Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail

MODERATE 227 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Hanalei, Hawaii 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
2775 feet
Out & Back




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



over grown


no dogs

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. Hollywood is a big fan of this Hawaiian island's spectacular landscape, which is why it's a popular filming location for movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park. Like most trails on Kauai, the route up to the falls is quite rugged and usually quite slippery. This route should not be attempted during or immediately after a heavy rainfall.

7 hours ago

5 days ago

a beautiful and unforgettable hike. if i were to do it again, i'd use water/hiking sandals/shoes with the water crossings you encounter.

9 days ago

12 days ago

Hiked to the falls on 7/7/17. Got to the parking lot a little before 6am and it was about half full.

I'd say it's moderate hike. The most challenging part was the last mile or so leading to the falls, mostly due to the rocks, river crossing, and rain. We used water shoes once we had to start crossing the river (I think something like 5 times). We saw others jumping from rock to rock but didn't want to chance soggy hiking boots (which others didn't seem to mind).

Took my husband and I about 7 hours to complete -- including time to swim, switch shoes, allowing others to pass, and bathroom stops.

Great hike overall. To sum up other reviews that were helpful for us prior to tackling the hike:
- bring plenty of water (We brought about 1.5L of water and a Gatorade each. We saw a handful of people start the hike later in the day with little to no water in hand! Not smart given the heat and exertion involved.)
- use sun screen (especially for the return portion from the beach to trailhead)
- +/- bug spray (we brought it but didn't seem to be bothered)
- allow plenty of time (earlier start the better -- for parking and traffic)
- do swim in the pool/fall! It's refreshing and absolutely beautiful!
- know your limits (may not be a good hike for anyone with prior knee or ankle injuries/instabilities). It's not a race so go at your own pace

One thing that did upset us while on the hike was how few people knew hiking etiquette (mostly with passing and crowding tight/challenging areas like the river crossings). Please note hikers going uphill have the right of way. Always give a warning if you're going to pass (ie "coming on your left").

We definitely recommend this hike in you're in Kauai! It was a highlight of our trip.

14 days ago

15 days ago

16 days ago

This was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. All Trails has it at 6.9 miles. My GPS had me at 8.5 miles when it was all done. All Trails says moderate. I would say this is difficult. The technical part of this hike is just under 2 miles. Very Very rocky, multiple river crossings and very slippery. Be careful and know your limitations. Take water, food, and first aid. Lots of traffic so you never feel alone. Make sure you go early because parking is limited. Plan a whole day around this hike to get to the falls and back. The views are amazing.

17 days ago

I won't downgrade this amazing trail's rating because I happen to be 52 and overweight. It completely kicked my ass, and my husband's as well. Anyone with remotely bad knees needs a walking stick. Big knee problems? Stay away. I'm lucky I made it out of this alive. I'm kind of kidding but not really. The moderate rating would only apply to the most experienced hiker. Our kids did fine. Please do not bring a baby on your back for this hike. I know you might be strong, but there are many opportunities to slip. It's just stupid. We all had camelbacks and a water bottle. My husband and wish we had packed an additional bottle. Most of the hike back from the beach is brutal and in scorching sun. Bottom line: if you are young, don't worry but pack smart. If you are older and have substantial health problems, you might want to sit this one out or just go to the beach and back. Overall it's an amazing hike, varied terrain (bamboo forest, waterfall, beach, coastal views.)

18 days ago

18 days ago

19 days ago

20 days ago

A great hike for any adventurer. The initial incline will get your legs warmed up, unless you have already spent an hour or so doing lunges. You will skirt across the shoreline with views that will not disappoint. The beach at the halfway mark is nice. There are warning signs against swimming, but there are nice tide pools to cool you off. The second part of the hike is slow-going. It's two miles of jungle navigation, river crossing and muddy-wall-climbing. At the end, you are tired and dirty, but it's worth the time. The view of the Falls is amazing. You are rewarded with a nice "soul-entrenching" spring to cool yourself off with. Swim and enjoy. Avoid wearing water shoes. There are a lot of hard rocks and at some parts the hiking is a challenge. Carry lunch, and at least a gallon of water. There is an awesome black cat at the Falls who will welcome a piece a bread, tuna fish and combos. Enjoy!

21 days ago

21 days ago

An amazing hike!!! The falls are beautiful.

22 days ago

23 days ago

24 days ago

25 days ago

Gorgeous hike. Probably one of the best. I'd give yourself 6 plus hours if you want to see everything.

26 days ago

Definitely one of the best hikes I've ever done in my life!!! The trail by itself is absolutely amazing, it's like walking in a botanical garden... The views are superb and the bath under the waterfall was awesome. Probably the best hike in Kauai!

1 month ago

After you reach the beach to take a break, head back to the waterfall for a swim! Huge icy pool to swim in. Be careful for the heavy rainfall and flash floods! It's gets a little muddy and you cross the stream a few times. There's a beautiful bamboo forest you walk through too. There's a ton space to sit and swim and just hangout.