We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Challenging hike but the falls are worth it” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hanakapiai Falls

Hanakapiai Falls
Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HI
Improve this listing
Ranked #12 of 129 Attractions in Kauai
Type: Waterfalls, Outdoors
Attraction details
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Challenging hike but the falls are worth it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2012

We started our hike at 10AM. There was a guy at the trailhead warning people about how hard the hike was and that it would take at least 7 hours round trip. It took us an hour to get to the beach which was okay but not really worth the hike if you don't continue to the falls. This was the more challenging portion of the hike with lots of muddy areas, slippery rocks, and steep grades. The hike from the beach to the falls was much easier. There are several stream crossings but we managed to navigate them all without getting our feet wet. The hike from the beach to the falls took an hour. The falls are spectacular. The water is cold but not too cold to swim in for a hardy Canadian. We spent about an hour at the falls and swam and had lunch. The entire round trip took about 5 hours including lunch at the falls and a 5 minute break at the beach both directions. The shower at Ke'e beach was helpful to wash off the mud. Overall it is worth the time and effort but it could be much more treachorous in heavy rains.

Visited February 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

149 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Scottsdale, Arizona
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Not enough words to describe this...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2012 via mobile

This is incredible... The most fun hike ever! Switchbacks, ever changing landscapes, multiple stream crossings, rough terrain, elevation change, distance... You have to contend with all of it to get to the prize - the falls are beautiful! The trail is mentally and physically challenging, but for those who do it, it will be well worth the effort.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Best hike of my life, what a pay-off!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2012

I admit, there were parts during the hike to this waterfall that I felt defeated and wanted to turn back. It's not the kind of well-maintained trail I'm used to, but that fact honestly adds to some of the appeal in a way. Talk about feeling like one with nature! When we finally reached the waterfall, we were floored with its beauty (not sure of the height, but pictures don't do it justice). My husband swam in the pool and I just waded near the rocks and stared up in awe. Absolutely beautiful. And it's quite the work-out; you definitely deserve whatever big tasty meal you might be craving afterwards!

Visited May 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“A Fantastic Adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2012

My friend and I hiked to the falls and back out in about 5.5 hours. We are both 30 year old women and we started before 9AM, which I would highly recommend doing. It was pretty muddy as there had been quite a bit of rain the day before we hiked. In fact, we learned on the plane that we did this hike the day after 30+ people were evacuated from the trail when the river got too high to cross. Perhaps we should have picked up a newspaper, but I'm glad we didn't because this hike was incredible. The views on the way to the beach were amazing, and the hike to the falls felt like an adventure. We were very glad to have worn our Chacos, and many people commented on them being a good idea. Far too many people we met on our way out were trying to keep white sneakers dry and white. Not possible. We were able to just walk across in the stream without worrying about trying to find rocks on which to cross. We were a bit disturbed by the number of people we met on our way out who were just starting to hike in. Most weren't moving any more quickly than we were, so they wouldn't have been able to finish the hike in the daylight. But if you start early and make sure it's not going to rain too much, this is a wonderful way to spend a day on Kauai. (Disclaimer: if my knees could type, they would not agree with what I'm writing, but they'll get over it - lots of slippery rocks on the downhill parts after your quads are already spent) We did get in the water at the falls, but it was very windy all of a sudden right by the falls and the mist was almost like rain. Most people were not even attempting to swim as the water was very cold. Give it a try anyway, though.

Visited February 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Most Rewarding Part of Our Trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2012

We don't go hiking on any type of regular basis, and although were in relatively good shape, I had a fair amount of anxiety over this hike given its write-up in some of the guidebooks. There were certainly times when I debated stopping, but we finished the roundtrip up to the falls and back in about 5 hours and 45 minutes and it definitely felt like a huge accomplishment. A couple of pointers:

-Plan like you're actually going to be hiking for 6-8 hours. Bring a backpack and pack twice as much water as you think you'll need, sandwiches and snacks to recharge along the way.
-Start early. You should probably be at the trailhead by 9am at the latest. The trail gets muddier throughout the day the more people that are hiking on it (especially from the beach to the falls) and you'll appreciate having the trail to yourself and going at your own pace without having to pass/being passed by other groups. Plus, you'll get a great parking spot and ensure you have enough time to finish the whole hike by dusk.
-The first 20 minutes of the hike are the most consistently steep and will take a lot out of you -- pace yourself accordingly.
-Be prepared to cross rivers that may be up to waist deep depending on the rain (on the trail from the beach to the falls). The trail gets confusing at times, so look for bright pink and orange ribbons hanging from the trees, which indicate the continuation of the trail. This is especially important when spotting for the trail on the other side of the river.
-The "toilet" at the beach is slightly inland and something out of "LOST." Bring toilet paper with you if you think its going to be necessary.

The hike was challenging, wet, but the most rewarding part of our trip. I'd highly recommend it.

Visited December 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Hanakapiai Falls also viewed


Been to Hanakapiai Falls? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Hanakapiai Falls, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.