Makaleha Hike

HARD 38 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, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
2.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
436 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

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.

hiking
7 days ago

Amazing ending to this climactic adventure that has a surprise around every twist and turn, duck and weave, and trust me there are a lot of them. It is definitely not for the faint of heart but the whole way is beautiful lush and green. This is for those that want an adventure but know your body and know your limits and when to turn around because you may not be able to follow this trail. Coming from someone who has experienced it, my group got lost for about thirty minutes until we found two other hikers that had already found their way and they put us on the right track. In all though I would say the journey and destination are worth all the mud, rock climbing, river crossings, and getting lost. Love, love, loved this hike it checked all my boxes for a great hike.

rock climbing
7 days ago

So we went on the trail and let me tell you the advice of the others about is not for the faint of heart. You really need good water shoes and good navigation skills because the trail markings are actual pieces of clothes like a hat and tee shirts but you also have to have enough sense to know when to say wth let’s just get in the river for crossing it. That is another point, just stay near the river. You will thank me later. Be ready to climb slide and get so dirty you want to jump in the water at the end. But this hike is so worth it at the end. It is a beautiful sight and very secluded. One of the best things to do on the island. Just be ready and be aware of your body! Good luck and happy trails.

2 months ago

Very hard. I lost the trail several times and never got to the waterfall. Trail is not marked. Very difficult to see where to cross stream. And very difficult to pick it back up once you cross. It is VERY HARD. Prepare to fall on your butt at least once. Rocks are very slippery, trail is very overgrown. BRING WATER!!!

2 months ago

It’s dangerous. Lots of climbing over and under things. Crossing the river several times...yer going to get wet. Totally worth it.

2 months ago

This trail is full of surprises and is not for your typical hikers. We started our hike on a cloudy day where it had rained the night before. The trail was muddy, wet and slippery. The maps on all trails show loops where those who plotted the trial circled to find the route.

I would not attempt this trail with flip flops or any type of sandals. If you have sturdy water shoes (think of fly fishing boots) they would be best. If not just plan on walking in the water several times with your shoes on.

Anyone hiking this trail should be nimble and agile on their feet. You will sometimes be climbing over trees, and sometimes choosing to climb from tree to tree instead of trying to scurry under them. On our return it started to downpour rain. The water in the stream definitely rose quickly... not flash flood like but definitely noticeable in making our final crossing sketchy. Be aware of the water levels if it is raining or cloudy above.

This definitely is as marked: for advanced and experienced hikers.

Once you reach the point where you can see the water falls you will appreciate the hike.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail is breath taking! Wear long pants & long shirt. Lots of bugs and bush. Follow trail even into the stream. Sadly I was not experienced enough to finish, since it it pretty extreme, I did get to see one waterfall & it was amazing. Be safe!!

5 months ago

No signage or trail markings whatsoever. Trail is a single track meandering up a river valley, crossing the river a number of times. rocks very slippery and hard to navigate. Trail probably too dangerous if the river is higher. Pretty sights near the end, but not worth the effort compared to others on the island. GPS track very helpful to find trail on the way back. Wear water shoes, you will get wet.

5 months ago

Absolutely beautiful and I will remember this hike as one of my lifetime favorites. The trail was difficult to navigate and there were quite a few forks in the road, but it was doable. It wasn't necessarily tiring, but an athletic body is helpful in order to squeeze under and over tree branches. The hike is definitely muddy. I were regular running shoes, though hiking shoes with good grip would have been welcome! I had the falls all to myself and it was well worth the trek!

7 months ago

Nice little jungle adventure

8 months ago

pretty awesome hike but hard. hard to keep a track of where the trail is at.at 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.

hiking
8 months 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.

8 months 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.

hiking
9 months 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.

hiking
9 months 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!

hiking
10 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.

hiking
11 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.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rough going but worth the trouble!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

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.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

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.

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.

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