Wailua Heritage Trail

Wailua Heritage Trail - View Noteworthy Sites Near the Wailua River in Kauai
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Wailua Heritage Trail is a tour of nine significant points of interest near the Wailua River that you can view by car. Those participating can learn about the early people of Kauai and catch some beautiful sights along the way.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

A series of historic and significant places near the Wailua River, Wailua Heritage Trail is not a walking trail, but a tour you can do by car. Travel to each point of interest to see some nice views and read placards that give you more information. To complete the entire trail it takes roughly 3 hours or more. If you want, however, you can just choose the points of most interest to you.

Here is a look at all the stops on Wailua Heritage Trail:

Wailua Bay
Wailua Bay served as the main entry port into Kauai in ancient times. This gateway also welcomed the daily rising of the sun. Many legends and stories take place in this bay, including famous deities, voyagers, and chiefs. The legendary surf sites of Makaiwa, Kaohaala, and Kalehuawehe can be found here.

Opaekaa Falls
The name Opaekaa translated means “rolling shrimp” which alludes to the once abundance of freshwater shrimp in the area. Today, you can park your car and take just a few steps to view a gorgeous 151-foot waterfall from the Wailua Heritage Trail. 

Waialeale Mountain
According to Hawaiian oral traditions, Waialeale Mountain represents the navel of Kauai. Its peak, Kawaikini, rises to 5,243 feet and is the highest point on the island. It is also one of the wettest spots in the world, averaging 400 to 600 inches of rain per year. 

The name, meaning “Sleeping Giant,” comes from a legend that tells of one named Puni who fell asleep on the ridge and turned to stone. This mountain also served as the setting for a battle fought between the powerful war chiefs Aikanaka and Kaweloleimakua in the 17th century.

Maunakapu and Wailua River
In early times, the verdant valley of the Maunakapu and Wailua River provided all the resources necessary for the chief retinues and people living and laboring in these lands.

Kuamo Oloaakane
Part of “the long spine of Kane,” Kuamo Oloaakane an ancient pathway that used to lead to the summit of Waialeale. Pilgrimages were taken to get to Kaawakoa heiau, a place that was dedicated to the god, Kane. Ceremonies used to be conducted here to ask for a continual supply of freshwater for the people of Kauai.

Holoholoku and the Royal Birthing Stones
Considered to be one of Hawaii’s most sacred sites, oral tradition tells of the Holoholoku and the Royal Birthing Stones being reserved as a birthing site for royalty. 

Hikinaakala at Hauola
A sanctuary of peace and safety along the Wailua Heritage Trail, the Hikinaakala at Hauola has long been associated with the traditional practices of health and healing. Hikinaakala-Heiau served as a site to worship the sun.

Also known as the “Fern Grotto,” Maamaakualono was dedicated by the ancients to the god, Lono. This god is mostly associated with agriculture and cultivation and was also very important to healing practices.

So, if you’re interested in learning a little more history of the area and viewing sites that were severely important to the early people of Kauai, visit the Wailua Heritage Trail. You will not regret learning more about this beautiful island.