Wailua Falls: No Hike Necessary

By Coco Zickos

Photo:  KendanX.

Photo: KendanX.

Wailua Falls is as picturesque as Hawaiian waterfalls get. This hidden eastside Kaua‘i gem – which is tucked away behind the Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve in Hanamā‘ulu – is a great place to stop and soak in all the glory that the lush Garden Isle has to offer. This scenic beauty is where the Wailua River cascades into double falls that, if you’re lucky enough, will also bestow upon you a fairytale-like rainbow.

Legend Has It…

Photo:  mikethefifth.

Photo: mikethefifth.

Legend has it that this enchanting waterfall was where Hawaiian kane (men), possibly ali‘i (royalty), would test their endurance by jumping the some 80-feet into the shallow 30-foot pool below. Folklore also has it that some of these daredevils who willingly risked their lives never survived the cliff-diving fall.

Dangers aside, the waterfall achieved fame during the 1970s and 1980s when it was featured in the opening credits of the television series, “Fantasy Island.” Since then, the site has attracted even more onlookers from around the world.

No Hike Necessary

What makes Wailua Falls one of the top items on visitors’ “to do” lists is that it’s easily accessible and located adjacent to a parking lot. In other words, it’s one of the few waterfalls you don’t have to hike to for miles in order to get up close and personal.

Photo:  Micah Camara.

Photo: Micah Camara.

Some people, however, do take a rather dangerous and steep trek down to the bottom of the falls. This is not an advisable adventure, especially when you can capture the beauty of the waterfall from safely above.

Getting to Wailua Falls

Visitors will often mistaken ‘Opaeka‘a Falls for Wailua Falls, which are both located in Wailua. Only the former is accessible through Wailua, however, and not the latter.

To get to Wailua Falls, you must venture further south toward Līhu‘e. If you’re traveling north, take Highway 56 (Kuhio Highway) toward Hanamā‘ulu and take a left at Ma‘alo Road (Highway 583). Drive down this road for a few miles all the way to the end and be prepared for a tropical treat. Make sure you bring your camera – your friends will definitely be jealous.

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