Kipu Falls

Puna District (Kauai Island), Hawaii, USA

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 1.5
Kipu Falls


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Kipu Falls is a tiny but very popular waterfall that is known more as a swimming hole rather than a scenic falls.

I think it tumbles about 15ft over some slippery rocks. To give you an idea of how slippery it was up here, I witnessed a guy take a spill near the top of the falls, and fortunately he didn't get knocked unconscious or fall over the falls!

It's on the Hule'ia Stream featuring deep pools, rope swings, and ladders. However, getting a more direct view of the falls required either getting wet (something I wasn't willing to do with my camera gear) or going down what looked like a real hairy and steep scramble down a small drop off.

The track to the falls went through private land, but when I visited in late 2006, the owners had graciously let the public enjoy the falls. Of course, this can change at any moment depending on the discretion of the owner (especially if faced with a frivolous slip-and-fall lawsuit that for some reason tends to be ruled against landowners).

Now I did recall seeing some literature talking about a zipline tour packaging this falls with a more remote 120ft Kamapua'a Falls (we didn't do that though).

From the dirt pullouts (for parking; see directions below), we followed the narrow, slippery packed-mud path surrounded by tall sugarcane plants. Within 5-10 minutes, the path reached a fork. A short, steep slippery scramble to the right led to the top of Kipu Falls. Most people continued on to the stream bed above the falls and either descended the ladder or dived directly into the plunge pools. There were quite a few mosquitoes around the stream so bringing insect repellent would be wise in order to minimize the chances of getting mosquito bites.

Going straight at the fork eventually led to a signpost indicating for visitors to keep out (I'm thinking the cash crops were there and they didn't want people trampling them). To the right of it, there was supposedly a scramble down to the opposite side of the plunge pool across from the falls. But I looked at that descent and I still couldn't figure out how one would get down there with camera gear without taking a leap of faith somewhere (and probably getting hurt in the process or not being able to get back up this way).

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Kipu Falls could very well be the nearest waterfall we encountered in Kaua'i to the Spouting Horn Blowhole near Po'ipuKipu Falls could very well be the nearest waterfall we encountered in Kaua'i to the Spouting Horn Blowhole near Po'ipu
Speaking of Poipu, if you like resorts and spending most of your time there, then the decked out resorts in Po'ipu could be your thingSpeaking of Poipu, if you like resorts and spending most of your time there, then the decked out resorts in Po'ipu could be your thing
Another look at Kipu FallsAnother look at the falls

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From Lihu'e, drive west on Hwy 50. On the left, opposite the 3-mile post, about a mile west of Puhi, turn left (heading south) onto Kipu Road. After about a quarter mile, turn right at the fork in the road. Follow this narrow paved road to the dirt pullouts (parking) just before the bridge.

To reach Kipu Falls from Po'ipu, take Hwy 520 north for about 7 miles. Turn right onto Hwy 50, and drive east for about 3 miles to Kipu Road. Turn right onto Kipu Road, heading south for a quarter mile to the fork. Turn right at the fork onto the narrow paved road, and look for parking at the dirt pullouts just before the bridge.

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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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Kipu Falls No Longer Accessible 
This was one of my favorite places to visit on Kauai; I'd go every time I hit the island; however, the land to access the falls has been gated up and it …

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