Don’t go chasing waterfalls…so the classic line goes from TLC. However, if you are visiting the island of Kauai you are going to want to completely ignore what TLC says. When I tend to think of Hawaii, I imagine endless white sand beaches, tropical weather and lots and lots of waterfalls.
Below is a list of my favorite waterfalls I visited when I went to Kauai. There are endless amounts of waterfalls on this island, so I just chose my top four favorites. Enjoy!
1. Waimea Falls
If you are up for an adventure and a little bit of a “scare” then this is the waterfall hike for you. You definitely only want to do this waterfall hike if you are in good shape and are not afraid of steep declines and inclines plus a little (or a lot) of mud.
The hike down to the bottom itself only takes about ten minutes, but like I said it is quite steep. The trail for this hike is technically closed, but most people tend to just hop the fence and climb on down. There are two different trails down and back up. I took one way down and the other way back up.
The first route starts right near the main parking lot. You hop over the small concrete wall located right next to where the chain link fence begins. You first walk away from the waterfall along the fence line and then you will find a trailhead made from tree roots and branches. A few feet into the decent you will find some ropes to grab onto to help get you down. After the ropes section, you will mainly be using tree roots to help stabilize yourself until you reach the falls.
On my way back up, instead of using the ropes, I turned left. This was definitely a muddier route and I would not suggest going down this way but it wasn’t too bad climbing up this way. It drops you off at the top just to the left of the parking lot. The only issue with climbing up and out this way is you need to hop the chain link fence to get completely out.
Overall, I totally think the risk is worth it to get to this waterfall. I was definitely nervous at first for the hike down, but in the end I was fun. The view is totally worth it and there were only a few others at the bottom.
2. Red Dirt Falls
It is actually found just on the side of the road, so it is quite east to miss.
I chose this waterfall because it is so different and unique. I have never really seen a waterfall coming directly out of red dirt. Like for reals the dirt is so red they even make shirts out of it. Hence the Red Dirt Shirt stores.
Now this waterfall may not seem as impressive compared to the grandiosity of Waimea Canyon itself, but nevertheless it is a very unique and eye-catching part of this canyon. Make sure to pull on over at mile marker 23 for to see this waterfall!
3. Secret Falls
This waterfall is super unique because you can only get to it by a kayak and then by hiking inland one mile. My husband and I did a self guided Kayak tour and made this one of our stops.
Tip: If you want to rent a kayak here then you need to be there right when they open. They sell out within an hour.
We kayaked around the river for a bit and pulled up to a little beach landing where we parked our kayak. We were off for our one mile hike. The majority of this hike is flat, but you will be hiking on a narrow path and over some small rocks and tree roots. Also, if you happen to go after it rains then prepare yourself for mud!
Tip: I HIGHLY suggest you bring water shoes for this hike. Bring a kind that has a heal to it and good grip on the bottom. You don’t want to be slipping and sliding around or have your shoe fall off on you when walking through all the slick mud.
You will begin your hike by walking on a trail through a bunch of bushes, after a few short minutes you will reach a river crossing. There is a rope to hold onto when crossing this river. You will want to hold on to this rope as the river can be flowing pretty fast and strong depending on how much recent rain activity there has been.
After your river crossing you will finish the rest of your hike in until you reach the waterfall. Once you get there don’t be afraid to jump on in! It may be cold, but it feels oh so refreshing especially on a hot day. Enjoy a snack or lunch by the waterfall and then head on back to your kayak for the rest of your day on the river.
4. An actual Secret Falls
Last but not least is an actual Secret Falls located in Princeville, Kauai. Not many people know where this falls is located other than locals, but thankfully I had my cousin who is a local take me here. Unfortunately, I am not going to give away the location. However, I can give you some hints as to where you may find this waterfall.
First, it is located in Princeville, Kauai. It is found along a trail that where most people turn left and head to a more private beach instead you would turn right. After climbing over some rocks for a short distance you will look to your right and see this cute little waterfall. It is right off the shore of the beach and is very private once you find it!
Just like most other waterfalls the water is quite cold, but you can still swim in the little pool below or climb on up and be right next to the waterfall! Best of luck on finding this one 🙂 Feel free to reach out to me if you want some more guidance!
Looking for a car to get to all these beautiful waterfalls? Here is a complete guide to renting a Jeep in Hawaii!