As one of Kauai's last remaining secrets, the walk along the Kapa'a Stream to Ho'opi'i Falls (Hoh-oh pee-ee) is one of the most peaceful activities on the island, other than disappearing for days on a miles-long hike. This is a low impact walk through a rainforest that leads you to two waterfalls, but the thrill is really in the serene walk through the forest along the stream.
Serenity — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Because it's such a well-kept secret, we like to remind visitors to be quiet and offer a friendly wave of 'aloha' to any neighborhood resident on a walk. They'll most likely be the only people you'll run into on the hike. To get here, turn onto Kawaihau Road from Kuhio Highway. Head inland for about 10 minutes, then take a right onto Kapahi Road. Look for the trail head by a metal post. This is a residential neighborhood and it's important to drive very slowly and quietly.
Peaceful river — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Under a jungle canopy of tightly woven trees and vines you could go along for a while, so it's hard to say exactly how long the trail is, but it's a quick few minutes from the trail head to the water. Through the canopy, sun shines down and tasty lilikoi (passion) fruits drop, so look around for the yellow-shelled fruit and give it a try. Ho'opi'i can be enjoyed in between the other east side attractions; don't dedicate an entire day to it, but bring a snack or lunch and some water.
Tree canopy — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
The walk is pretty easy, but it's on a narrow (sometimes muddy) trail through bushes. The mud can be slippery when wet, so just go slow. This isn't the best waterfall on Kauai for swimming; the enjoyment is mostly in the hike, but it's a lovely and usually completely private walk. This also makes for a great family activity, but make sure to bring mosquito repellent. Enjoy the delightful falls and savor being in on a Kauai secret.