Ho’oip’i Falls Trail on Kauai is a short but action-packed hike taking you to two waterfalls. The first falls are a great spot for cliff jumping or a refreshing dip. The second falls is one you may recognize from the film Jurassic Park. The trail is very muddy at times but leads you through some unbelievable scenes as vines and ferns are strewn throughout huge trees on either side of the Ho’opi’i Falls trail.
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.
Ho’opi’i Falls Hike Details
- Hike Distance: The distance of this out and back trail is 2.4 miles
- Hike Duration: The suggested duration is 1-2 hours
- Hike Difficulty: Depending on the current condition of the trail it can be slippery, especially after heavy rain but is relatively easy.
- Hike Incline: 75m
Ho’opi’i Falls Trail Directions
To find the Ho’opi’i Falls trail entrance I have included the directions below. There is ample street parking at the trailhead.
Ho’opi’i Falls Trail
The 2-mile out and back trail begins on a wide dirt path, which can become quite muddy after a big rain. Branches that look like tree roots that would normally grow underground seem to form tunnels throughout the trail on this early part of the journey to the first falls. After 10 minutes the trail begins to follow the stream, which flows beneath a canopy of trees, with ferns draped throughout the canopy. Ho’opi’i Falls Trail feels like a movie scene and has a great natural feel despite being on the best easy hikes on Kauai.
After about 20 minutes you will reach the first falls. The pool is quite narrow but deep enough to jump into. However, it is only deep enough in certain parts. The water is dark so you must jump with a local who knows where the rocks are hiding beneath the surface or do a thorough check. If you jump in without checking you could land on one of the big builders just feet below the surface. This is one of many epic cliff jump spots on Kauai.
There was also a small pool that water cascades into and then into the main pool. It looks like a natural hot tub, except it wasn’t hot. In fact, the water was freezing compared to the warm Pacific Ocean at the beaches of Hawaii. We stayed at this spot cliff jumping and hanging out for about thirty minutes before we continued on the trail towards the main falls.
What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
The trail became increasingly slippery and there were a few slips on short inclines and declines as the trail became less worn. The last moments before reaching the second falls were my favorite. Huge trees surround you. Their trunks are draped in ferns and sunlight catches the small leaves floating through the air between the thick foliage. It’s an epic scene not to be hurried through.
The trail continues on straight but there is a clear trail heading down the hill to the left. It is well worn and hard to miss. This will lead you to the second falls. It is quite slippery but tree roots and branches will help assist your journey down the hill. At the bottom of the hill is a huge pool, which doesn’t get incredibly deep but definitely deep enough to have a refreshing swim. A rope swing looks fun but beware of the rocks beneath and enjoy that one with care.
The main falls are in a famous location. It is the scene of Amber Mine from Jurassic Park. It doesn’t look quite the same and a lot greener when I visited but nonetheless, you will find yourself standing on a Hollywood set as you watch the water flow down Ho’opi’i Falls.
Allow a couple of hours for this adventure and take shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. A bottle of water and a snack will suffice for this short journey along the Ho’oip’i Falls Trail on Kauai.
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.