HO’OPI’I FALLS HIKE & CLIFF JUMP ON KAUAI, HAWAII
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.
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.