Kauai is known as “The Garden Isle” for its exceptionally verdant beauty, and when you first catch sight of Wailua Falls it’s easy to understand why. Spilling 80 feet over a rocky ledge into a fresh water pool below, this double-streamed, misty cascade so perfectly captures the tropical essence that it was used as part of the opening scene for the TV show, Fantasy Island.
And, while there’s definitely no shortage of waterfalls on Kauai, what makes Wailua Falls so popular is the fact that you can see the falls without even having to hike. As you follow rural, Ma’alu Road as it twists its way up the mountain, there will eventually be a large parking lot approximately four miles up from the highway. Here, from a sweeping viewpoint on a country road looking over Wailua Stream, a heart-stopping view of Wailua Falls is only a few steps away. For an added, tropical, Wailua Falls bonus, try to visit in mid-morning on a clear, sunny day, when a thin rainbow can often appear in the softly spiraling mists.
Wailua Falls is located about 5.2 miles outside the town of Lihue. While there are trails that lead down the steep cliff face to the base of the thundering falls, the trails are steep, exceptionally dangerous, and officially off-limits to hikers. To reach the falls, drive north of Lihue for approximately one mile until your reach Ma’alu Road, and turn left for a four mile journey into the misty hills.