Wailua Falls

Puna District / Wailua River State Park (Kauai Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 1
Wailua Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Wailua Falls (not to be confused with the same named falls in Maui) is one of the most easily-accessible yet beautiful waterfalls on Kaua'i.

From what I could tell, I recalled the opening sequence to the TV show "Fantasy Island" featured this waterfall. It has got a gorgeous double-barreled drop on the South Fork of the Wailua River with a reported height of 170ft (which is higher than the 80ft I think is widely reported in the literature).

Regardless of its height, we think of this waterfall as a drive-to waterfall and definitely worth a look. In fact, we liked this waterfall so much that it even made our Top 10 List of Hawaiian Waterfalls.

However, t wasn't until after we left Kaua'i did we remember that there were unofficial ways of getting to the bottom of the falls. So we weren't tempted with this option, but I heard that it's steep and can be prone to injury (supposedly people have died trying in the past). We can't say more about this, however, since we didn't do it. Besides, we thought the views from the top were good enough.

I had read that the top of Wailua Falls is flat, with channels carved into the erosion-resistant pahoehoe lava rock from centuries of water flow. It was said that ancestral Hawaiian male warriors tested their bravery by leaping (often to their deaths) from the top of the falls. Even today the dirt paths to the top are treacherously lethal scrambles. This has led the state of Hawaii to prohibit further access by erecting closure signs and barricades. We even saw a memorial left by a mother who lost someone over this waterfall.

The moral of the story is that if you're entertaining the notion of doing a little more with this waterfall than just driving to it, please do be cognizant of the risks and hazards involved. There are some mistakes you just don't come back from (let alone learn from).




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PHOTO JOURNAL

The nice thing about Wailua Falls is that it was so quick and easy to visit that we still had time to chill out by the beaches near the towns of Wailua and KapaaThe nice thing about Wailua Falls is that it was so quick and easy to visit that we still had time to chill out by the beaches near the towns of Wailua and Kapaa
Not far to the south of Wailua Falls was the resort area of Po'ipu as well as the pretty cool Spouting Horn BlowholeNot far to the south of Wailua Falls was the resort area of Po'ipu as well as the pretty cool Spouting Horn Blowhole
It really seemed like the resorts of Po'ipu were where visitors on a looser budget could stayIt really seemed like the resorts of Po'ipu were where visitors on a looser budget could stay
Further to the west of Wailua Falls was Waimea Canyon, which for good reason was also known as the Grand Canyon of the PacificFurther to the west of Wailua Falls was Waimea Canyon, which for good reason was also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific
Overlook of the Wailua FallsOverlook of the Wailua Falls. Perhaps this photo depicts best how much of a drive-to waterfall it is.

Closer look at Wailua FallsCloser look at Wailua Falls


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We pick up the driving directions from the turnoff at State Highway 583 (Ma'alo Road; just north of the one-mile post on the mauka or mountain side of the road) in Lihu'e. This turnoff was 1.4 miles west of the Hwy 51/Hwy 56 junction along Hwy 56 or about 1.8 miles north of the Hwy 58/Hwy 50 junction by the Costco along Hwy 56. Continuing on Hwy 583 (a recently improved two-lane road), we drove north about four miles until it dead ended at the Wailua Falls car park.




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ITINERARIES

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




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

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




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Wailua Falls - Saving Other Families from the Heart Ache That her Family Experienced: 
My husband and I rented a car and drove to the end of every road we could find on four (4) Hawaiian Islands. We found a wonderful surprise on each path …

Wailua Falls, Kauai 
I loved Wailua Falls . We hiked to the bottom and swam in the gigantic pool. We got such beautiful pictures of our family. The hike was not well …

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