Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls)

Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls)

Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls)
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4.5
115 reviews
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Christi K
Athol, ID74 contributions
Mar 2020
I love going to secret falls. It’s a fun family outing on a nice day. (Watch the weather though...you don’t want to be caught in a flash flood). An easy trip to do on your own but you will need to rent kayaks to get there. Favorite place for that is the Hawaiian village
Written March 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

RickSch-US
Wichita, KS24 contributions
Jul 2022
Beautiful waterfall! Must-see! Only accessible by water. You have to rent a kayak, paddle the river for about 45 min, then beach the kayak (take your valuables with you) and hike about 20 minutes alongside the stream to get to the waterfall. Most of the hike is on raised wooden walkways. The waterfall is a remarkable payoff for your efforts. Plenty of room to wade/submerge yourself in the pool at the base and under the fall itself. Very rocky in there though. One of the best things we did on Kauai.
Written July 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carl F
Green Bay, WI394 contributions
Feb 2020
We got to the Secret Falls after a 2 mile kayak trip. The trail is very muddy and slippery. It is not difficult to hike if you are careful and don't mind getting muddy. After reading some of the review my wife and I had mild concern about our ability to complete the hike. We are in our sixties and in decent shape. We had no issues. I went swimming (the pool is 3 to 6 feet deep) and stood under the waterfall. Overall a great time.
Written February 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

margaritaville123
McKinney, TX38 contributions
May 2021
I loved the kayak and hike to Secret Falls, and please go see it’s beauty! I just feel like I feel compelled to put out a warning, and I know my experience is an uncommon one!

First of all, go with a tour group and not on your own in case something happens! Also, bring your own first aid kit, and don’t pass up taking a walking stick! Not on the crossing there, but on the way back it started to rain and the water was higher and faster crossing the stream. The stream was very shallow on the way there! On the way back is was a rushing river! What made it worse was the rope to hold on to was gone! We made a human chain to get back to the other side. It was getting dark, and we felt we didn't have a choice. My 11 year old son slipped and fell and almost got washed away! There was nothing we could do!!! It was a miracle he was caught! Thanks to our wonderful guide, Noah, and my daughter who grabbed him by his too big rashguard top he insisted on wearing! ! Be careful if you have kids or have elderly people in your group. The hike has slippery rocks, roots to walk over, stones, and lots of mud. It's a rainforest after all! I would take an extra rope with you and/ or have the kids wear their life jackets across. The water was ankle/ thigh deep on the way there, so we didn't think the stream was dangerous at all! This is for all the tour groups....PLEASE have an extra rope accessible for emergencies by the stream!!!! Also, have people wear their life vests while crossing the stream and carry them with them in case they are needed on the way back. When I got home, I read people have been washed away there! This is a horrific nightmare I play out in my dreams at night of what could have happened to our son. My daughter would have not just lost a brother but a mom and dad who would have gone after him, too! Thank GOD that he this young man still to fulfill a mission here on Earth, or he would be gone! It is a MIRACLE that he made it out alive! Other warnings I read about would also help like don’t swim in the water with open cuts or open your mouth or eyes in it, and to not go under the falls due to falling rocks! I thought I did my research, but I am a naive Texas and never would have thought a tour could be life changing! Google your tour group to see if any accidents have happened in the past. Even though this experience was horrific, I don't blame the tour group but my own ignorance. I still want to explore and see the wonders that God has created, but I know now to be more informed and to be prepared in case of emergencies. Nature is unpredictable! Enjoy the island but be careful! There isn't' a tour group out there in the world that can guarantee you or your family's safety! It's up to you to know the dangers and protect your family while exploring the world.
Written April 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shanni
11 contributions
Sep 2021 • Friends
Do your research before going. I knew it would be hard, but I was not prepared for how hard. It is my own fault, not the fault of the tour company or tour guide. I have weak ankles and was unable to complete the hike. Make sure you have a hiking stick would be my advice.
Written September 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ThorneBirdGT
Gig Harbor, WA212 contributions
May 2017 • Couples
Uluwehi Falls is widely referred to as Secret Falls, an interesting name, as it is far, far from a secret, with hundreds of people visiting it daily in season. To get to this hidden, remote waterfall, you must kayak up the Wailua River to the river's north fork, then beach your kayak, wade across the fork by hanging on to a rope stretched across a shallow portion, then pick your way through a jungle on the very rutted, root filled, muddy, slippery and boulder-strewn trail, much of which runs along next to a smaller river. A strong recommendation is to find a sturdy straight stick or branch as a hiking and balancing aid to help you pick your way through the more difficult portions, of which there are many. And do NOT wear sport shoes as you will largely ruin them -- instead wear water shoes with good gripping soles.

The tour guides say the walk is what they call "moderate", and will take about 30 to 40 minutes depending on how fast you walk. Moderate?Really? I don't think so -- well, maybe, but only if you are really fit and in your 20s or 30s, but not so much if you are in average shape and/or in your 60s or older. To begin with, you have to climb up the river bank, after wading across that fork in the river, then wade across three more streams along the way, and then climb up a short hill of about 12 to 15 feet high, by grabbing roots and using them like rungs on a ladder, then carefully pick your way around sharp boulders to finally get to the promised land -- the beautiful pool at the base of the 100-foot plus waterfall that drops straight down into the pool. It took my wife and me a good hour to carefully pick our way through the tangle of slippery roots, muddy trail and the sharp boulders. Twisting an ankle on on a slippery root or slipping and falling on the boulders could ruin your day and make for a very slow and very painful exit.Still, my wife and I, at ages 74 and 78 made it and thought of it as a kind of personal victory that we did.

The kayak tour operator companies leave from near the bridge close to the mouth of the river and charge (as of this writing in June, 2017) about $85 or so per person for the guided paddle up the two miles or so to get to the beaching stop, then the guided hike on the trail next to a river to get to the waterfall, fand return. But if you would like to do it on your own and also save a lot of money, drive down to Kamokila Hawaiian Village, a replica of an old Hawaiian village on the river by driving to Opeaka'a Falls and then quickly turning left down a small but badly potholed, winding road down to the river. They have about 25 to 30 kayaks for rent, take no reservations and rent them out on a first-come, first-served basis. You better get there by no later than 9:30 am or so to be sure to snag one. Renting them here means just about a ten to 15 minute paddle, greatly shortening your paddle time and distance upriver against the current and downriver against the wind, and cuts your cost by more than half. It also allows you to paddle the short distance around the corner at your own pace, and also hike the trail at your own pace as opposed to having to march along with your tour guide leader, who, guaranteed, will be very fit and very young and who has done this trek numerous times, whereas you may be older, perhaps not quite in the same physical shape he is, and have never done this trek.

A suggestion here is to take a fanny pack or backpack for protein munchies and water bottles and reward yourself with a picnic lunch at the waterfall's pool. And speaking of which, the pool is not that deep and most of it can be waded. It is cool, but not icy cold. A few brave -- or macho- or foolish souls go right up to the waterfall and stick their heads in it or try to get behind it, but the falling water is very powerful and can easily push you under. IF you just really, really have to do that, be very careful.

Was it worth the long hiking ordeal to see and to experience this? We say yes, it was, and we are glad we did it -- but at our age, it was definitely a one and done experience.
Written June 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Blmhouston
Tuscaloosa, AL805 contributions
Jun 2019 • Family
This is our favorite thing to do on Kauai. This was our approximately 6th self guided trip to secret falls (Uluwehi Falls). We’ve taken children and once I did it with a torn ACL (with a knee brace) while waiting for surgery. Check the conditions before - if it’s muddy it’s slower and more challenging but still very doable if you love nature and a bit of adventure. We rent from Wailua Kayak Adventures and drive the kayaks to the mouth of the Wailua river near where it enters the ocean. You can do the entire trip in 4-5 hours or take longer at the falls. I recommend launching at about 9:30-10:00 AM because you reach the falls between the morning and afternoon. Tour groups and may get a few minutes alone at the water fall. The kayaks are easy for two adults to remove from the car and ready for launch. They provide dry bags that also act as backpacks. We also bring a cooler filled with water and sandwiches that we tie to the front of one kayak with the straps used to tie the kayak to the top of the car (yes even your convertible). Before staring the 1.5 mile hike we transfer the food to the dry bag back packs. They provide laminated maps. It’s an approximately hour paddle up the river at a relatively easy pace then 1.5 mile walk. Just stay to the right and take the right fork in the river. The kayaks are super stable so the occasional boat is not a problem. Eventually you reach a bend in the river with a wide sandy landing zone. It will have many kayaks pulled up on the sand. This is where you stop and begin the trek to the falls. The trail is very very well marked and easy to follow and the reward is incredible- 120’ water fall spilling into a fresh water clean pool that you can swim in. The trail is sometimes a bit challenging - there are three small river crossings, one with water at your knee level, the other two approx ankle deep. There is also a 7-10 foot incline right before the waterfall. If you go slow it’s fairly easy. The path is through gorgeous pristine jungle and along the river.
Written June 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

HuskerTraveler2
Lincoln, NE1,105 contributions
Nov 2018 • Couples
Begin your kayaking trip to the trail head from the Kamokila Hawaiian Village. This will eliminate an hour of useless paddling compared to beginning at the outfitters at HWY 56. Guides are not offered here, but they are not necessary, the trail is very obvious.

DO - plan on a 3 hour relatively easy/slippery adventure (I completed the tour 12 weeks after a knee replacement)
- wear old shoes that will get very, very muddy
- wear clothing/shorts/shirts that can get wet & maybe muddy
- plan on sharing your hike with scores of other people, it's remote, not necessarily super secret BUT well worth it!
- plan to paddle 20 minutes short distance to the water hole/swimming bluff & 20 foot bluff to jump into the river
- bring a bottle of water, snacks are optional

DON'T - bother with sunglasses/sunscreen as you are only on the water for less than an hour & you'll be hiking in the shade for 90% of the time
- take sensitive camera equipment, protect your phone as the trail is very slippery/sloppy
- bring insect repellent, we never encountered any bugs
- plan to time to explore the Village other than to use their restroom

This is a very unique/fun experience!
Written December 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Andrea C
Indiana109 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
My husband and I rented a double kayak through Wailua Kayak Adventures and were very happy with what we got. For $70 cash we were provided with a double kayak, paddles, a dry bag, a cooler available upon request, and life jackets. The owners help you put the kayak strapped securely on top of your car with foam pads and the boat launch is a short 7-10 minute drive away. You can keep the kayak from 9am-5pm and drop it off at your convenience. Definitely worth renting from them.

The kayak trip itself is easier towards the falls, as the wind is pushing you, but still moderate. It is about a 30-45 minute paddle to the boat dock area. The right path takes you to the falls and the left path ends eventually, but there is a swimming area and cliff jump. A beginner would be able to do it, just stay to the right on the way there and hug the left of the river on the way back.

The hike is easier than the paddling, but I would recommend closed toed shoes, because the path gets muddy and their are lots of rocks and tree roots to avoid. The foot path will split eventually and if you stay to the right you will follow the river up by foot but have to cross the stream three times with rocks to step on. The foot path to the right is much steeper and you will not have any streams to go over, but will have a lot more rocks to climb and tree roots to avoid.

After a 20 minute hike, you have arrived at the falls. Pack a lunch, towels, and sunscreen and you are good to go. It's relaxing eating lunch by the falls. The water is cold and refreshing to swim in but rocky and slippery, so swim with shoes on.

The hike and kayak back are not hard and no tour is needed in my opinion. I would highly recommend the kayak rental coming we went through. The Secret Falls are definitely worth seeing!
Written August 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

reineglv
Kapaa, HI65 contributions
Oct 2017 • Friends
If you don't mind a bunch of people, you'll definitely want to see these falls. It does require you Kayak in though and there is a small hike but the view and experience at the end is very much worth it. If you go with at guide, you'll likely have lunch, and be safe with a group.
Written May 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls) (Wailua) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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