EveryTrail is now a part of AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail

MODERATE 70 reviews
#2 of 3 trails in

Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Hanalei, HI that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

6.9 miles 2296 feet Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

Hanakp'ai Falls Trail is located near Hanalei, Hawaii and features a waterfall. The trail is primarily used for hiking. The first 2 miles is a moderate hike to Hanakapiai Beach. From there it is another 2 strenuous miles to the falls. The trail is very muddy and slippery during the first mile. When hiking the trails of Kauai you can be forgiven for expecting to meet a T-Rex around the next bend, or to spot Indiana Jones running by with one hand on his hat and the other grasping some ancient artifact. Hollywood is a big fan of the this Hawaiian island's spectacular landscape, which is why it's a popular filming location for movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurasic Park. The 300 foot tall Hanakapi'ai Falls is definitely a spectacle you'd expect to star on the silver screen, and certainly worthy of a 8 mile out-and-back trek. Like most trails on Kauai, the route up to the falls is quite rugged and usually quite slippery, which is why we categorize this hike as hard. Also, this route should not be attempted during or immediately after a heavy rainfall. Elevation gain: • 600ft (from 50 - 500ft)

hiking
4 days ago

Awesome, muddy, bucket list of fun. Myself, my wife and three teenage daughters made it there and back in eight hours or so. Swimming at the beach at the end at sunset made for a memorable ending.

6 days ago

The highlight of our trip to Kauai! Such beautiful views and the waterfall at the end was breathtaking. We swam underneath it (water was FREEZING!) Bring plenty of water and shoes for river crossings. The trail can change hourly depending on the rain so make sure to watch the forecast. We were climbing through mud and most of the trail turned to little waterfalls partway.

14 days ago

pretty difficult for a novice. please bring PLENTY of fluids and food

hiking
24 days ago

This is the trail I've enjoyed the most at the Napali coast. It's not for everyone,the trail is very slippery and muddy depending on the rain. You'll have to cross several time the small river and this is probably the most difficult part because the risk of falling down is high. At the end the reward of the trail is amazing. The waterfall is beautiful and you can enjoy a great bath in a beautiful natural pool. During the trail is also very nice the first part with a lot of bamboo trees. If you do his trail together with he Hanakapiai beach one, you should consider a total of about 6hrs return trail.

hiking
27 days ago

The trail was absolutely beautiful but crossing the creek which becomes a raging river in the rain becomes extraordinarily difficult. The trail itself becomes a creek too in the rain. Keep an eye out for the pink or orange tape that marks the trail when it gets confusing and try to remember where you saw it last.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I did this trail in early February. It had not rained in a few days which was perfect! If you can, try to go when it hasn't rained, this will make crossing the creek easier. The trail is very clear until you hit the beach and have to head inland towards the falls. You will pass over the creek several times. The trail is sometimes unclear, but looks for the pink or yellow tags. As long as you're close to the creek, you're close to the trail. The falls are fabulous. But for me, the views of the NaPali Coast for the first couple miles are the best. I was on the trail by 5:45-6ish, in the dark, and I was the first on the trail. I knew this because of the many spider webs I walked right into. Watching the sunrise on the NaPali Coast was a truly spiritual experience. Bring clothes you don't mind getting dirty! I wore hiking boots. My friend wore Chacos. Both work well.

hiking
1 month ago

A strenuous but amazing hike.

This trail is one of the most spectacular views of the Nā Pali coast you will experience on foot. The first two miles take you down to Hanakapi'ai beach. Then you can take the two mile hike up to the falls. The terrain is rugged and the trailed isn't maintained regularly however, if you are ok with getting dirty and I mean full of mud and play a little slip and slide with the jagged rocks, the hike is definitely worth it. The trail veers inland and to the coast on and off suddenly exposing cliffs and the ocean. The 300 ft fall makes the hike worth all the trouble it takes to get to it. Although some say it's best if you are an experienced hiker to do this, my wife and I saw people of all ages hiking it. So it depends on your determination.
From the beach it is about 2.2 miles of some pretty rough terrain. Uneven, wet, muddy and slippery. The views of the coast are all on the first two miles down to the beach, from there the trail goes inland and it's pretty much jungle until you get to the falls you will cross the river many times so be prepared to get wet. We definitely recommend this hike. By far it is one of the best hikes in Kauai.
Bring bug repellent, some good comfortable shoes, plenty of water, some snacks, sun block, and a hat.

1 month ago

this is a great trail.. I did it at 6am and was first on the mountain. only problem is I did it right after a serious storm came thru and the trail had been closed for a couple days due to excessive rain. so needless to say the trail was a mess and most of the time I had no idea where I was going. it would be great if some additional ribbons marketed the path, but I figure the locals really don't care and couldn't care less about visitors struggling thru the hike a little bit here and there.

hiking
1 month ago

Gotta say, locals understate the difficulty. This hike is no simple stroll. Lots of rocks throughout the whole trail, often muddy and slippery. It's a great hike but don't underestimate it.. Check out the local video on the state parks website for a good account on what really expect. Can't say it enough.. Bring lots of water.. Lots. I'd say 1.5ltrs /ea at least.. We're pretty fit and we each had 1ltr, it barely sufficed and it was a day in the upper 70's. We also pre hydrated before our start with .500ml. Bring snacks, nuts, dryer fruits.. This will be 5hrs of your day easy up and back. If you are in a rush, you won't enjoy it.. Plan for 6-7hrs and you'll It!!

2 months ago

I said it in my Kalalau review and I'll say it here, too. This hike will set a standard for your following hikes. The trail is extremely difficult: sometimes steep, often tight, and you even have to jump rocks over the rushing creek many times. The reward is like none I've ever experienced before and one of my fondest memories of all my memories. The waterfall is breath-taking. As is the water temperature the second you step one foot in. I assure you, though, there is no greater feeling than feeling fresh mountain water from the tallest swampland in the world after such a sweaty, dirty, and exhausting hike. You MUST swim when you make it to the falls; DON'T let the freezing temperature hold you back from experiencing true Hawaiian natural splendor. It's so special. Swim beneath the falls and let it massage your back. Take in the smell and the bright green moss against the dark, wet rock; this is a view I'll always remember. Careful while swimming to not cut your leg or swim into rocks below the surface of the water beneath the falls: there are many and it's an unpleasant surprise. Thankfully, the cold water quickly numbs the pain and stops the bleeding!

You must do this hike.
Good luck turning your back to the falls and walking away.

2 months ago

Great trail but very challenging in the mud and driving rain

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views of the coast! Highly recommend it! Watch out: the first opening vista of the coast is very windy (but incredibly gorgeous!).

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was fun! More difficult in some spots but overall I'd say a moderate in difficulty. Make sure you wear good hiking shoes, it's muddy and a bit slick for a majority of the trail, especially if it just rained. Crossing the streams/ river seemed to be a bit treacherous for some people. The falls at the end are worth it. It's beautiful and perfect for a nice refreshing dip after the hike. Took us about 3.5 hours to get there, and 2.5 hours to get back out. This includes tons of stopping for photo ops and rest breaks. Bring lots of water, and we also brought lunch/snacks to eat while up at the falls. No trash cans, please bring out everything that you brought in!!

2 months ago

Great!! Very very muddy when we went. Trail was closed a few days prior. I would recommend a change of socks and water based hiking shoes would be best. Very slippery in some sections.

hiking
3 months ago

Best hike I have ever done. It was difficult, lots of rain overnight so it was very muddy, slippery, water was raging. Lots of knee (or higher) stream crossings. Gorgeous and worth every muddy step, every mosquito bite, every blister and injury. My friend and I got to the falls in 3 hours after pausing briefly at beach. We were moving at a pretty good clip, passing many, but also being passed by a few as well. In total, this round trip hike took us 7 hours (including hanging out at falls to enjoy and replenish). Take more water than you think you will need!

3 months ago