Hiking Wailua Falls
Before visiting Kauai, ‘The Garden Island’, I did much research about trails and views I wanted to seek out prior to my arrival. When hiking, especially an unfamiliar place and ridden with tourism, you can never be too prepared. There are a quite a few waterfalls on the island of Kauai, but I learned once getting there a couple of them have since been closed due to injuries and even occurrence of deaths. So, Wailua Falls is one that remains open and is much trafficked down to the base of the falls. There is a popular viewpoint at the top of the falls that has a concrete fence and much of the trail needed to reach the base is behind a green colored chain link fence. A bit further before the viewpoint is where we started where there is no fence to breach. It is well known that the quickest and most used way is between the fences or through one of the few holes in the green chain link fence.
So, we took the long way… and, perhaps, the most adventurous way. You start by sidestepping on the way down where there is no existing trail. Having some navigation skills, it wasn’t that difficult to know where to go to reach the falls. We just went towards where we knew the river leading up the falls would be. There were a few minor and hilarious stumbling that happened within the group I led down, which was a great way to start the trip off. I had told everyone bring extra clothes… we’re going to get muddy!
Once you reach the river, there is very little uninterrupted trail. Be prepared to climb up and over fallen trees, rocks, through water and even some bouldering depending on how wet you want to get leading up to the destination of Wailua Falls.
Upon reaching the falls, you’ll see other people there, likely swimming or also taking in the view. You can walk behind the falls or swim in the deep pool located there. The waterfall itself is very powerful, so when swimming keep in mind the force of the water creates a current in the pool. I even had some trouble taking photographs here because of the rushing, gushing waterfall paired with wind at times.
I highly recommend making the trip, we took the ‘easy’ way up which has fixed ropes for assistance when climbing up the slick trail. This is a small mileage hike, we logged just short of two miles, and was a real crowd pleaser for my family and teenagers we had along with us.