Experience the Majestic Beauty of Wailua Falls: A Hawaiian Natural Wonder (updated 2023)

Located on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, Wailua Falls is a mesmerizing natural attraction that leaves visitors in awe. With its impressive double-tiered waterfall plunging into a picturesque pool below, Wailua Falls showcases the beauty and power of nature. Surrounded by lush greenery and a tranquil ambiance, this iconic landmark offers a memorable experience for those seeking to witness the grandeur of Hawaii’s natural wonders.

I consider this Kauai’s most scenic waterfalls and Wailua falls is fantastic to visit and capture in pictures with little effort then just driving to the parking lot and seeing it from the observation platform.

Visiting Wailua Falls just outside of Lihue is one of the first things you should try doing when you visit the island.

Visiting Wailua Falls
A must visit to scenic Wailua Falls and Kauai’s east side attractions.

History of Wailua Falls

Wailua falls has cultural significance to the Hawaii people. In ancient times, the royalty or ali’I would actually come and jump the cliffs as a right of passage and manhood. Nowadays, It is not allowed to do this feat and just left for historical note on what was done in the area.

Best time for visiting Wailua Falls

Best time for visiting Wailua Falls

Early morning in order to miss the crowds and avoid most of the noise and busy parking lot, there’s something to be said about enjoying a place in solitude away from the masses even at a popular attraction. The impressive falls are over 173 in height and drops down into a lush vegetation underneath with a deep pool that you can sometimes see some fantastic rainbows to capture. This is an easy to get to waterfalls viewing direct from the parking lot to the view areas with no hiking required.

Some try the challenging hike to the bottom which is dangerous and extremely slippery even though the trail is officially closed and illegal

Driving Directions: 

The drive inland from Lihue is only four miles and past scenic sugarcane fields and beautiful mountain views. Look for all the wonderful rainbows you may find over the falls or around the basin where water sprays can create this effect.

Turn on Maalo Rd. (Hwy. 583) between Wilcox Hospital and Hanama`ulu on Hwy 56.

What else to see around Wailua Falls area

What else to see around Wailua Falls area?

From Wailua Falls you can do a variety of nature inspired activities, outdoor adventures or even do a nice road trip in the area. Here are some easy to do suggestions of visiting afterwards.

Do some kayaking on the Wailua river – Go kayaking on the river and rent sup or kayaks by the hour

Visit Lydgate State Park – a fantastic kid friendly beach with ponds that are fun to snorkel in.

Enjoy some beach time at Wailua Beach – a great spot for a nice picnic and watching surfers.

Do the Wailua Heritage Trail – A series of historic and ancient sites that you can drive through and enjoy

Explore Wailua River State Park – a park that you can kayak through and visit the fern grotto, The Wailua Complex of Heiau and ‘Opaeka‘a Falls

Do the Secret falls hike to Uluwehi falls – a fun kayak and hike that’s about 6.1 miles roundtrip including the short hike to the waterfalls.

If you visiting the areas around Lihue, check out my post on the top things to do in Lihue here for more cool attractions, cultural sites and fun things to explore along the way.

Enjoy beach fun at Lydgate State Park area
Enjoy beach fun at Lydgate State Park area

Explore uluwehi waterfalls at Wailua State park
Explore Uluwehi waterfalls at Wailua State park

More inside tips to visiting Wailua Falls and surrounding area

When visiting Wailua Falls and the surrounding area, here are some inside tips to enhance your experience:

  1. Timing: To witness Wailua Falls at its most breathtaking, plan your visit in the morning or early afternoon when the sunlight illuminates the cascades. The falls can become less visible during rainy or overcast days, so checking the weather forecast beforehand can help ensure optimal viewing conditions.
  2. Parking: Limited parking is available near Wailua Falls, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot. Alternatively, you can park along Maalo Road and take a short walk to the viewing area.
  3. Photography: Capture stunning photos of Wailua Falls by bringing a wide-angle lens to encompass the entirety of the falls in a single frame. Experiment with different angles and compositions to showcase the grandeur of the waterfall against the surrounding lush vegetation.
  4. Safety precautions: While it may be tempting to venture closer to the falls for a better view, it’s important to prioritize safety. The rocks near the falls can be slippery, so exercise caution and refrain from climbing or swimming in the pool below. Observe any posted signs or warnings to ensure your visit remains safe and enjoyable.
  5. Exploring the area: After admiring Wailua Falls, consider exploring the nearby attractions. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the Wailua River, where you can embark on a scenic kayak or boat tour to witness more natural beauty, such as the Fern Grotto and Secret Falls. Additionally, the town of Kapaa offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and stunning beaches worth exploring.
  6. Local insights: Engage with locals or tour guides to learn more about the legends and history associated with Wailua Falls. They can provide fascinating stories and insights into the cultural significance of the area.

Birthing stones of the alii at Wailua heritage trail
Birthing stones of the alii at Wailua Heritage trail

Where to stay around East Kauai

If you are exploring the area, you can easily base yourself around the Wailua area or even around Lihue to get to many of these attractions.

Check out places to stay around Wailua area here for more details, availability and prices.

Check out places to stay around Kapaa area here for more details, availability and prices.

Check out places to stay around Lihue area here for more details, availability and prices.

If you are looking for the best rated places to stay around East side Kauai, check out these places here for updated information and current prices.

Check out these other topics on visiting Kauai now

Visit Kauai’s best beaches

Top things to do in Lihue

Explore the north shore and Hanalei area

Best Hikes on Kauai

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Visit Wailua falls and east side kauai now

Have you been to Wailua Falls?

Have you been to Wailua Falls?

Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your recommendations.

Conclusion to visiting Wailua Falls

Indulge in the mesmerizing beauty of Wailua Falls and its enchanting surroundings. From the awe-inspiring cascades to the nearby attractions, every moment spent here is a true delight. Immerse yourself in the natural splendor of this Hawaiian gem and create memories that will stay with you forever. Discover the hidden secrets of Wailua Falls as you embark on an unforgettable journey to this captivating destination, where nature’s grandeur takes center stage. Let the enchantment of Wailua Falls capture your heart and leave you in awe of Hawaii’s breathtaking landscapes.

Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on Visiting Wailua Falls. I hope you are inspired to plan a visit and enjoy these wonderful attractions. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.