Kapena Falls is a tiny waterfall tumbling around 20-30ft.
What’s funny about this waterfall was that finding it was either a matter of walking along a high speed highway or walking through a cemetery.
Even funnier was that the first time we attempted to visit this waterfall, we ended up mistaking it for Alapena Falls, which was just downstream of where we needed to go.
Even though we saw a pair of teenagers jumping off a rope swing into the plunge pool beneath the falls, I cringed as I’m sure urban pollution probably infested the watercourse here with the leptospirosis bacteria.
That illness is not so funny.
So even though this waterfall seemed to be somewhat obscure, apparently, lots of people (including those affiliated with Hollywood) still know about it.
To my knowledge, Kapena Falls is not administered by any official authority. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) website.
From Waikiki Beach, for me the preferred way to get to the falls was by finding a pullout along the Pali Highway, then walking along the highway before descending down towards the falls. But this was tricky because the only way we were able to accomplish this was to drive southbound on the Pali Highway. Northbound drivers have to exit at Wyllie St and either take Nu’uanu Ave to the Nu’uanu Cemetery (might be trespassing if you access the falls from there) or get back onto the Pali Hwy going southbound.
Once we were southbound on Hwy 61, we found a pullout about 500ft past the “Scenic Overlook 500ft” sign. At this pullout, there was a view overlooking a pagoda surrounded by tombstones as well as a bunch of broken glass (bad omen in terms of car break-ins). Once we got out of the car, we walked along the Pali Hwy (staying well clear of the oncoming traffic) then hopped over the railing just behind that Scenic Overlook sign. From there, a trail descended towards a view of the falls as well as its pool.
We were able to cross the stream just below the plunge pool for Kapena Falls, and then we could walk downstream towards the cemetery where where we checked out Alapena Falls.
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