Uluwehi Secret Falls via Wailua River

MODERATE 173 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Uluwehi Secret Falls via Wailua River is a 9.8 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaʻa, Kauai, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, fishing, and sea kayaking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 9.8 km Elevation Gain: 142 m Route Type: Out & Back

fishing

hiking

nature trips

paddle sports

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

A kayak on the Wailua River with a short hike to the majestic Secret Falls. Start this paddle by renting a kayak or joining a guided float. Launch your boat, and begin you paddle upstream through thick tropical vegetation. At 1.8 miles, you have the option of docking your boat and explore the Kamokila Hawaiian Village; a traditional Hawaiian village. Continue up the Wailua river until it splits and bear to the right. Paddle through dense vegetation then beach your kayak on the right bank. Walk west on the path. In .3 mile, cross the North Fork Wailua River (use the yellow rope that runs across tributary as a stabilizer). Continue to hike northwest through the dense jungle and along a narrow embankment that is full of gnarled roots and is often muddy (bring close toe sandals.) Continue following the trail along the river bank and pass a cement tower with a water level marker. Turn left; head away from the river, and climb up a short, steep, and often muddy embankment. At the top, cross a small stream and turn right, continuing on trail. Continue until you reach Secret Falls. Enjoy time soaking at the falls then retrace your steps to you boat. Kayak down stream and return to the boat launch (down stream is often more difficult then upstream especially with afternoon trade winds.)

hiking
closed
off trail
over grown
private property
2 days ago

The actual trail is actually only 2 miles there 2 miles back the extra amount is the trip up the river you have to take to get there. We took kayaks and it was amazing. The trail is overpopulated and muddy but it's very flat and easy to do for just about everyone.

hiking
6 days ago

Kayaking, cliff jumping, a beautiful waterfall and a nice short hike. What more could you ask for?

Beautiful hike but so many tourists. Go early Wailua kayak and canoe opens at 7am $55 a person for 5 hours.

hiking
muddy
scramble
18 days ago

Beautiful but muddy, the falls at the end are worth it! You do cross streams 4 times one of which has a rope to help you.

muddy
26 days ago

The kayak is easily done in about 35 minutes. Then, arrived at the point of landing, the hiking is also easily done in 30 minutes. The only point to remember is that it is extremely muddy, so I advise you to bring water shoes or hiking shoes. The fall at the end is beautiful.

Great trail in between the forest to finally reach the waterfall, which it is beautiful. however, beware, if it’s too crowded, it takes away all the fun being in the waterfall.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

We rented four paddle boards to reach the hiking destination up-river. Decent scenery along the way but the river had heavy traffic including large groups of guided tours and the occasional boat. Strong headwinds on the return trip made it difficult and slow going at times. The rushing river-side hiking trail is simple and has fantastic scenic spots including a 100ft waterfall/swimming hole at the end. The trail has a few obstacles, including muddy spots, networks of roots and a river crossing. The trail-head docking area, the trail itself and the waterfall were very crowded but not impossible or frustrating to contend with. Despite the the overpopulation, it was a fun and worthwhile adventure.

hiking
1 month ago

Kayak and a hike. Pretty easy hike with a nice treat at the end. Water is very refreshing and worth the effort.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Actually my husband and I wanted to go to the falls by self-guided kayaking and hiking. However unfortunately all rental kayak are sold out at tour and rental shop near Wailua river so we joined Secret falls kayak tour. First 1hr was kayaking, and after that, we left our kayak then started short hike. It was very easy trail to the falls. I saw a lot of people who hiked by themselves. You can reach there by self-guide. If you do it by yourself, please be careful to stay right side on the river when you paddle your kayak. Big tour boat passes by so.

hiking
bugs
muddy
2 months ago

2 months ago

Slipped down to the secret falls and was super pretty!!

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely a great way to spend and afternoon! Kayak Kauai is great and Doc was the best guide.

paddle sports
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

Waterfall is absolutely beautiful. Hike is muddy and uneven. Hiking poles are helpful. Make sure to rent your kayak from Wailua Kayak Adventures. They are super friendly, helpful, and affordable to do it on your own. Also take a side trip up the south fork for some cliff jumping and the fern grotto.

hiking
over grown
rocky
4 months ago

This was a fun trail, partially shaded. It was a little overgrown in some areas, and would be difficult if it had recently rained. We’ve had a few dry days so no problems there for us. Water shoes or hiking sandals are recommended as you must walk through the river at several spots. You can also do this barefoot, but wouldn’t recommend that. The ground has some roots and rocks so careful with footing, but the falls are nice and it’s a fun spot to cool down before the trek back!

hiking
muddy
over grown
4 months ago

Amazing! We rented kayaks from the village for &35 a person, had a picnic lunch there and kayaked from there. Wouldn’t take a guided tour, it’s so easy to find and the village plays you a video showing how to get there and they have a map. Recommend hiking boots you don’t mind getting wet or dirty, trail was fairly dry but can see how muddy it would get after rain. There are a few small river crossings. Falls are amazing to swim in!

paddle sports
4 months ago

Paddle: ~45min each way Hike - ~30min each way not including swim time HIGHLY recommend renting your own kayak as opposed to joining a tour. The guided tour isn't necessary as you only make 1 turn on the river to find the trail, and the trail is easy to follow. Plus there are many, many other people doing this to follow if that is your concern. Self-guided allows you to avoid the ultra-crowded bottlenecks by blowing past groups, and also allows you to start before the tours. Wailua Kayak & Canoe opens at 7am and is right on the river. Cost $50/person. Pricey, but worth it in my opinion. We were able to have the falls to ourselves to swim (for a brief 5 minutes), and never felt too crowded on the river itself. We were lucky in that it's been relatively dry here for many days, so the trail was not too muddy as others reported, and the stream crossings were safe and easy. Hard to give a judgment for what to expect as conditions could easily change. Sandals with a strap (chacos) worked fine for us.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Had a great time. Booked 7 AM tour through Dukes Kayak Adventures. Our group consisted of our party of five and another party of two. However, tons of other tour companies do this tour at the same time making it a bit crowded. Kayak and hiking portions were a little under 2 miles each. Trail was very muddy in my opinion but our guide only rated it a 3 out of ten on the muddy scale. Guess he’s seen much worse! The waterfall and swim are well worth it though. Would’ve given it 5 stars based on beauty alone but had to give it only four due to the crowds.

5 months ago

Such a fun adventure. Rent kayaks down by the highway for a 2 mile river paddle up to the trail head or there is a small village to rent kayaks from a little closer up for a shorter paddle to the start of the hike. The hike itself is not hard but is extremely muddy right now. Commit to the mud! Your shoes will be covered! It’s a gorgeous hike thru the jungle and ends with an incredible waterfall where you can swim! There are also other areas to kayak around once you’re done hiking and even cliff diving in the right spots! Lots of people along the way... but still worth it.

6 months ago

My favorite adventure on the Island. it's not really so secret by all the tourist groups that stop by, not too bad either Rent Kayaks from the nearby Hawaiian cultural center for a fair price and short row if you wish. it's a good 1/3 day'er. Not too challenging but very muddy, but that is part of the fun. A epic Waterfall and great swim. A must do.

hiking
muddy
rocky
6 months ago

We took a kayak tour up to the fork in the river and hiked from there. Yes it's muddy/slippery but not really very strenuous. A walking stick helps in the muddiest parts. The trail gets very busy so go early! The falls are beautiful and very cold but once you're in the water it's really quite nice.

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