Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail

MODERATE 423 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.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2296 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

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.

1 hour ago

Lovely hike. Lots of water crossing. We loved the baby frogs at the beach. And the waterfalls is stunning. So early to have the falls to yourself for a little bit. Suitable for all ages (children too) as long as they are athletic and strong.

hiking
4 days ago

The waterfall was spectacular! Challenging but doable at 51. It took us 6.5 hrs. Don’t skimp on water you’ll need it. We wish we had brought a water filter for an endless supply.

hiking
22 days ago

Don’t do this hike if it’s raining. Just. Don’t.
“But, I flew all the way to Kaua’i!”
If it’s raining, don’t do it.
The trail turns to slick mud.
The river, which you have to cross multiple times on the second part of the hike to the falls, becomes dangerous to impassable. The water can go from ankle deep to chest deep in a matter of 30 minutes. Several people were stranded today.
No matter how many times or how much bug spray you apply, the rain washes it off, and the mosquitos swarm you as soon as the rain stops (this is mainly on the hike from the beach to the falls).
If the rest of this review has not dissuaded you from attempting the trip in the rain, at least only do this first two miles to the beach. There are some decent views, and no river crossing. But don’t head up to the falls. Your life may depend on it.

hiking
23 days ago

Great hike in tropical conditions. A bit wet and slippery but fun to do. Took us 2.5 hours out and a little less coming back. Several stream crossings which can be tricky depending on water levels.

Great falls reward at the turnaround point with the opportunity to recharge with a cold water swim (you must do this!). You can swim out into and through the waterfall...exhilarating!

hiking
27 days ago

Beautiful views!! Lots of mud & stream crossings. I wouldn't recommend for small kids.

29 days ago

Great vistas, but crowded and very wet muddy On the easier side of moderate.

hiking
29 days ago

Great adventure into the beginning of the Nāpali Coast. Can be very muddy as we experienced, still walkable, just slower. The waterfall is awesome, worth the extra hike, just be prepared for sections of mud and a few creek crossings. The crossings have plenty of rocks to walk across, they could be fairly challenging if there has been a lot of rain though.

hiking
29 days ago

Beautiful coast line as you hike the Nāpali coast before heading up to the waterfall. Wear or bring something to swim in at the falls. A great pool at the bottom of the falls to cool off in before your return trip. Unlike hikes in cool Waimea canyon this trail is low in elevation (but with lots of up and down terrain) and thus you are hiking in the hot humid weather. Bring plenty of water and you will be thankful.

hiking
1 month ago

A little muddy but so worth it, the waterfall pool is awesome!

1 month ago

next time I'll make sure to get permit to do the whole coast
wow!

hiking
1 month ago

I would change this to hard if it has been raining. The trail is VERY muddy and rocks have been placed the first 2 miles making it slippery. I have done several hikes in flip flops but I would never do this one. By the end we were all covered in mud from the knee down. However, the views along the way are gorgeous. We took our 4 teens and it took us 5.5 hours after stopping at the beach and falls for 45 minutes.

1 month ago

Gorgeous trail with amazing views! However, I would definitely rate this as hard. Muddy and very slippery, multiple stream crossings on slippery rocks, and lots of high-stepping both up and down. I agree with the reviewer who said that whoever described this trail as moderate must be in their 20s.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike in January with 4 friends. It rained earlier this morning just a little bit and it was very muddy and pretty slippery. We all absolutely loved this hike and thought it was a “must do” hike in Kauai! Take water and a swimming suit to swim in the waterfalls pond.

hiking
1 month ago

If you love working hard for an amazing view, this is most definitely the trail for you! Due to the exorbitant amount of mud-trudging required, I recommend something besides your favorite shoes or your flip flops :)

Prepare for a cold misty wind at the base of the falls, but the waterfall is so glorious, you prolly will forget you're chilly.

1 month ago

Magnificent! Our second time hiking here. Thankful for our boots (merrell/oboz) in Thursday’s late afternoon mud and rain. Although we saw a few barefoot folks who were quite swift-moving. Be plenty ready to get muddy. It seems like less folks continue on to the Falls from the beach. As others mentioned, be patient with parking options. We arrived at 11am and parked in the 2nd lot, furthest away.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging with the mud but very nice! I'd suggest to leave very early to avoid the crowd. We arrived there and nobody was there yet. That was great.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful! Hiking this region of Hawaii has been on my bucket list for a while and this trail did not disappoint. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks though! You won't want to run low at the beach and miss out on the falls.

hiking
2 months ago

Perfect hike showcasing a slice of Kauai, if you don’t mind getting muddy & wet. Started at 8:30am & closest car park at start of trail was already full so glad we chose to park in the 1st one & walk 500m to the beginning of the trail. What I love most about this hike is you don’t notice the gradual ascent as much as others I’ve done in hotter, less tropical conditions. You’re constantly sheltered & surrounded by lush rain forest but this also means the ground is a slushy, muddy mess so be prepared for slips & falls along the way. Walking poles would be ideal and of course good quality hiking shoes. We saw people walking this trail barefoot at the beginning but by the time you’ve crossed the first stream, shoes are mandatory & the barefoot brigade have stopped. Keep going to the end & you’ll be rewarded with a most stunning waterfall where you can have a little swim & happy snap. Highly recommend. Enjoy!

2 months ago

Started at 8:30am , first car park next to trail was already full. If you’re not starting super early I’d suggest parking in the 2nd car park and walking 500m to start of trail. Didn’t rain today and was still super muddy so much easier if you wear shoes with grip. Small water crossing just before arriving at the beach. About 4 water crossings on trek to waterfalls. Be prepared to get a bit wet and muddy.

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