Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail

MODERATE 467 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail is a 6.7 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
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2293 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.

hiking
6 days ago

Mountain apples, jackfruit, Passion flowers, avocados, bamboo groves, kittens, and some of the most colorful coast and forest on the way to an amazing waterfall and cold swimming hole. It was a great June day.

hiking
8 days ago

Spectacular

9 days ago

One of the most incredible sites to see

hiking
28 days ago

Did this hike two days ago. The first part, to Hanakapi'ai beach, is not difficult, though it also had some slightly muddy parts and a creek crossing at the end that wasn't easy.

The hike up to the falls has amazing bamboo groves, lots of mud, some light climbing, rocky ledges that might be uncomfortable when wet and more creek crossings.

Totally worth it - the waterfall is amazing and the pool refreshing (felt freezing at first..). Fortunately we had brought swimwear.

Someone had broken a leg not far from the falls – organizing help was difficult and long-winded: nearest cell phone reception is all the way back to the parking lot and then a few minutes drive. Signaling passing tour helicopters from the beach got some attention, but proper communication is difficult... So better be careful than get injured.
(After several hours an emergency heli came and afaik all is good...)

1 month ago

Great trail. I went on a rainy day that caused the bridge to Hanalei and the trail to close. That said, some of the more difficult river crossings I've completed. The view at the end is nothing short of spectacular

hiking
1 month ago

We parked at the Ke'e Beach Parking Overflow Lot, walked to the trailhead and followed the Kalalau Trail. We stopped by the beach, had lunch and enjoyed the view. Shortly after we hiked the Hanakapiai Trail, it started to rain, the rain made hiking on the rock more slippery and crossing the stream more scary but we all made it back safely. Just be careful and take the time, you will enjoy this incredible hike too.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

My wife and I are fairly fit and I wouldn’t necessarily say this was moderate! Easy first three miles though mile 2-3 was very muddy. The last half mile, however, involved some gentle scrambling up wet and smooth/muddy boulder faces alongside an exposed 25 foot rock cliff, plenty of height to ruin your day. Somebody’s iPhone fell out of their pocket, took a bounce off the ledge and was no more. I’m surprised more injuries aren’t reported on that stretch though I am no expert in those reports. The rest wasn’t too bad and took us 4 hours. Like others have said, the rain is probably what makes all the difference in difficulty. The falls and pool were incredible and worth twice the trip. Had high quality hiking shoes but for the scary parts - wet rock - it’s too steep for a hiking stick (need both hands) and will plan on buying tabi/gumi shoes since it was still slippery with hikers on (but far better than basic running shoes). Enjoy the trip and take your time!

hiking
1 month ago

I’m 45 years old, a Colorado transplant, and in good shape. I enjoyed this hike a LOT and would recommend it to avid to moderate hikers. The comments about rain are legit, it can be very slippery and challenging. This is NOT a “walk in the park”, but I wouldn’t call it hard either. Go slow, bring hiking poles, bring water, and stop at the beach unless you’re a more serious hiker.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, rained most of the day but path to the beach was great and mostly stone. Didn’t go pay the beach at the 2 mile marker due to rising river and more incoming rain. Be prepared for plenty of mud, would recommend something with a better sole than tennis shoes

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome! Big reward when you get to the falls!! Beautiful from the beginning until the end :)

1 month ago

My 20 week pregnant wife and I did this hike late last week. According to the signs on the trail it is 8 miles total, out and back. Took us about 8 hours in total, but we took our time. It was not raining but it still was incredibly slippery because of the rains days before. We have done a number of hikes, and I would call this trail 'hard' if there is any degree of moisture affecting the ground. I wouldn't attempt it at all if raining... that would be a nightmare. Take more water than you think you need, and apply bug spray before you get started. We waited and regretted it. This is a hike of a lifetime if the conditions are right.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely worth it, it’ll be muddy and slippery but gotta go all the way to the falls, don’t stop at the beach!

hiking
1 month ago

What an incredible hike! Although I would call it closer to hard than moderate, but I guess I’m no hiking expert. It also may be because the trail was wet today after yesterday’s rains. Each person we passed with tennis shoes (or even sandals), made me happier we had on good boots and started early. You basically go up along the coast for a mile, down to the beach for a mile, then hike inland along the river/stream for 2 miles and after some careful bouldering you are rewarded with a huge waterfall and a refreshing pool.

I’m not gonna lie, the return trip stretched us (30s/20s moderate shape), but the whole thing was worth the effort. Glad we brought plenty of water.

It took about 6 hours, including about 10 minutes at the beach, 30 at the falls, and the occasional stops along the way.

1 month 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months ago

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

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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
3 months ago

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

3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months 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.

3 months 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
3 months ago

Amazing!

hiking
3 months 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
3 months 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.

3 months 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.

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