To see many of the gorgeous waterfalls in Hawaii, you have to work for it. You have to hike, sweat, and feel the burn in order to make it to the postcard-worthy view. Luckily, for those days when you need a break, or if you have a member of your group or family with limited mobility, you can view a gorgeous waterfall in Kauai without much effort.
Opaekaa Falls is one of the most accessible major waterfalls in Kauai. It is located in Wailua. Just travel two miles up Route 580 from Highway 56 to find it. On your way to the falls, enjoy the scenery in Wailua River State Park and hop out at the historic markers to learn more about the area. The falls are on the east side of the road. Watch for the signs that will guide you to the lookout point. If you are going to the fern grotto, this is a great stop on your way.
Free parking is available at the lookout of Opaekaa Falls and there are also picnic tables and restrooms. If you do feel like going for a little walk, travel across the road from the lookout for another amazing view of the Wailua River valley and the plains beyond. Be safe and use the crosswalk to get across the busy road. While enjoying the view of the river, watch for kayakers who may be passing by. You can make this a quick stop, or pack a picnic and stay for a few hours taking in all of the views.
Opaekaa means “rolling shrimp,” which used to be abundant in the stream. The falls travel over basalt from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago into a hidden pool. The waterfall is an impressive 151 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Lush greenery surrounds the waterfall as well as multicolored flowers. If you are lucky, you may even see a rainbow.
Keep in mind that the overview is not really close to the falls, but it’s still a great view. Bring some binoculars or a telephoto lens to get a better look at Opaekaa Falls. This distance also means that this is a safe choice for families with young children. There is a paved sidewalk, so you won’t have to worry about anyone getting wet or slipping.
Sometimes, there are food sellers in the parking lot if you need something to eat. You also might encounter some chickens when you are visiting the falls. If you have food, they may crowd you, so beware.
There are many beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii, but not many are so easy to get to. If you are in the area, make sure you reward yourself with the view of Opaekaa Falls.
-This is a great place for family pictures. Consider hiring a photographer to snap some quality images of your family.
-If you would like to have a peaceful visit, consider coming in the early morning. This spot does get busy with tour buses later in the day.