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Hanakapiai Falls

474 Reviews

Hanakapiai Falls

474 Reviews
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ChrisVancouver wrote a review Mar 2020
Vancouver, Canada163 contributions148 helpful votes
+1
We did this 4 years ago and again this February. It is still one of the most spectacular things we have done. This year was quite different in two ways. 1. The new system for reservation and improvements in the parking/launching area are in place ( lots on that by googling but book early , figure out when each day opens up and stay up to book it as it sells out quickly. Each day opens at midnight Hawaii time. Book the parking. Walking in or the shuttle looked like a real pain) 2. The first time it was dry and sunny. This year it was wet and muddy . We did luck out in that the rain stopped 20 min into the hike and resumed after we finished. Still beautiful but it is much slower in the mud and we almost ran out of daylight. This hike is challenging at the best of times (dry) and inherently dangerous but that is manageable if you heed the warnings and make smart decisions. You need to be careful and turn around if you might run out of daylight. At all points think about what you would do if someone is injured (a twisted ankle is highly likely and would really slow you down = caught in the dark). Also think about the stream becoming impassable and you on the wrong side. The first time took less than 4 hours and this time took 5 1/2 hours round trip, and that was moving as fast as possible to beat sunset and still make it to the falls. Start as early as possible. Don’t even consider swimming at the beach below the falls/river. The water was running fast and higher due to recent rains. Watch for flash floods. We swam under the falls the first time. This time they were crashing with heavy flow such that it couldn’t even be considered. The whole area was a whirlwind of mist around the entire pool and last part of the trail. I think going under the falls would have been lethal from pummeling water not to mention the possibility of rocks falling. We did all the river crossings by jumping from rock to rock but this required planning and the rocks are slippery. This also requires some athletic ability a some of the jumps were several feet onto a small rock which was sometimes just below the surface. At this water level apparently most people wade , up to their waists in this day , so plan for that. We managed not to get wet until we went for a swim in one of the pools about 3/4 of the way up which was safe and magical. This time we were hiking most of the way in thick mud like glue which caked on you’re shoes. It is incredibly slippery and can’t be avoided. You will fall. The mud will go over the tops of your footwear and all over your legs (at least). Wear hiking boots or shoes. Bring lots and lots of water. Bring extra socks. Plan to be longer than you think. Have a contingency plan for injury or being trapped. Keep a full set of clothes and shoes on your car. We were happy that the new facilities include outdoor showers and washrooms at the end of the hike so you don’t have to bring tons of mud back to your car and then condo.
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Date of experience: February 2020
1 Helpful vote
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TomasBrat wrote a review Mar 2020
Bratislava, Slovakia6 contributions
The hike should be taken seriously, bring more water than you think you will need. The waterfall itself is incredible and totally worth the hike. We do quite some hiking back home in Europe but as long as you are not used to the temperature, humidity and sudden rain it will be a challenge.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Jennpaz8 wrote a review Feb 2020
Denver, Colorado99 contributions43 helpful votes
We booked a 9 am shuttle and in hindsight, we should have given ourselves an extra hour. We are pretty fit and from Colorado so used to hiking in elevation. By the time we started it was a bit after 9:30 so when we arrived at the beach it was already 10:35. After a snack and bathroom break it was already 11. We were told the last shuttle left at 5 & were warned that it could fill up. The sign from the beach told us to expect an additional 4 hours to hike to the falls. We started and by 11:50 had made it to the first stream crossing, however, in thinking through the anticipated hours ahead of us, we got nervous that we wouldn't make it back in time for the shuttle as once we returned to the beach, we'd likely have another hour ahead of us. We now think we made a mistake because in looking at the map upon our return we were almost halfway to the falls and less than an hour in. While it definitely got muddier the further we went and the streams had very strong currents and slippery rocks, we regret our decision to turn around. In catching our shuttle, the driver told us their was a "sweeper" that came around at 6 for any stragglers. The hike is definitely not for the novice or weary. The inclines are steep and the mud makes slipping undeniable. We saw many people with a simple water bottle on their way to the beach and I would highly recommend a Camelback or a backpack with several bottles. Unlike other reviewers, we found the trail greatly shaded with sunny areas not a long distance. Regardless, sunblock and snacks are also recommended. We decided to cross the streams by taking off our shoes and socks, which resulted in us covered in mud since our shoes were tied to our packs. I think that was right as otherwise we would have chafed the rest of the way. Next time we'll bring hiking sandals for these crossings. While we saw others in sandals on the trail, the amount for the of rocks and overall terrain, I would recommend great tread shoes. And be prepared for them to be caked in mud. The hike is absolutely spectacular and next time we will make it to the falls.
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Date of experience: February 2020
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Lifeisrealbeautiful wrote a review Feb 2020
1 contribution2 helpful votes
Serious safety incident
I beg you please don't risk your life on this trail. My beautiful, best friend and only sister died tragically hiking this trail. This park says danger everywhere, it should be closed because how dangerous it is. The Hanakapiai Valley is very deceiving and it's fast-moving streams can take you before you know it and no one would be able to rescue you. I beg of you, please stay away. If you do go, please make sure your living will is in order, and you buy arrangements for your death. It may have amazing views, but look in the mirror and your precious life is much more beautiful, this place is just a horrific gamble. Every day I wish I could pick up the phone and hear my sister's voice, laugh and see her, but this horrendous place took my beautiful sister away.
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Date of experience: March 2019
2 Helpful votes
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evacek wrote a review Feb 2020
6 contributions1 helpful vote
+1
This an amazing yet difficult trail. It really makes you work for it's awesomeness with the combo of slippery mud/rocks, up & down elev changes, near continuous cliff/ravine edges & rock scrambling as you get nearer to the waterfall. We've done a lot of trails around the U.S. & don't shy away from challenge. But I would highly recommend having good fitness, solid ankles/knees, proper shoes/supplies & not be in a hurry. Took us 6-7hrs with stops. We made it back in time for the shuttle but not by much. The day before we went the trail was closed because the main river crossing got too high. We lucked out today but were wary of that potential. Grab some walking sticks left by others at the trail entrance. They saved us from falling at least 4-5 times. The trail is also more like 10 miles, so plan your time accordingly as it's very slow going. In summary, this is a definite must-do trail, but respect it & know what you're getting into.
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Date of experience: February 2020
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