Makaleha Falls Hike is the jungle waterfall adventure, which will leave you covered in mud but not with no regrets. The 2.6 mile out and back trail follows a stream the entirety of the hike with a reward of multiple epic waterfalls at the end. This hike is a great fit for those capable of bouldering, weaving in and out of roots and vines and dealing with slippery mud and mossy rocks.
Makaleha Falls Hike Trailhead Map
At the trailhead, there is a parking lot next to a giant water tank. A road then leads you towards the mountains and eventually the trail.
Makaleha Falls Hike
Makaleha Falls Hike on Kauai takes about two hours round trip if you don’t stop for photos or spend too long at the falls. Otherwise, allow for three hours if you want to enjoy the falls at the destination.
The hike begins along the Makaleha Stream and follows it the whole way up to the falls. I lost count of the river crossings and many of them left no option other than to wade through the water. I managed to keep one shoe dry!
The trail isn’t necessarily well defined throughout but as long as you follow the stream and stick close to the water’s edge you will find you the way to the falls. The trail is worn enough so that if it gets too thick you have probably gone off the track.
The trail was incredibly diverse and the trees, flowers, plants, and roots captivated me throughout the trail.
The Makaleha Falls Trail finally ‘ended’ with views of multiple falls gushing down the side of the mountain. However, this isn’t the ‘real’ end of the trail.
Continue on along the stream and you will arrive at the two-tiered falls. This spot was nestled in a narrow canyon and the water was beyond freezing! It’s a handy little area for cliff-jumping but definitely check the water for debris or rocks first!
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