Makaleha Hike

HARD 21 reviews

Makaleha Hike is a 2.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaa, Hawaii that features a waterfall. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and primarily used for hiking.

2.6 miles
488 feet
Out & Back





wild flowers




old growth

over grown


A must do trail for advanced hikers. This trail ends with 3 waterfalls and if you want to continue for another 1/2 mile, you will end at another waterfall. The trail begins at the end of Kahuna Road north of Kapaa. Lush green forest, cool stream and after 1 1/2 miles you will see the first 3 waterfalls. You will climb over boulders in the stream, on top of branches of fallen trees. The hike will be slow, but with patience, you will get there. Optionally, you can continue on another 1/2 mile to the waterfall on the right. Jump in the ice cold water for a nice swim.

pretty awesome hike but hard. hard to keep a track of where the trail is the first river split Y, keep to the right side river path but the path is located in the land between the two rivers.
take right side at the 2nd Y.
recommend: good shoes, long pants + mosquito repellent+ download a trail.

12 days ago

Other comments describe the walk accurately - definitely a scramble and need to have you wits with path finding and boulder hopping footwear. Well worth it for the falls and the rewarding swim in the pool.

1 month ago

This trail has many challenges. The hard rating is not for the length now the elevation but for the obstacles. Ensure you are in decent health. This trail is not only physically challenging but mentally as well. The hidden falls are about another 700ft past the end of the trail. Take a right where the river splits into a Y and you will eventually be rewarded with an amazing view and great swimming hole.

1 month ago

This is one of the coolest hikes I've ever done. Hands down. Utterly awesome.

That said, it's a mission. Tough scramble that you need to be highly mobile to handle. It's hard, but not impossible and, as long as it's not raining, not dangerous (aside from maybe twisting an ankle). If it's raining, stay clear as flash floods can happen.

The trail is not well marked, but, as long as you follow the stream - on either side, or just rock hop through the middle - you'll get there. Hang right as you come to the two valleys (maybe 1/2 mile from the end) and get ready for this unreal pool fed by a gorgeous waterfall.

If you're brave, scale the waterfall 20' up to enjoy the second level pool. This place is so rad. Honestly.

1 month ago

1 month ago

This was more of a trek through the jungle than a trail. You will climb over trees, roots, rocks, and will cross the creek several times. The "trail" disappears frequently and is difficult to find so it is very easy to get lost! That being said, once you get to the falls you will be rewarded with a gorgeous double falls and a nice cold pool to take a dip in. There was not a soul in sight when we were there. When in doubt about where trail goes, cross the creek and you are likely to find it on the other side. Definitely watch every step you take - its sketchy. The way back is much easier to navigate. Good luck!

2 months ago

2 months ago

Difficult. A natural jungle gym. Must have good sense of direction and a willingness to adopt the spirit of your ancestors (apes). An amazing challenge in wayfinding, but not unachievable. Tara an would be proud. Where grippy shoes.

2 months ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

Awesome trail! It's not an easy hike, so prepare yourself for climbing over trees, walking through mud and streams and climbing up and over rocks. There's a fork in the stream about 1.5 miles in, take the right stream, it'll bring you to the big waterfall. The waterfall is absolutely breathtaking and worth the crazy hike. Water shoes will definitely help. Preferably ones with good grip for the slippery mud.

3 months ago

4 months ago

Rough going but worth the trouble!

6 months ago

This is an awesome hike, due both to the absolute beauty of the surroundings and the fact that so few people attempt it. I'll let others describe the hike, but one important thing to note is that the unmarked trail head is straight ahead at the end on Kahuna Road. After parking, proceed up the unpaved road keeping the large water tank on your left. Any other route will put you into the middle of nowhere. Many thanks to my Barefoot Kauai guides, Trev and Cody for a great day.

7 months ago

this is a fantastic, but very challenging hike. very muddy, and wet, as you constantly cross over the stream. the waterfalls aren't large, however, they are nice. there is also an incredible bamboo forest along the trail.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This hike is tough. Be sure to wear Tabis (can buy at Walmart in Lihue), as you will be crossing the creek repeatedly and it is very slippery. Hiking poles are also useful. You will get quite a workout climbing over the horizontal trees, it is like a jungle gym, especially at the end. Take this trail to experience what Kauai is really like.

Monday, April 15, 2013