WAIPO’O FALLS TRAIL VIA CANYON TRAIL (PU’U HINAHINA)
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 mile 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 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 you buck route.
The Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls Trail Hike
The Waipo’o Falls Trail is a let down 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 and 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 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 hike. 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 say. We sat on the edge of the falls for a while and took it all in while looking out over the canyon below.
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 up on 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 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