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Makaleha Trail is a 2.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaʻa, Kauai, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Length 2.8 mi Elevation gain 849 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Muddy Over grown Rocky Scramble
Description
Waypoints (4)
Facilities
Getting There

A must do trail for advanced hikers. This trail ends with 3 waterfalls and if you want to continue for another .5 mile, you will end at another waterfall. Lush green forest, cool stream and after 1.5 miles, you will see the first 3 waterfalls. You will climb over boulders in the stream and on top of branches of fallen trees. Optionally, you can continue on another .5 mile to the waterfall on the right. Jump in the ice cold water for a nice swim.

Parking is at the water tanks at the end of Kahuna Road north of Kapaa.

Once parked, you pass the water tanks and follow a dirt road until it ends. Continue past the end of the road. Do not take the small trail to the right that will take you to the water tunnels. You will need to cross the stream left about 40 yards past the road. If you look across the stream there will be an opening right next to an old concrete bridge. The trail is not maintained so there will be times where you might venture off course. Stay close to the stream and you will not get too far off course. You will cross the stream several times. There are large boulders that you will need to climb sometimes. The track is muddy at times as well due to the amount of rain this part of the country gets.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (394)
Photos (219)
Recordings (264)
Completed (698)
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craig netzer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 12, 2020
HikingMuddyScramble

There are a ton of trees that have been knocked down over the years, and HAU bushes so you’re constantly lifting your legs up super high or bending underneath branches. This triples the effort involved as it is most of the trail. The rocks are very slippery. The bamboo forest is cool and the waterfall at the end is spectacular. There is no way that the distance is 2.8 miles one way I got 4.4 miles one way and 8.3 miles total. Even with a break, it took a good near six hours of hiking. Super muddy. Anything you wear will get wet and muddy. One of the few trails on Kauai were bug spray is recommended this is the third time I have done this trail and I’ve let myself go and I’m out of shape so I needed 11 packets of mustard to keep from fully locking up with severe cramps by the end of the trail.

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Kui Adric
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyOver grown

Multiple reviews say that this trail is longer than 2.8 miles so I tracked it on Strava and it tracked a total of 10.10 miles (roundtrip) which took us 3 moving hours. Overgrown path, muddy, climbing over big boulders and under broken trees, multiple river crossings, slippery rocks. Bring long pants, non-slip shoes, snacks and water, waterproof bag. Follow the pink trail markers and it will take you to the large waterfall. Its beautiful and worth the long hike!

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George of the jungle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyOff trailRocky

Great trail! definitely not 2.8 miles its way more than that! but Thank me later after reading this, First time hiking here with family and friends, So kinda nervous after reading reviews, However trail wasn’t bad We actually liked it and enjoyed I know it’s a little hard trail to find that’s why I placed pink flagging tape where to cross the river and where to follow the trail without this you might not find where’s the trail or to cross. A little tip tho wear spike tabis when hiking here it’s very rocky and muddy also wear long sleeve or bring bugs spray, it’s a forest what can you expect right? other than that it’s a beautiful view of waterfalls at the end, swim and enjoy!

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Tristan Parker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailOver grownRockyScramble

Way harder than we’d expected or hoped for and for all the scrambling and getting lost, wasn’t really worth it. Waterfall at the top was ok and super crowded just cause nowhere for more than one group to enjoy it at a time.

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JD Irons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 2, 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailOver grownScramble
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Larissa Rossen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 19, 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

The trail was rugged and difficult to follow at times. The falls were beautiful and worth the hike. Lots of people detracted from the experience.

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Mara Fridell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 28, 2020
HikingScramble

A family favorite for us (son is 14), this is a great boulder stream scramble, with a lovely bamboo forest at the start and a gratifying narrow waterfall and cold pool plunge at the end (turnaround). Wear swimsuit, watershoes with good traction, and maybe bring a hiking pole to pick your way up and down the stream.

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Nika Backbone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 20, 2020
HikingOff trail
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Allison Barber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 25, 2020
Hiking

This is not really a trail. Sure, there are some small parts where there is a small way cleared out like through the bamboo forests. This is for advanced hikers in great physical condition only. There are multiple river crossings with very little indication of where to cross. Once you hit the fork, you can go either way and both lead to waterfalls. Do not go if it has rained in the last 24 hours or if the weather calls for rain that day. Much of the hike is within the riverbed. The rocks are as slippery as ice which makes it slow going and dangerous. The pay off is great at the end with the waterfalls but as a person who lives and hikes on this island in very good physical shape, I do not recommend.

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Paige Prato
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 26, 2020
HikingOff trailOver grownRockyWashed out

This trail was VERY hard to follow. We got to the boulder and then saw an arrow on the tree which looked like the path but about 30 yards in it becomes overgrown and turns to a dead end. We ended up turning around there. I’m sure you could have just followed the stream to continue but my boyfriend and I were getting scared that we would get lost. I am going to upload a map that another hiker gave to us but honestly it wasn’t Much help. It would be great for someone who knows the trail well to put some type of markers of some sort so people don’t get lost while they are out there. Even experienced hikers were turning back...

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Jen DePree
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 15, 2020
HikingBugsMuddy

This hike was one of the most fun and beautiful hikes I’ve ever done, however it was very difficult. It was also way longer than 2.8 miles out and back... probably more like 6 miles round trip. There were 4 of us trying to figure out where the trail was and when to cross the river so we definitely had an advantage there, look for the 3 hash marks in the tree branches along the way to guide you. Just keep following the river to the end, swimming in the water falls was so worth the trek! I’m glad I had this app to refer to when wondering how much farther we needed to go, if I hadn’t used it, we may not have made it all the way! It took us 4 hours with a stop at the falls for snack and swimming!

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