Wailua River State Park
Wailua River State Park
4.5
7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Top ways to experience Wailua River State Park

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles99 reviews
Excellent
65
Very good
29
Average
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Bonnie G
Manchester, TN119 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
We decided to just rent our own kayaks and hike to Uluwehi Falls ( Secret Falls). The kayak trip is easy and about 1/2 to hiking path. Very important to beat the crowds and tour groups by leaving before 8am. We did and had the falls to ourselves though we had to pass two groups on the trail. Coming back was crowded which on the river is not too bad as they are going in other direction but I can only imagine how crowded it got on the boardwalks and narrow hiking paths.
Written May 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

G C
Los Altos, CA123 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Family
A highly recommended easy kayaking trip and hiking trail to a waterfall. One of our top attractions in Kauai. Paddeling was calm and easy, a good activity for a family with two young teens two adults and two active seniors (70+).

The whole trip would take the large part of a day: Its about 45 minutes kayaking up the river, then an hour hiking to the fall. So a total of 3~4 hours including a bit of swimming at the waterfall.

There are kayak rentals on two sides of the river. if you take the kayak on the far side , you have to tie it to your car (they show you how) and drive it to the launch area. The benefit is that rental is 25% cheaper (65$) and completely unrestricted
in time. We took three kayaks so did two trips.The whole thing adds ~30 minutes.
If you take the kayaks on the right side of the river, you are limited to 8-noon or noon-4, and pay a bit more (85$) per kayak.

No kayak rentals on Sunday. Better reserve a kayak ahead of time (they were out on Saturday).
Written April 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matthew G
19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015
We took Kayaks ourselves up the Wailua River from the state park to the trail to Secret Falls. This is a great trip. Please do this on your own if you can. Find a rental kayak and launch at the state park. The kayak is an easy 2 mile cruise up the Wailua (right at the fork and the river will narrow to a a small rapids and beach). Follow the trail to spectacular Secret Falls. The river and espcially the trail fills up with the slow moving guided tours by 930am. Once you are on the trail, it is rather narrow and difficult to pass the tour groups, so do yourself a favor and leave by 7:30 am!
Written December 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kurt I
Edmonton, Canada101 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Couples
Just returned from a trip to Kapaa Hawaii and my wife and I paddled up the Wailua river. First thing, don't waste money paying for a guided tour. Just rent a kayak or canoe yourself locally or right off of the river and go on your own. It is very easy and you won't get lost. Just paddle on one side or the other, not the middle, to keep safely away from boat traffic. Also, give yourself enough time in the day for the trip. You will travel up the river and when it comes to the fork you can turn right (up to Secret Falls) or left (Fern Grotto).

If you want to see the falls make sure that you add about an hour for the hike in and out, adjust depending on your activity level. The trail is well marked and there are always people on the trail so you won't get lost. You have to Ford a stream and some parts of the trail are a little rugged so wear appropriate footwear.

If you travel to the Grotto there is limited area to tie up your boat so a little bit of rope is a good thing. The walk to see the ferns is all paved so no trouble.

My wife and I did both on the same day and we were out for only 4 hours (including photos/lunch). Pack lots of sun screen, water and bring a lunch along. It is a great day where you can be active and you get to see a great waterfall as well. Make sure you take a swim under the falls!
Written October 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

andrea g
Vicenza, Italy130 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016
Go go go! Great place..you can swim under the secret falls..but pay attention to the kayak rental you choose..we made a bad choice..
Written May 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wolfie_n
Dallas, TX375 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2012 • Friends
There's more to do in Wailua River State Park than just look at the falls. The view from the top of the falls is beautiful and not to be missed. If you are there at the right time of day and stand in the right spot, you can see a rainbow in the falls which makes a stunning photograph. There is a sign in the parking area prohibiting people from selling anything, but there are still people there making and selling native baskets, among other items. I didn't mind. I think they add to the character of the place. If I weren't afraid of the baskets getting squashed in my suitcase on the flight home, I might have bought a few. If you are interested in archaeology, make a point to visit the remains of some of the heiaus (Hawaiian temples) in the park. There are a total of five of them in the park. These are still considered kapu (sacred) and if you look, you can see some of the informal offerings that are still left there. One of these temples has a birthing stone and an umbilical stone. The birthing stone is a large stone that babies from high ranking families were born on. The umbilical stone has cupules, or depressions, made in it for placing the umbilical cords of the babies in. There are some interpretive signs at the heiaus giving some information the history of each one.
Written September 2, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dan T
Waikiki, HI23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Solo
I rented a SUP and spent 4 hours paddling and hiking. Take the north fork (it's only a 20 foot opening) to get to the falls. It's about a 30 minute hike on poorly defined trails. Just follow other people and ASK directions. You can wade in the pool and go under the falls...apparently at the risk of getting Leptospirosis. The south fork goes further up to a swimming hole and 15 foot cliff jump. Further up you come across the herds of cattle who create the Leptospirosis threat. Minimal risk...maximum fun!
Written January 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tony M
Marietta, GA251 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Couples
The Wailua River experience begins with a short boat ride up this beautiful, scenic river. On our trip upriver we were serenaded by Hawaiian musicians accompanied by hula dancers. They were an unexpected treat on this journey. One older gentleman playing an ukelele was introduced as the only one in the group who had met a king. Later in the performance, the group's spokesman explained that the king the man had met was Elvis Presley. In one of Elvis' Hawaiian themed movies there is a scene where a young Hawaiian is blowing the conch shell calling everyone to an event. This ukelele player was that young Hawaiian!

Docking at the end of the ride we took a walk in a rainforest environment. The path was paved so the walk was easy, accessible and there was little chance of losing your way unless you wandered off on your own. Restrooms were available.

Located at the end of the walk was a deck-like platform offering a full panoramic view of fern grotto. Fern grotto is a beautiful natural feature. Like an entrance to a cave, the grotto extends into the side of the mountain. It has a rock face from which a multitude of ferns grow, hanging down from above. It is a beautiful place.

For many years, visitors could walk up into the grotto. The path is still visible. This practice has been stopped due to the danger of falling rock from above. In fact, one chunk came down during our visit!

When it could be accessed the grotto was often used for weddings. The guide stated that over 10,000 weddings were performed here!

With that comment, couples were asked to join together while the musicians played the traditional Hawaiian wedding song and the dancers performed. A delightful, peaceful, romantic moment in a spectacular place.

The path back to the dock was a similar but different path, offering a view of even more of the area.

The musicians didn't join the boat trip back. As we loaded there was another party landing that appeared to be yet another wedding. The musicians remained with them. Today, ceremonies are held on the deck with fern grotto as the backdrop.

The new guide who joined us for the trip down river shared the area's history. Apparently, in the past, only the Hawaiian royals could visit where we were. They knew a beautiful place when they saw it!
Written October 24, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

maryjeangrean
Seattle, Washington12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2014 • Friends
We loved this easy hike, mostly through semi-shaded old fire trails, to some stunning viewpoints. We heard and saw many birds. Mostly we were impressed by the extent of undeveloped lands--jungly valleys and green craggy mountains. You could see for miles in several directions with virtually no human disturbance visible. A very pleasant break from beach time!
Written March 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DGAT
San Diego16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Family
There are three places where you can rent kayaks from. Two are at the mouth of the river and one is further up the river at the Kamokila Hawaiian Village, the entrance is just past the Opaekaa Falls lookout. There are several tour companies ($55/person, $39.95 + taxes and fees) that will take you up there but we chose to go our own. Rental was $45/person at the mouth of the river and $35/person at the Hawaiian Village. You will need to book in advance for the companies at the river mouth; the village had quite a few available for our party of six on the noon of our activity. (I think all operators, tour or rentals, lend you a dry bag.)

If you're an active bunch, rent in the morning and paddle up from the river mouth - it looks like a workout, with or against the current. Otherwise, I suggest you start from the village. (I think it's a mile plus drive from the river mouth so imagine paddling up that river.)

Pack some lunch/snacks/trail mixes and have a mini-picnic at the falls.

People have posted this a lot - wear water shoes, you'll be glad you did. The rocks in the water crossings on the trail, at the falls, and at the swimming hole are sharp and slippery. My wife wore Crocs so the hike was easy for her. My kids and I wore regular rubber shoes/sneakers and we took them off every time we went in the water.

We only had four hours and we spent all of our time at the falls and at the swimming hole.

The swimming hole has a ledge about 12 feet high for "cliff jumping" and it was quite deep when we were there. (Pencildrop jump couldn't get us to the bottom.) However, always check how deep the water is before jumping!!!

Written August 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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