Wailua Falls: Kauai's Breathtaking Double Waterfall

Nestled amidst the lush tropical landscape of Kauai Island, Wailua Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder that has captured the hearts of countless visitors and locals alike.

This enchanting waterfall, located near the eastern side of the island, is a must-see destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Hawaii’s natural splendors.

The majestic the falls, cascading gracefully over a cliff and plunging 80 feet into a serene pool below, is renowned for its striking beauty and awe-inspiring presence.

Hawaii Kauai Wailua Falls Helicopter
Helicopter view of Wailua Falls Jeremy Wood

This spectacular waterfall has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, drawing countless visitors each year to witness its splendor and connect with the rich cultural history of the area.

History and cultural significance of Wailua Falls

The falls holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Kauai, as it has been deeply intertwined with the island’s history and culture since ancient times. The falls’ significance spans centuries and is rooted in Hawaiian legends, royal connections, and its captivating presence in popular culture.

Ancient Hawaiian legends

According to Hawaiian mythology, the waters of the falls have long been associated with the mo’o, or mythical lizard-like creatures.

These guardian spirits were believed to protect the waters and the surrounding area. The enchanting allure of the falls, along with its connection to these ancient legends, adds an air of mystique and reverence to the site.

Connection to Hawaiian Royalty

The Wailua River, which feeds the falls, has played a significant role in the history of Kauai Island, particularly as it pertains to Hawaiian royalty.

The river was once the residence of Kauai’s high chiefs, and the surrounding area was considered sacred ground. The Wailua River Valley, where the waterfall is located, is home to several heiaus (ancient Hawaiian temples), further emphasizing the area’s historical and cultural importance.

The falls’ appearance in popular culture

The falls gained widespread recognition when it was featured in the opening credits of the popular 1970s television series Fantasy Island. Since then, its fame has only grown, attracting visitors from all over the world who wish to experience the enchanting beauty of this natural wonder firsthand.

Natural beauty and features of the falls

The captivating beauty of the falls is a testament to the diverse and awe-inspiring landscape of Kauai Island. The waterfall’s stunning features and surrounding scenery create a picturesque and unforgettable sight for all who venture to its tranquil location.

The falls tumbles from a height of 80 feet, creating a breathtaking spectacle as the water cascades over the volcanic rock face into the pool below.

The verdant, tropical vegetation that surrounds the waterfall further enhances its beauty, with a diverse array of native plants and trees framing the scene. The lush greenery adds to the serene atmosphere and provides a vibrant backdrop for the falls.

One of the most distinctive features of the falls is its appearance as a double waterfall when water flow is high, which occurs particularly during the rainy season. The two parallel streams of water create a mesmerizing sight as they plunge side by side over the cliff.

This unique characteristic sets the falls apart from other waterfalls on the island and adds an extra layer of fascination for visitors.

Another enchanting aspect of the falls is the frequent appearance of rainbows, which can often be seen arching across the spray of the waterfall. The combination of sunlight and mist creates the perfect conditions for these vivid arcs of color, further enhancing the magical and ethereal atmosphere at the falls.

Hiking to Wailua Falls

When visiting the falls, it is very important to prioritize safety and follow trail etiquette. Although the lookout is easily accessible, some visitors may want to approach the falls by following unofficial trails.

These paths can be slippery and dangerous, so it is highly recommended that you stay within designated viewing areas to ensure your safety and protect the natural environment.

Hawaii Kauai Wailua Falls
Kauai Waterfalls

However, if you still want to go all the way down to the pool of the waterfall, you need to walk away from the waterfall until a large wire fence starts a little beyond the viewing area. After a while you will see a path made of tree roots.

After a descent of about 10 minutes you will reach the pool of Wailiua Falls. If you don’t find this path, you will have to go down a steeper and muddy path.

You can climb on foot from the left side to the back of the waterfall. It is slippery because it is always wet. You have to be careful. Being behind the waterfall will allow you to feel the power of the waterfall better.

Best time of day and year to visit

The ideal time of day to visit the falls is in the early morning or late afternoon, as these times tend to be less crowded and offer better chances of capturing photographs with softer, more flattering light.

Additionally, visiting early in the morning increases the likelihood of witnessing the mesmerizing rainbows that often appear around the falls.

As for the best time of year to visit, the falls is beautiful year-round. However, if you wish to see the waterfall at its fullest, the rainy season, which typically spans from November to March, is the best choice.

The water flow is higher during these months, often resulting in the striking double waterfall appearance. Keep in mind that visiting during the rainy season may also mean encountering occasional rain showers and potentially muddy conditions.

Helicopter tours to view the Wailua Falls

Helicopter tours offer an exhilarating and unique way to view the breathtaking the falls, providing visitors with a bird’s-eye perspective of this enchanting natural wonder.

By embarking on a helicopter tour, you can fully appreciate the grandeur and majesty of the waterfall and its surrounding landscape, making for an unforgettable experience.

Several tour operators on Kauai Island offer helicopter tours that include a flyover of the falls as part of their itinerary.

These tours typically cover other highlights of the island, such as the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and Mount Waialeale. As you soar above Kauai’s lush landscapes and pristine coastlines, the awe-inspiring sight of the falls from above will undoubtedly leave you breathless.

How to get to Wailua Falls?

Reaching here is a relatively simple endeavor, as it is easily accessible from nearby towns on Kauai Island. With a few different transportation options and convenient parking available, visiting this natural wonder is a hassle-free experience.

The most convenient way to reach is by car, as it offers flexibility in timing and the freedom to explore the surrounding areas at your leisure. Rental cars are widely available on Kauai Island, making it easy for visitors to secure a vehicle for their trip.

Alternatively, visitors can opt for a guided tour that includes a stop at the falls. Several tour operators on the island offer excursions that showcase the natural beauty of Kauai, and many include the iconic waterfall as part of their itineraries.

  • From Lihue, the largest town on Kauai Island, head north on Highway 56 and then take a right onto Maalo Road (Highway 583). Follow this road for approximately 3 miles until you reach the the falls lookout point.
  • From Kapaa, another popular town on the island, travel south on Highway 56 until you reach Maalo Road (Highway 583). Turn left onto Maalo Road and continue for about 3 miles to the waterfall’s lookout point.

Parking: There is a small parking lot located at the Wailua Falls lookout point, which offers free parking for visitors. The parking lot can fill up quickly during peak hours, so the best time to find a space is early morning or late afternoon. The lookout point is just a short walk from the parking area.

Conclusion

The falls is a captivating and mesmerizing natural wonder on Kauai Island, with a rich history and cultural significance that only adds to its allure.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning admirer, the enchanting beauty of Wailua Falls never ceases to leave a lasting impression.