Wailua River and Secret Falls

MODERATE 68 reviews

Wailua River and Secret Falls is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Wailua, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, fishing, and sea kayaking and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
6.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
465 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

fishing

hiking

nature trips

paddle sports

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

A 14 mile out and back kayak on the Wailua River with a short hike to the majestic Secret Falls. Start this 7-mile paddle by renting a kayak or joining a guided float. Launch your boat, and begin you paddle upstream through thick tropical vegetation. At 1.8 miles, you have the option of docking your boat and explore the Kamokila Hawaiian Village; a traditional Hawaiian village. Continue up the Wailua river until it splits and bear to the right. Paddle through dense vegetation then beach your kayak on the right bank. Walk west on the path. In .3 mile, cross the North Fork Wailua River (use the yellow rope that runs across tributary as a stabilizer). Continue to hike northwest through the dense jungle and along a narrow embankment that is full of gnarled roots and is often muddy (bring close toe sandals.) Continue following the trail along the river bank and pass a cement tower with a water level marker. Turn left; head away from the river, and climb up a short, steep, and often muddy embankment. At the top, cross a small stream and turn right, continuing on trail. Continue until you reach Secret Falls. Enjoy time soaking at the falls then retrace your steps to you boat. Kayak down stream and return to the boat launch (down stream is often more difficult then upstream especially with afternoon trade winds.)

hiking
1 month ago

Paddling on the Wailua River was nice but I would not do it again considering the slippery and muddy trails, crossing the tributary with a rope, the crowds at the falls plus the costs of renting the kayak with a guide.

hiking
1 month ago

Out and back two mile kayak trip was nice. 1 mile out and back hike to the falls was VERY muddy (ie slippery) and not easy for a 69-year-old MS patient. You cross one fairly rapid river and two streams.. lots of rocks and tree roots. Nevertheless, it was well worth the effort. The falls were truly spectacular.

1 month ago

Mud, mud, mud. Won't be back.

2 months ago

Nice day trip but don’t go after it’s rained - way too muddy. Seen too many people and kids slip and fall. Lots of tour groups so secret falls was a bit crowded. Being able to kayak on the Wailua River was pretty awesome!

hiking
2 months ago

This was one of the best hikes we’ve been on in Kauai. We used Wailua River Kayaks and would highly recommend them. We were the first ones down the river and the paddle up was really nice.... we were also the first ones to the falls so we were able to get some really nice photos. It’s definitely worth doing first thing in the morning because the rivers gets pretty crowded.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail head only accessible by kayaking or paddle boarding there first! Best to go early morning when the river isn’t congested. It was a bit muddy so wear sandals with ankle straps or water shoes. There’s a part where you need to cross a river that can go up maybe thigh high. Use of bug spray is also recommended!

3 months ago

leave super early and experience the water looking like glass. very peaceful and quiet truly breathtaking

3 months ago

We have done this hike a few times...loved it every time. We went 2 days ago and it was very muddy and slick. Bring shoes or water socks to get wet and dirty. Beautiful scenery and falls at the end. The trail head is only accessible by kayak/paddle board.

hiking
3 months ago

The whole family had a great time kayaking and hiking the trail. "Embrace the mud" is the motto of the hike. Swimming in Secret Falls was great.

3 months ago

Save yourself some time and trouble, do more research than I did. You can’t access this trail without a kayak or paddle board. The trailhead is about 2mi up river from the indicator on this app. Only giving low rating because I don’t have a way to access the trail.

3 months ago

All the mud so be prepared that your shoes will be stepping in huge mud puddles but it made it fun and the fall is worth it when you swim at the end!

5 months ago

Did the 2 mile kayak, 1 mike hike to falls. Very cool at the falls. Wear the right shoes because it will be muddy.

hiking
5 months ago

I did this one on a SUP and it was amazing. Water shoes definitely make it easier and pretty level the whole way. The boards get slick with so many people walking on them so be careful. The falls at the end is amazing.

hiking
5 months ago

Very lovely kayak in to the trail (we were lucky and had great weather - very little wind), then a slick but fairly easy walk in to the falls. We arrived at the falls by 9:30am, so it wasn’t too busy. A few random rain showers added to the slippery trail, but that’s to be expected.

5 months ago

Easy hike after a moderate kayak paddle with great falls you can swim under at the end!

5 months ago

Incredible experience!

5 months ago

This is one of my favorites!
We went on Monday and it was quite muddy but that jus made for more adventure!
The way back it started pouring rain, it was crazy and awesome at the same time! We laughed our way back down the river.
I highly recommend this trail! When you get to that waterfall and get to swim in it... just wow!

6 months ago

We hiked it with a tour of kayaking and a hike. water was murky from the days before rain but it still was nice. the waterfall was awesome, and even though the water wasn't clear it did not ruin my experience. but after the rain fall it was extremely muddy so where the proper shoes and I suggest hiking sticks to help with your balance.

6 months ago

We started at the beginning of the river. We kayaked in 1.7 miles. That was a good work out. The hike was easy, but slippery. I wouldn't recommend little children. The water fall features a lagoon you can swim in. It's beautiful. Total hiking distance is just over 2 miles and the kayaking is around 3 miles. The trip back down the river was tough. We had the wind working against us. It was worth the work out though.

hiking
6 months ago

Pretty easy hike to the falls, but it ain't so secret anymore.

6 months ago

This trail was somewhat easy and super fun. We booked a trip with Duke's Kayaking Adventures and had a blast. We are lunch at the secret falls and swam in it. It was easy and beautiful.

8 months ago

Sweet adventure!
Tip: go on Sunday when there are no tours. Avoid cruise boat days. And if you need to go during a touristy day, do what we did and go about an hour before sunset. That way you'll see the groups all paddling back and you'll have the trail and fall to yourself.

9 months ago

What a trail! We did the kayak-in-half-way-for-shorter-trail option. It was absolutely gorgeous. The falls are breathtaking at the end, it's a great swimming hole, and there was lots of beautiful vegetation throughout. Only reason I dinged one star is that the trail was so muddy that it was borderline dangerous. Maybe not the best trail for older folks for that reason. 3 people in our group slipped and fell. Thankfully my dad was not one of them!!

paddle sports
9 months ago

We did a shortened version of this from the Hawaiian village. Kayaked a short ways to the falls trailhead. Hike to falls is quite easy with a few tricky places. After that went to the fern grotto which was pretty. A restroom is available at the fern grotto. The Hawaiian village was a really nice small attraction. Really interesting to us because most fruit trees were represented, and our daughter was able to feed tons of chickens and some gorgeous peacocks. Staff at the village were exceptionally laid back and helpful. This was one of my favorite days because you got a little bit of everything. Learned about some Hawaiian culture as well.

9 months ago

The kayak trip was fantastic! Our guide, Celeste, gave us a lot of really interesting information about the area and it's history too!
The kayak trip wasn't bad at all - about two miles up the river (which was calm and peaceful). Then we got to Secret Falls, which was absolutely beautiful! This was an amazing find, I'd definitely do it again.

9 months ago

Great kayak trip and little morning hike. Took us about 3 hours total round trip so if you rent a kayak for a half day you have plenty of time to take your time. I recommend going on the morning. Less wind and less traffic.

paddle sports
10 months ago

This is a popular excursion offered by most kayaking companies nearby. You can also choose to rent your own and self guide if you're visiting. The kayak portion can be a little exhausting. Many many thought it would be easier than it was and then really struggled. The hike is very easy and the falls isn't that big of a secret... you'll see lots of people there. Nevertheless, a beautiful place to enjoy the day.

10 months ago

paddle sports
10 months ago

We just went kayaking as the entire tourist population was hiking the trail today. No one at the swim hole so it seemed we had the river to ourselves. Great day. No wind or rain.

paddle sports
Saturday, April 22, 2017

We experienced this trail via Duke's Kayak Adventures... muddy and fun trail to Secret Falls after a quick kayak trip into the jungle. So beautiful and so much fun!!

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