meanwhile, the other path along the Opaeka'a Stream went through state land that was leased to a private company so it would be considered trespassing to go this route. We learned about this route from a friendly kama'aina from the Kamokila Hawaiian Village. So admittedly, it was word-of-mouth and something we weren't in a position to substantiate.

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Further to the west on the other side of Kaua'i was Waimea Canyon, which was Hawaii's version of the Grand CanyonFurther to the west on the other side of Kaua'i was Waimea Canyon, which was Hawaii's version of the Grand Canyon
Further to the south near the resorts of Po'ipu was the Spouting Horn BlowholeFurther to the south near the resorts of Po'ipu was the Spouting Horn Blowhole
View of 'Opaeka'a Falls from the overlook againView of 'Opaeka'a Falls from the overlook again

Another look at 'Opaeka'a FallsAnother look at 'Opaeka'a Falls

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From Kapa'a, head south on Hwy 56 for about a mile. Just before the Wailua River Bridge, turn right (heading west) onto Hwy 580 (Kuamo'o Road). Watch for the Opaekaa Falls sign at the junction of Hwy 580 and 56. The signed car park for the 'Opaeka'a Falls Lookout is a little over a mile from the junction. From Lihu'e, go about 6 miles north towards Kapa'a, crossing the Wailua River Bridge. Turn left after the bridge and head west on Hwy 580 for a little over a mile to the car park.

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For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.

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Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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