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Experience the Majesty of Opaekaa Falls in Kauai


Image Source: (Wikipedia) Author: (Bret Robertson from Fullerton, United States)

For a glimpse of true paradise, you must witness the majesty that is Opaekaa Falls on the island of Kauai. It’s got many good things going for it, aside from the fact that it’s beautiful. Opaekaa also happens to be extremely accessible by young and old. Head to the East Side, go a couple miles up Kuamoo Road (Route 580) from Highway 56, and look for the signs. There’s a roadside lookout on the right-hand side so don’t forget your camera.

Located in Wailua

The land of the kings, Opeakaa Falls comprises the north branch of the Wailua River, spilling more than 150 feet below. Measuring 40 feet wide, you can check out the ample beauty of the falls by the roadside. There’s plenty of parking with a small sidewalk available there for safe viewing. This lookout should not be confused with a now-closed trail that has seen the death of at least two hikers in recent history. For safety reasons, it’s best to stick to the lookout only.

Translating to “rolling shrimp” in Hawaiian due to the abundant shrimp that used to frolic in the stream, Opaekaa is a dual waterfall jutting out over mossy cliffs. It empties into the Wailua River, which is a reason in and of itself to visit this area. Characterized by lush rainforest and serene waterfalls, the Wailua River is a popular spot to navigate in Kauai. Weaving through a virtual jungle, this river spans 20 miles past seven ancient temples, called heiau in Hawaiian. It stems from the 5,148-foot Mount Waialeale in the middle of Kauai, featuring two main waterfalls, of which Opaekaa Falls is one and Wailua Falls is the other.

For a fun side trip, explore the river by outrigger canoe, kayak or boat. For extra fun, try an open-air boat that takes you by the Fern Grotto, which is a cave made from lava and dripping with green ferns. In the distance, you’ll see the Nounou Mountains sprouting from a rocky ridge nestled between Wailua and Kapaa. Nounou roughly translates to Sleeping Giant, so named because it resembles a person on his back. If you check out the additional lookout over the Wailua River Valley, you’ll see the spot where movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park and Outbreak were filmed. Off in the distance, Kamokila Hawaiian Village is also visible.

The best time of day to see Opaekaa Falls

Is during full sunlight, usually in the late morning. If you go when it’s cloudy or foggy, try to get back there on your visit later in the week. It’s worth it to have a clear view of the falls, which flow year round.

Oahu also has some beautiful waterfalls, such as Waimea Falls and Manoa Falls. Come see our beautiful island too while on your trip and book a tour from Hoku Hawaii Tours for an unforgettable experience.