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).
Accessing Kipu Falls
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).
To my knowledge, access to Kipu Falls involves crossing through private property. Since I generally don’t keep up with ownership situations, you may have to either go there and read the signs or contact someone beforehand. 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 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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