Peaceful seclusion on the way to the falls — Photo courtesy of Jade EckardtLet's begin our waterfall adventure on the gorgeous lush North Shore of Kauai. With majestic, tall, vertical green cliffs backing the historical town of Hanalei, the area is prone to changing falls cascading down the cliffs. The number of them varies by the amount of rainfall, but since there's always some rain out there, there's usually at least a couple of falls. You can't get up close and personal with them, but the view of the waterfall-laden backdrop is breathtaking. Stop at the Hanalei Valley Overlook for a panoramic view of the valley and the falls.
Opaeka'a Falls — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Head to the east side for a completely secluded, low-impact jungle hike along a river to a waterfall. Located inland behind Kapa'a is Ho'opi'i Falls, a small waterfall accessed by a walk along the Kapa'a Stream. You'll take an easy walk under a jungle canopy along the stream, weaving through narrow trails and tasting berries along the way. It's just a couple of minutes from the trail head to the stream, and then another 20 or so to the falls. The beauty is really in the walk; you won't be getting in the water here.
It's important to note that this is a residential area, so please be quiet and drive slowly on the street. You won't run into crowds here, maybe just a resident taking a morning walk with their dog, so just wave and say hello. Don't forget the camera - or the mosquito repellent - on this hike, and just enjoy the peace and quiet, and maybe a riverside picnic. To get here, turn onto Kawaihau Road from Kuhio Highway and head about 10 minutes inland. Take a right onto Kapahi Road, and look for the trail head by the yellow metal post.
Wailua Falls — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Further east is Opaeka'a Falls up on Kuamo'o Road. Centrally located just on the outskirts of Kapa'a in Wailua, the falls are very easily accessible and viewable from stepping just outside of the car. Take a few minutes for photos, and to take in the sound of the thundering falls.
Famous Wailua Falls are just down the road headed to Lihue. Another easily viewable waterfall, it actually consists of two 80-foot streams cascading down a cliff into a huge pool. The drive up Ma'alo Road where they're located is beautiful within itself and consists of miles of green pasture with nothing but grazing animals. Hawaiian legend says that royalty would dive off the falls as a form of competition and that commoners were not allowed to participate.