Ho’oip’i Falls Trail on Kauai is a short but action-packed hike taking you to two waterfalls. The first falls is 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 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 fernds draped throughout the canopy. Ho’opi’i Falls Trail feels like a movie scene.
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.
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.
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.
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 is a luxury pick, one is a family choice, the other is a value selection and the last recommendation I have for you is where I recommend for the budget backpackers.
Kauai Shores Hotel – Luxury (but value also): Okay so Kauai is expensive that is just a fact. So luxury on Kauai is REALLY expensive. We are talking $700+ a night at many hotels. Kauai Shores Hotel has the luxury feel 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. This is a great choice if you do want a high-end hotel for your stay in Kauai but you still want to keep things reasonable and not blow thousands and thousands on your getaway. Remember you will want to do lots of activities and get a rental car as well maybe so saving a couple of hundred a night by staying at the Kauai Shores Hotel compared to the Marriot will give you the resort vibe but not be extravagant on your budget.
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 is part of the Wyndham Autograph collection and has the LARGEST pool on all of Kauai with beautiful, natural-style landscaping throughout the pool areas. Palm trees surround the pool and restaurant areas on what is one of the most luxurious properties on the island. The rooms had all of the trimmings and it was definitely an amazing experience to spend a few nights at Koloa Landing Resort.
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. Plus, five of the resort’s 11 restaurants have children’s menus at The Grand Hyatt Resort.
Hilton Garden Inn – Value Pick: The Hilton Garden Inn is your number one choice if you are on a budget but still need comfort. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t cheap it is still over $200 USD but this is Kauai. $200 USD is a bargain. The Hilton has a beautiful pool, has private beach access and hot tubs so you are still getting awesome value and the resort experience. The Hilton Garden Inn is where you go when you want to enjoy the hot tub, pool and beach access but don’t necessarily care about all of the trimmings at the resorts that are 4 figures or more per night. If I was on a honeymoon or with a family, this is where I would stay and spend the saved money and helicopter tours, rental cars and experiences!
More Kauai Blog Posts
I spent an entire month exploring the island of Kauai. In particular, I was hiking all of the trails and made several guides for the best hikes and easiest hikes so you can enjoy the trails of the island.
North Shore Hiking Guide: 4 AWESOME HIKES ON THE NORTH SHORE OF KAUAI
Kauai Hiking Guide: 15 BEST HIKES ON KAUAI
Easy Hikes on Kauai: 8 EASY HIKES ON KAUAI WITH GREAT VIEWS
Cliff Jumping Guide to Kauai: BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON KAUAI
Open Door Helicopter Flight Kauai: EPIC DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF KAUAI