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 miles out-and-back trail has three separate viewpoints and is great for all hiking abilities.
I hiked all over Kauai for over a month and documented all of my adventures. In my opinion, these are the 15 best hikes on Kauai!
Waipo’o Falls Trail Details
Hike Distance: The distance of this out and back trail is 3.6 miles
Hike Duration: The suggested duration 2 hours
Hike Difficulty: This path is relatively easy and great for kids and casual hikers. The terrain is dirt, red rock and gravel with a defined route the whole way.
Hike Incline: 330m
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-your-buck route.
The Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls Trail Hike
The Waipo’o Falls Trail is a letdown 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 as 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 to 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 like Awaawapuhi Ridge Trail. 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 short, sharp, and easy hike on Kauai. 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!
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 se. We sat on the edge of the falls for a while and took it all in while looking out over the canyon below. There’s definitely no cliff jumping here but there are many great cliff jumping spots around the island to check out.
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 upon 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 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.
Where to stay on Kauai
I’m going to recommend five places to stay on Kauai. All five of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. Two are a luxury pick, one is a family choice, the other is a value selection. For more accommodation recommendations you can check my favorites in the Kauai Where to Stay Guide.
Kauai Shores Hotel – Luxury (but value also): A luxury feels with the resort-style property, palm trees, and a beautiful pool area. However, it is less than $300 a night. The best part about this hotel is that it is right on the beach. The restaurant literally looks out to the waves, which is an awesome spot to start your day with breakfast.
Koloa Landing Resort – Luxury (high-end): I was lucky enough to spend three nights reviewing Koloa Landing Resort and honestly the place is just phenomenal. It has the LARGEST pool on all of Kauai with beautiful, natural-style landscaping throughout the pool areas.
The Grand Hyatt Resort – Best Family Resort: With the best kids’ club on the island, wildlife talks in the lobby, and a five-acre pool complex that includes an enormous lazy-river pool, a waterslide, and a saltwater lagoon big enough for kayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy.
Hilton Garden Inn – Value Pick: The Hilton Garden Inn is your number one choice if you are on a budget but still need comfort. The Hilton has a beautiful pool, has private beach access and hot tubs so you are still getting an awesome value and the resort experience.