Welcome to the lush paradise of Hawaii, where natural beauty is abundant and waterfalls are aplenty. As a Traveling Expert with a penchant for exploring hidden gems, I’m excited to guide you through some of the best waterfalls in Hawaii. From the breathtaking heights of Wailua Falls in Kauai to the captivating allure of Akaka Falls on the Big Island, Hawaii boasts an array of awe-inspiring waterfalls that will leave you spellbound.
Wailua Falls, located on the island of Kauai, is a cascading wonder that plunges gracefully into a pool below. Next door, you’ll find the enchanting Waipo’o Falls, a hidden gem nestled deep within Waimea Canyon. A short drive away, the picturesque Opaekaa Falls offers panoramic views of the lush landscape. For the adventurous soul, the hike to Hanakapiai Falls is a must, offering a glimpse of Hawaii’s rugged beauty.
Speaking of adventure, don’t miss the legendary Manawaiopuna Falls, famously known as the “Jurassic Park Falls.” Located in Kauai, these falls are accessible by helicopter, providing a thrilling aerial perspective. On the serene island of Moloka’i, you’ll encounter the mesmerizing Moaula Falls and the dramatic Papalaua Falls—both hidden treasures worth the journey.
10 Best Waterfalls in Hawaii 2023
On Oahu, the towering Sacred Falls, also known as Kaliuwa’a Falls, offer a sense of spirituality amidst their splendor. Meanwhile, the Big Island’s Akaka Falls invites you to wander through lush rainforests to witness its 442-foot drop, making it one of the island’s most captivating natural wonders. Lastly, venture to Maui to experience the majestic Waimoku Falls, a crowning jewel along the famous Road to Hana.
Hawaii’s waterfalls are not only breathtaking but also a testament to the island’s rich natural heritage. So, pack your sense of adventure and prepare to be mesmerized by the best waterfalls in Hawaii, where each cascade tells a unique story of nature’s artistry.
1. Wailua Falls, Kauai
This dramatic double waterfall is known for its rainbows and its place in the opening credits of the TV show “Fantasy Island.” It is located on the east side of Kauai, about 10 miles from the town of Kapaa. The falls are easily accessible by car, and there is a short paved path to the viewing platform.
- Location: Wailua Falls is easily accessible from the roadside along Maalo Road in Lihue.
- Best Time to Visit: Anytime, but the morning offers beautiful lighting for photographs.
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2. Waipo’o Falls, Kauai
This popular trail boasts scenic canyon and rainforest views on the way to a waterfall and swimming hole. The falls are located on the west side of Kauai, about 15 miles from the town of Waimea. The trail is 2 miles round-trip and is considered moderate in difficulty.
- Location: Waipo’o Falls can be viewed from Waimea Canyon Lookout in Koke’e State Park.
- Best Time to Visit: Visit during clear weather to enjoy the panoramic view.
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3. Opaekaa Falls, Kauai
An overlook provides distant views of this scenic waterfall cascading in a lush environment. The falls are located on the east side of Kauai, about 5 miles from the town of Kapaa. The overlook is easily accessible by car, and there is a short paved path to the viewing platform.
- Location: Opaekaa Falls is just a short drive from Wailua Falls, also along Maalo Road.
- Best Time to Visit: Morning hours offer great photo opportunities when the sun illuminates the falls.
4. Hanakapiai Falls, Kauai
Reached via a trail that runs from the beach, this 91-meter waterfall provides an impressive sight. The falls are located on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, about 10 miles from the town of Hanalei. The trail is 8 miles round-trip and is considered strenuous in difficulty.
- Location: Accessible via the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. The trailhead is at Ke’e Beach.
- Best Time to Visit: Plan a full day hike and start early to avoid afternoon rain.
5. Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls), Kauai
Located on private land, this 400-foot waterfall seen in the movie “Jurassic Park” is accessible by helicopter. The falls are located on the north side of Kauai, about 10 miles from the town of Hanalei. There is no public access to the falls, but helicopter tours are available.
- Location: These falls are best seen on a helicopter tour, as they are located on private land.
- Best Time to Visit: Helicopter tours operate throughout the day, but morning flights are often recommended.
6. Moaula Falls, Moloka’i
This beautiful waterfall is located on the east side of Moloka’i, about 10 miles from the town of Kaunakakai. The falls are accessible by a short hike from the road.
- Location: Moaula Falls can be reached by a moderate hike from Halawa Valley on Moloka’i.
- Best Time to Visit: Ensure to visit during good weather conditions.
7. Papalaua Falls, Moloka’i
This stunning waterfall is located on the east side of Moloka’i, about 15 miles from the town of Kaunakakai. The falls are accessible by a short hike from the road.
- Location: Papalaua Falls is also located in Halawa Valley and can be seen during the same hike as Moaula Falls.
- Best Time to Visit: Similar to Moaula Falls, aim for clear weather for the best experience.
8. Sacred Falls (Kaliuwa’a Falls), Oahu
This waterfall is located on the east side of Oahu, about 10 miles from the town of Kaneohe. The falls are accessible by a short hike from the road.
- Location: Access to Sacred Falls is currently restricted due to safety concerns.
- Best Time to Visit: Unfortunately, it’s not accessible at this time.
9 Akaka Falls, Big Island
This tropical rainforest park offers a 0.4-mile loop footpath leading up to a 442-foot scenic waterfall. The falls are located on the east side of the Big Island, about 15 miles from the town of Hilo. The park is easily accessible by car, and there is a short paved path to the viewing platform.
- Location: Akaka Falls State Park is located off Akaka Falls Road (Highway 220) near Honomu.
- Best Time to Visit: Morning hours are ideal for visiting this easily accessible waterfall.
10. Waimoku Falls, Maui
A trail leads hikers to a tall waterfall at this hiking spot known for its picturesque landscapes. The falls are located on the east side of Maui, about 10 miles from the town of Hana. The trail is 4 miles round-trip and is considered moderate in difficulty.
- Location: Waimoku Falls is part of the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakalā National Park on Maui.
- Best Time to Visit: Begin your hike early to enjoy the trail and falls before crowds arrive.
Remember to check local conditions and weather forecasts before visiting these waterfalls, and always prioritize safety when exploring Hawaii’s natural wonders.
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