Wailua River and Secret Falls

MODERATE 38 reviews

Wailua River and Secret Falls is a 6.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaa, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fishing, and sea kayaking and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
734 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

fishing

hiking

sea kayaking

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.)

2 hours 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.

hiking
1 day ago

2 days 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!!

canoeing
16 days 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.

17 days 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.

19 days 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.

hiking
21 days ago

canoeing
1 month 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.

1 month ago

canoeing
1 month 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.

2 months ago

canoeing
3 months ago

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!!

3 months ago

This is not a trail so much as a series of increasingly onerous suggestions to move through the jungle. If you can't find the "trail" cross the stream. You will lose the trail multiple times so don't get frustrated. If you stay on the right fork of the stream you will eventually get there. I would plan on 3-4 hours (I'm a pretty fast hiker). The previously hiked maps are very helpful to know which side of the stream you should be on. Wear good (water resistant) boots and bring a change of socks. I'd do it again.

3 months ago

whitewater kayaking
4 months ago

It was awesome. We kayaked to the trail and had a great time! The trail was very muddy and slippery. It was very good to have a great guide! Awesome day. We had a bring your own lunch that was kept dry and cool in a cooler backpack provided by the kayak tour company. Cannot say enough good things about our trip!!!'

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Take the Rainbow Kayaking tour and kayak to the trail. A one mile hike (fairly strenuous with river crossings!) takes you to Secret Falls where you can swim and have lunch. The kayaking is 2.5 miles each way so it is good to be in fairly decent shape but it isn't that hard. My siblings are in their 60's and did fine! So much fun!!

5 months ago

6 months ago