The Hanakapiai Falls (or Hanakapi’ai Falls) is about two miles inland on the island of Kauai, at the head of the Hanakapi’ai Valley. The waterfall is formed by the Hanakapiai Stream plunging over the steep cliffs of the Na Pali coast.
While only about 125m of the falls can be seen, the total height of Hanakapiai Falls has been estimated at just under 500m.
There are a few small cascades along the Hanakapiai Stream as it continues its descent to the coast.
Swimming at Hanakapiai Falls
As well as admiring the falls from the bottom, at the base of the waterfall is an attractive and large pool, which is a popular spot for a swim despite the long walk to get there. Access to the watre is rocky, but it’s easy to get in and out.
Although fairly hard to reach, it’s a spectacular waterfall that was rated as number four in a Fox New article listing the “World’s most amazing waterfalls” (albeit, it’s a slightly US-centric list!).
The waterfall was supposely named after a Menehune princess (the Menehune being a mythological dwarf people in Hawaiian tradition, who were the first humans to have settled the Hawaiian Islands from the Marquesas Islands).
Getting to Hanakapiai Falls
The waterfall is located along the famous Kalalau Trail, which starts from the end of the Kuhio Highway near Ke’e Beach. It’s at the north of Kauai island, 37 miles (60km) from Lihue airport. Once on the hiking trail, it’s about two miles to Hanakapiai Beach, and then another two miles to the falls (so eight miles or 13km in total, long a fairly challenging trail).