The world travel adventures Jackson Groves, a full-time solo backpacker and digital nomad who is 25-years-old from Adelaide, Australia. Follow this blog for videos, galleries and guides to the best outdoor adventures by solo backpacking traveler Jackson Groves.
Waipo’o Falls Trail takes you through the Waimea Canyon and leads you to the epic tiered Waipo’o Falls for a refreshing dip. The 3.6 mile out and back trail has three separate viewpoints and is great for all hiking abilities.
Waipo’o Falls Trail Map
There are multiple routes to the Waipo’o Falls Trail or should I say starting points. But ultimately they all finish at Waipo’o Falls. I decided that the most scenic route would be the Waimea Canyon Trail to Waipoo Falls route. It begins in the Pu’u Hinahina parking lot. The trail is only 1.8 miles out to the Falls but takes you through a beautiful forest, leads you to two epic viewing areas of the Waimea Canyon before you arrive at Waipo’o Falls. It is the best bang for you buck route.
The Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls Trail Hike
The Waipo’o Falls Trail is a let down for some hikers who think they are hiking to have a great view of the falls. In fact, you will never see these falls head on and you are hiking to the top of the falls. The reality is you will only see the stream that becomes the waterfall. It’s a great view but not your classic waterfall hike. There is a second small waterfall you will see but it isn’t the 800ft cascading fall you see from the lookouts as you drive up Waimea Canyon Road.
However, don’t feel like this is a hike you should skip because it doesn’t have an epic waterfall view. I’ll be honest, I thought maybe it won’t be worth the effort considering the other epic hikes in Koke’e State Park. Once we finished the hike we were so stoked we had gone ahead and given it a crack. The views of Waimea Canyon are insane along this hike. The patterns, colors, and textures of the rock formations from inside the canyon are just hard to imagine until you get down this close.
The first viewpoint is a slight detour to the right, while you are still in the forest area. After about 25 minutes you will meet a fork in the right. If you take the 5- minute detour you will have your first good look at the Waimea Canyon.
The second viewpoint along the Waipo’o Falls Trail is a huge stretch of red rock, overlooking a huge drop down into the canyon. Josh ventured down the cliff onto a rock to take in what is truly one of the unique views on the island of Kauai. They call it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and this hike will show you exactly why!
The second lookout on the Waipoo Falls Trail
Waimea Canyon in all of its glory.. and Josh
Truly epic landscape!
After hanging out at the second viewpoint for a while we headed down to the falls. There are a few spots to take a dip but no large pool per say. We sat on the edge of the falls for a while and took it all in while looking out over the canyon below.
Yeww! We made it to the waterfalls!
Josh taking a natural shower
Behind the scenes
There is one final stop on the hike, which is to a small waterfall behind the main waterfall. It’s a nice little nook to perch yourself up on a rock and enjoy the sounds and smells of Kauai in tranquility. This is a busy hike due to its ease of access and short duration but you can still find plenty of areas to zen out and enjoy the moment.
The Second waterfall at Waipoo Falls Trail
The hike only takes 30-40 minutes from trailhead to Waipo’o Falls so it can be paired with another hike for your daily dose of adventures.
Awaawapuhi Trail is my favorite hike in the Koke’e State Park. It has incredible drop-offs and epic views down to the Na Pali Coast. It only takes about an hour and a half each way along the total 6.2 miles out and back journey. If you only have time for one hike on the west side of Kauai, this is your trail.
Awaawapuhi Trail Head
Awaawapuha Trail is one of the more popular hikes in the Koke’e Park and subsequently has a large, signposted parking lot. It is before the Kalalau lookout but still takes well over 30 minutes to reach from Waimea Town. The trailhead is on the left of the parking lot.
The Awaawapuhi Trail is one of the more moderate difficulty hikes in Koke’e State Park. While the end viewpoint can get quite dangerous and steep if you venture down, the majority of the trail is well defined and quite straightforward.
The trail is quite wide in most parts and even though it had been raining a lot, the trail was in good condition. Heading down the Awaawapuhi Trail might give you some false confidence about how easy the hike will be. It’s because you spend the entire time hiking down 1500ft. You will feel each and every single step of the way back up as you breathe through the humid air inside the forested path.
The trail out towards the lookout took just under an hour and a half and was in shade most of the way. There were several groups of older hikers and it seemed to be the trail that was being attempted by all types of tourists.
We arrived at the official viewpoint and were blown away by the view. The dramatic drop-offs on either side of the Awaawapuhi ridge were something you don’t see anywhere else in the world. Kauai is the oldest island in the Archipelago and these cliffs have been shaped over thousands of years. It’s mind blowing to stand at the lookout and take it all in.
Most people stop there but it is possible to venture down the ridge although this can be quite dangerous. The rocks can be very crumbly and no step is certain on the ridges out in Koke’e State Park.
The reason why I love this trail and what makes it my favorite out in the west is because of the magnitude of the dropoffs and the gorge. Because the Awaawapuhi Trail drops you so low, you feel like you are almost down in the valley looking up towards the top of the other ridges. These landscapes are what thousands of people travel to Kauai for. They are unique and they are absolutely incredible!
Awaawaupuhi Trail looking towards the Nualolo Trail
Kauai just has such a unique landscape. These ridges get me every time!
Epic views of the Na Pali coast!
Hanging out down along the Awaawapuhi Trail lookout
Honopu Ridge Trail is a 5-mile out and back hike in Koke’e State Park on Kauai. I attempted this trail once but was totally engulfed by clouds so I didn’t get to enjoy any of the views. I decided I had to go back a second time. My persistence was rewarded and we enjoyed spectacular views of the Na Pali coastline.
Honopu Ridge Trailhead
The Honopu Ridge Trailhead is just after the AwaAwapuhi Trailhead. It doesn’t have a designated parking lot but there is a spot 50 yards past the trailhead where you can park your car safely. The marker on Google Maps is accurate.
The Trailhead of the Honopu Ridge Trail
Honopu Ridge Trail
The Honopu Ridge Trail is a 5 mile out and back that leads you to a spectacular view of the Na Pali Coast. The trail takes a number of turns in the early moments of the hike but they are clearly marked by pink and orange tape. Hunting trails branch out from the Honopu Ridge Trail frequently so make sure you stick with the tape markers and stay on track.
The first part of the trail leads you under tree branches and over logs
Follow the pink and orange tape, which leads the way!
This hike is great but it can be brutal on your legs and arms. The low-lying shrubs are incredibly sharp and the trail is so narrow there is no way to avoid their constant scrape. I would highly suggest wearing pants on this hike. It isn’t going to kill you if you don’t but you will regret not heeding this advice when you return.
Enjoy the constant scrapes and cuts from these sharp bushes.
We wound through the tight, muddy trail as we weaved in, out and over fallen trees and branches. It’s an adventurous trail with lots of obstacles and slippery descents. After about 30 minutes you will get a glimpse of the ocean. If you can’t see the ocean, you may be inside a cloud, which is unfortunate for you but it may clear up as you continue down.
Almost to the first lookout!
On numerous occasions throughout the Honopu Ridge Trail, you will find yourself wondering if you are indeed still on the trail. It is quite undefined in many sections but as long as you are still following the tape (which is also yellow at times) keep on pushing through.
The first time I hiked the Honopu Ridge Trail, I arrived at the first lookout and the narrow ridge section while in the middle of a cloud. Everything was white. The second time the view was insane! The first lookout has you facing straight towards the classic Na Pali ridges and a huge waterfall in the Honopu Valley. We spent an hour chilling here taking it all in. We didn’t know how long it would be before the clouds rolled in and ruined the view.
Inside a huge cloud! How small is Josh!?
Even though we couldn’t see any views we kept pushing on in hope!
I think we spent over an hour at this viewpoint, which wasn’t even the end of the trail!
staring at ridges: my new hobby
Do we have to hike back?
Keeping entertained while we wait for the cloud to leave!
They did engulf us a few times but always cleared on this day. After a long rest, we continued on down the trail, which became increasingly dense and harder to navigate. The second lookout peers down onto the AwaAwapuhi Trail and even as far as the Nualolo Trail. We watched whales breaching below as the tour boats cruised up and down the coast. It took us almost 2 hours to make it out to this viewpoint, not including our 1-hour rest but it was well worth it!
small man, big mountain
trekking to the end of the trail after a long rest
The Nualolo Cliff Trail on Kauai takes you from 3800ft to 2200ft, but rewards you with epic views of Nualolo Valley and the Na Pali Coast. The 3.8-mile track is a half-day adventure in the Koke’e State Park.
Nualolo Cliff Trail Map
The Nualolo Cliff Trail has it’s own parking lot but you can also park in the Koke’e Campground parking lot. In this parking lot, you will find the coffee shop, toilets, water fountain, and information center. The Nualolo Cliff Trailhead is about 100 yards before the Koke’e Campground turn-off.
Nualolo Cliff Trail
The Nualolo Cliff Trail is a 3.8 mile out and back trail. The terrain is very muddy at times and winds you through a dense forest. It is a hike for experienced trekkers and there were many slips from members of our hiking crew.
The trail is very well defined and easy to follow all the way through except for one moment at about the 1.5-mile mark. At this point in time, you have a trail going down the hill to the right and one going up the hill to the left. The trail going up the hill to the left is the correct way to continue to the lookout. The way to the left is where the Nualolo Cliff Trail links with the AwaAwapuhi Trail. It is possible to be both of these trails in one trek but will add on over 5 miles to your total trip, which is already 3.8 miles.
The trail is similar to the AwaAwapuhi trail, which was downhill for almost the entire journey, making it a relaxing but brisk walk along the red sand path. The jungle became dense in parts but never impeded the path, only making for beautiful scenery as we made our way towards the coast.
The jungle path on the Nualolo Cliff Trail
We crossed paths with some local hunters who had their dogs with them. We shuffled past their group who had a big boar tied at the legs, their kills of the day!
After about 40 minutes of hiking, we broke out of the forest and got a glimpse of the ocean. We were excited to not be engulfed by a cloud as happens often in Koke’e State Park along the ridge trails.
Josh sliding his way down the trail as we look at our first glimpse of the ocean
The Nualolo Cliff Trail delivered its first ridge view and we were blown away as with all the hikes out in the west. The grand scale of the cliffs is something you can never really get used to.
The official lookout of the Nualolo Cliff Trail
We made it!
We reached what appears to be the official viewpoint and the watch said we had completed the 1.9 miles out. However, the trail seemed to continue so we did also and the views only got better and better! The trail to the second lookout led us through some thick grass and down some steep descents but nothing too crazy! The second lookout was a little plateau where we hung out and rested before turning back.
Pema and the crew walking past some amazing formations on the trail
The trail became quite thick in between lookout 1 and lookout 2
Small Josh and the big Na Pali coast
Kevin and Nic leaping and bounding down the trail towards lookout 2
Lookout 2 we have arrived
We ended up having an awesome look straight down the Na Pali coast and had the chance to inspect the other ridges as they were covered in clouds. I’m glad we chose Nualolo on this day as it is a little lower and helped us avoid the cloud cover that could have potentially ruined our views of the coast.
Josh doing his best model as we look down the Na Pali coast
Moody afternoon as Pema watches the clouds roll in.
Obligatory foot shot!
Mates and a view
The hike back is a little tougher than coming in as it is all uphill but it’s only 1.9 miles back to complete the 3.8-mile journey.
Life on the road seems like a blast and it is. I often have to stop and think what a normal life used to feel like. It’s been almost two years of continuous backpacking and that type of nonstop freedom has a certain effect on you. It blurs your outlook on life. You kind of experience your days differently. There is no lingering end date waiting to ruin your vacation. There is just the next destination.
However, there are of course the less attractive side effects of a life of adventure, traveling from country to country. The area of my life that takes the biggest hit is relationships. Skype and messaging just don’t come close to substituting for chill sessions, banter in the car and the feeling when your mate has your back.
This past week I’ve been lucky enough to share the adventure with my mates who visited from all over the world. Time with friends these days is much more important to me because just like how the end date hangs over the heads of most tourists on vacation, the end date of my time with friends is always limited. I’ve just finished dropping most of them off at the airport and while my adventure continues the dynamic changes.
Nic Morley is a name some of you may remember. He was selected as the videographer for my Nusa Islands Blogger Workshop in March. However, he joined me for a day in Bondi, Australia and then we managed to link up for a full week on Kauai and has fast become a good mate. He created some awesome clips this week while we adventured and I’ve shared them below. The first one is Josh and I working out in Hanelei, which Nic managed to make look far more epic than it was! Definitely, subscribe to Nic’s channel as he will be creating some more epic videos for my Nusa Islands Blogger Workshop in March!
WORKING OUT while Travelling - YouTube
The second clip is a compilation of our adventures running the ridges out on the west side of the island.
Ridge Running in Kauai - YouTube
This week was intense. The hikes out in Koke’e State Parke continued and the Na Pali coastline continued to excite us. I’ve now completed over 12 hikes while I’ve been on the island of Kauai and have done several of them multiple times. The views of the Na Pali coast are second to none. It is a place that makes you feel incredibly small in the best way possible.
Sometimes I forget what actually happened in the last week because it’s just too damn crazy. I went on a helicopter tour of the island and a Zodiac boat tour of the Na Pali coast. What the hell! I’m attached some of my favorite photos and candids from the last seven days below.
Josh is going to hang out here for a few more days before we both head back to Oahu for a day and then I’ll head out to Indonesia for my Blogger Workshop on the Nusa Islands.
Hope you all had a good great week. See you in seven days.
Makaleha Falls Hike is the jungle waterfall adventure, which will leave you covered in mud but not with no regrets. The 2.6 mile out and back trail follows a stream the entirety of the hike with a reward of multiple epic waterfalls at the end. This hike is a great fit for those capable of bouldering, weaving in and out of roots and vines and dealing with slippery mud and mossy rocks.
Makaleha Falls Hike Trailhead Map
At the trailhead, there is a parking lot next to a giant water tank. A road then leads you towards the mountains and eventually the trail.
Makaleha Falls Hike
Makaleha Falls Hike on Kauai takes about two hours round trip if you don’t stop for photos or spend too long at the falls. Otherwise, allow for three hours if you want to enjoy the falls at the destination.
The hike begins along the Makaleha Stream and follows it the whole way up to the falls. I lost count of the river crossings and many of them left no option other than to wade through the water. I managed to keep one shoe dry!
The trail isn’t necessarily well defined throughout but as long as you follow the stream and stick close to the water’s edge you will find you the way to the falls. The trail is worn enough so that if it gets too thick you have probably gone off the track.
The bamboo forest
The first river crossing
The trail was incredibly diverse and the trees, flowers, plants, and roots captivated me throughout the trail.
Tangled on the trail
The Makaleha Falls Trail finally ‘ended’ with views of multiple falls gushing down the side of the mountain. However, this isn’t the ‘real’ end of the trail.
A wall of falls
Continue on along the stream and you will arrive at the two-tiered falls. This spot was nestled in a narrow canyon and the water was beyond freezing! It’s a handy little area for cliff-jumping but definitely check the water for debris or rocks first!
Hanakapiai Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai. It leads you to the first part of the Kalalau towards Hanakpiai Beach before heading inwards along the Hankapiai Stream towards the booming 300ft+ Hankapiai Waterfall in the depths of the jungle. The Hanakpiai Falls Trail is 4 miles in and 4 miles out. However, many hikers stop at the beach and turn back, opting to hike only to the beach and not the falls. This makes the journey only 2 miles in and 2 miles out.
Hanakapiai Falls Trail map
The Hankapiai Falls Trailhead is the same as the Kalalau Trailhead. At the ‘end of the road’, which is as far as you can possibly drive north on Kauai is Ke’e Beach. This is the starting point for the trail. There are toilets, drinking fountains, changing rooms and parking lots. It can be hard to find a park so be prepared to walk a distance from your park to the trailhead.
Ke’e Beach at the end of the road. This is where the trail begins.
The trail head is heavily signposted and begins right next to the lifeguard tower. Following the trail is simple and there are no hidden turns or opportunities to get lost. Once you reach Hanakapiai Beach after 2 miles you are halfway into the hike. You then simply follow the path inland on the right hand side of the Hanakapiai Stream. This path is less defined but still very easy to follow. You will need to cross the stream a few times before you reach the amphitheater, where you will find Hanakapiai Waterfall crashing into the pool below.
Hanakapiai Falls Trail
The trail begins with an incline and it never really lets you relax from that point onwards. Slippery mud, boulders and tree roots are just a few of the obstacles you will encounter on the winding path that switches back and forth as it leads you along the Na Pali coast. The Hanakapiai Falls Trail isn’t a stroll in the park.
Roots, boulders and mud are obstacles you will encounter on the trail
Josh hanging out during the early stages of the Hanakapiai Falls Trail
My favorite part of the stretch from Ke’e Beach to Hankapiai Beach is the red rock path and how it contrasts dramatically with the striking blue of the Pacific Ocean far below. When you add the vivid greens from the jungle and the deep sky blue into this scene you have vibrant palette painting an incredible scene replicated in few places around the world.
Red sand, green jungle and blue ocean.
Once we reached Hanakpiai Beach, we took a seat on a boulder and watched the crazy mess out in the ocean. Signs are plastered all over this beach about not swimming. It seriously looks like a disaster waiting to happen so I’d definitely cool off your feet in the shallows or the stream but this isn’t a beach you want to go swim in if the waves are coming in.
Be very careful at the dangerous Hanakapiai Beach
Hanakapiai Beach from inside the small caves
Refreshing break over, we began the next 2-mile segment of the Hanakpiai Falls Trail along the Hankapiai Stream. This section of the trail gets significantly muddier and leads you through amazing bamboo forests and back and forth across the stream. It also got a lot colder as we ventured further and further inland. You may want to bring a waterproof jacket. I used the waterproof cover on my backpack to protect my gear from the light rain and mist that hit as we neared the waterfall.
The bamboo forest on the way to Hanakpiai Falls
We had been making slow progress. Our group was taking a lot of photographs and long breaks but we reached the Hanakapiai Waterfall after three hours. You could probably reach the falls in under two hours quite easily if you went straight through without stopping.
A much-deserved ice bath
Josh exploring the Hanakapiai Stream
Finally, we had arrived at the waterfall. It is a 300ft booming shower that seems to fall out of the sky into the emerald pool below. The water was freezing but most of us jumped in for a dip. I explored a small ledge to the left of the ledge, where I was able to snap some photos with an awesome perspective of the amphitheater. This is my a truly magical spot and one of the best waterfalls on Kauai.
Hanakpiai Falls in all of its glory!
We made it!
The hike back was a bit of a mission especially as we climbed back up the steep red rock in the latter parts of the trail. We arrived back to Ke’e Beach after almost 6 hours of adventures. This is one of my favorite memories from my trip on Kauai and highly recommend this hike for anyone visiting, especially if you are not hiking the Kalalau Trail. The Hanakapiai Falls Trail will give you a good taste of the Na Pali coast without the full-blown experience of the Kalalau Trail.
The Okolehao Trail is on the north shore of Kauai near the town of Hanalei. It’s a 5-mile hike that I’ll never forget. That’s because it isn’t signposted very well and I ended up hiking much, much farther than the end of the trail. This article will tell you what to expect and how to enjoy the regular trail or to tackle the longer experience, which I ended up having a blast while attempting.
Okolehao Trail Location
The Okolehau trailhead is quite easy to find. As you drive up towards the iconic one-way bridge from Hanalei to Princeville, turn right just before the bridge. It will lead you through some spectacular taro fields along a peaceful road. Follow this road for a few minutes until you find a parking lot on your left. The Okelahau trailhead is sign-posted on the right-hand side of the road. A small footbridge bears the sign ‘Okolehao Trail’.
The Okolehao trail is one of the north shore hiking trails on Kauai and is just around the corner from Hanalei. Unless you hike along the Kalalau Trail or to Hanakapiai Falls, this is probably the best hike you can do on the Kauai north shore.
The Okolehao trail is an out and back trail so you hike 2.5 miles in and then return down the same track 2.5 miles back. However, the mile markers seem to end after mile 1.75. This led to some confusion. I ended up hiking all the way up Hihimanu Ridge to Twin Peaks. I will first detail the Okolehau Trail as it is normally trekked and then discuss the extra distance to Twin Peaks.
The trail begins across a short footbridge near the parking lot. Mud seemed to be everywhere on this trail although it had just rained, which is common on Kauai. The first 30 minutes of the Okolehau Trail was incredibly slippery. It was almost comical as we tried to make our way up the hike without falling over. Spikes could be handy in this first section.
After the initial incline, the trail becomes less slick but still muddy. For the majority of the hike, you are walking through the forest and get some nice shade, although the humidity was very high.
The first viewpoint you will come to is underneath the power lines. After about 30-40 minutes of hiking, this small lookout will give you your first look over Hanalei Bay.
The first viewpoint beneath the powerlines has views over Hanalei Bay
Another 20 minutes of hiking and you will reach the final viewpoint, which has a bench and a clear view over Hanalei Bay. We thought this may be the end but there were no markers so we enjoyed the view for a while and chatted with other hikers. Many of them returned from further along the trail saying it was too muddy and that you had to start using ropes to descend. If you are up for a nice hike with views over Hanalei, I suggest hiking to this bench, enjoying the view and then heading back down.
Nico, Madison and I at the bench lookout!
We decided to continue on and ended up finding this epic tree, which took up another hour of our time because how can you resist climbing a tree this good.
How can you resist a tree like this?
From here we continued hiking along the Okolehao trail. There were still no mile-markers and we began to question how far we had come. Rope descents became far more frequent as the trail turned into more of an adventure than it had been for the first hour. We reached another beautiful viewpoint on a bend and my two friends decided that they didn’t want to keep hiking onwards if we didn’t know we were heading exactly. Preparation is key and we definitely didn’t prepare well for a hike this long. I thought it was going to be a little out and back hike so I just brought a small water bottle and no food. It had now been four hours on the trail. My friends decided to head back but I wanted to continue and see where the trail left. So, without food or water, I continued up the trail.
Descending via ropes along the Okolehao trail
Over 50 rope sections can be found on the Okolehao trail
A third viewpoint after the bench viewpoint. Views over Hanalei Bay
I was now hiking along Hihimanu Trail up towards Twin Peaks, although I didn’t know that yet. The trail became quite tough. I climbed through trees, vines and used ropes more often than not to haul myself up the very steep trail.
With no friends left to take photos of, I resort to some POV angles to show you the steep descent.
Thirsty and hungry I reached the top of the first peak, while I looked out towards peak 2. With a spot of service at the top of the trail my local friend messaged me saying hiking to peak 2 was pretty dangerous and I couldn’t even see a trail. I decided peak 1 would be my end point for today.
Peak 1 and 2
Tibetan prayer flags hang atop the peak, which looks down into Hanalei valley and Hanalei river on one side while epic ridges stretch out over the other side. Helicopters on tours zip below you as do the rolling clouds, often leaving you with a white blanket to stare at. I stayed at the top for over an hour, enjoying the breaks in the clouds to take in the view.
Tibetan prayer flags at the top of Peak 1
The journey down was arduous, as I dreamed of water and a bite to eat. At full throttle on the way down from Peak 1 to the entrance, it took me only 2 hours. Therefore, if done at a quick pace the entire hike from Okolehao trail to Peak 1 would take about 5 hours round trip.
Time to hit the ropes on the trek back down
I hope this blog helps you decide whether you finish up on the bench or push on and tackle Hihimanu Ridge. Let me know your experience in the comments.
Opaekaa Falls is one of the most popular spots for tourists to visit when they come to Kauai. However, most tourists just stop in the parking lot and watch the falls from a distance. It’s possible to trek down to the bottom and swim in the pool below the falls along a trail, although it is a very steep trail with a high level of difficulty. I set out on an Opaekaa Falls hike mission in the middle of the day.
Opaeakaa Falls Hike Directions
We parked in the main parking lot and began walking along the road towards the falls. Following the road, we kept walking until a green fence began. We stepped over the railing of the road and walked behind this green fence. It is a little steep and slippery but stays right next to the fence. Follow it for about fifty yards ducking under tree branches until you can see more a defined trail down the hill. By this stage, you would be level with the falls and you are actually going to hike down the hill to the top of the falls.
This hike is quite difficult, has steep and dangerous drop-offs and was very, very slippery. I would recommend it for experienced hikers only. The Sleeping Giant Hike is an easier alternative, which is also nearby.
Opaekaa Falls Map
Opaekaa Falls Hike
The trail from the road down to the top of the falls is very steep and it’s hard to find any good footing. We bounced from tree to tree and both slipped multiple times onto our backs. Don’t take this part of the trail lightly.
Once you reach the bottom of the hill you will come to a stream. Follow the stream to the right and you will find the top of Opaekaa Falls. We hung out here for a while, peering over the edge of this powerful waterfall.
The view from the top
The top if Opaekaa Falls Hike
After enjoying the top of the falls we backtracked about 20 yards up the stream and then crossed the river. We were now on the opposite side of the river than when we had begun the Opaekaa Falls Hike.
There are several lightly trafficked trails from this point onwards. They all lead to the same place, so follow the one that you think is going to be the safest. At several points during this section of the hike, there is a rope to help you find your way safely down the hill. Once again, it is very slippery and not a section to take lightly.
The entire hike to the bottom of the falls took about 30-minutes if you didn’t stop. At the bottom of the falls, we enjoyed a peaceful rest as we took in the natural beauty of Opaeka Falls. It looks as if you can hike out down the stream, maybe all the way to the beach. We will save that adventure for another day.
Our first glimpse of Opaekaa Falls from the bottom pool
This hike is signposted as hazardous after two fatalities many years ago. Be careful, know your limits and as always pack out your trash. Leave this beautiful place better than when you found it.
My third week on Kauai was highlighted by a three-night stay at Koloa Landing Resort. I also linked up with some other photographers on the island and went on some more epic hikes. One of the hikes led me to a towering waterfall in the middle of the jungle and the other led me to the world famous Na Pali coastline. This week was all about adventuring hard and enjoying the home base of Koloa Landing Resort.
Right on the beach in Poipu, the huge resort is centered around an amazing lagoon style pool that winds all the way from the bottom to the top of the property. This was by far my favorite part of the resort. Each night we hung out in the pools and hot tubs as the sun set over the ocean at the front of the property.
The room I stayed in was a huge suite with multiple bedrooms, a living a room, kitchen and four showers! The small things are what makes the stay memorable and for me, it was hanging out in the gym in the mornings with my mate Josh Lynott and wandering around the suite checking out all the local photographs hanging on the walls with my mate Mike. The more I shoot, I find myself drawn to local galleries of work by the photographers who live in the place. They are the ones who know all of the great locations and angles. They also get to re-visit locations, waiting for that perfect sunrise where all the elements line up. So it’s great to go into a local gallery and see what the local guns are producing!
These are some the shots Josh and I snapped of Koloa Landing Resort during our stay.
There were two adventures that stood out for me in the last week. The first was the 8-mile round trip hike along the coast to Hanakapiai Falls. It takes 2 miles to trek to Hanakapiai beach and then another two inland to the falls. It is definitely worth the effort. The falls pour down into an amphitheatre in the middle of the jungle. They are my favorite falls on Kauai so far after three weeks on the island!
The hike along the coast winds you along red rock paths and muddy trails, all the while looking down on the cerulean blue water. It’s one of the most popular adventures among tourists on Kauai and you can see why.
The second adventure that has to be shared with you guys from this week is the 6.4 mile Awa’Awapuhi Trail. In Koke’e Park this trail drops your 1500ft down a ridge, eventually leading you to a lookout that may be one of the most epic spots in the world. Ridges you wouldn’t see anywhere else, drop straight down in dramatic fashion. Hikes like this are the main part of why I came to Kauai so I am so stoked and thankful the weather turned up for me and I could experience this beautiful, unique landscape with my own eyes.
I hope you all had a rad week. If there is anything you want to know or questions you have for me shoot me a dm on Instagram @jackson.groves or an email to email@example.com