Opaekaa Falls Kauai

Opaekaa Falls Kauai

Experience the allure of Opaekaa Falls, a picturesque waterfall that embodies the essence of Kauai’s beauty.
  • Area: Wailua/Kapaa
  • One of the most visited attractions on Kauai due to its easy accessibility and picturesque views.
  • Overlook has a distant view of the lush waterfall.
  • Roadside overlook has parking, restrooms and picnic tables.
  • Across the road is a spectacular view of the Wailua River.
  • Map: Google Maps

Opaekaa Falls is a scenic waterfall located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, within the boundaries of Wailua River State Park. Known for its easy accessibility and picturesque views, the falls are a popular destination for both tourists and locals. The name “Opaekaa” means “rolling shrimp” in Hawaiian, which historically refers to the abundant shrimp that once thrived in the stream.

Opaekaa Falls Kauai

Geographic and Hydrological Features

Opaekaa Falls is a cascading waterfall approximately 151 feet (46 meters) high and 40 feet (12 meters) wide. The waterfall is fed by the Opaekaa Stream and flows year-round, although its volume can vary significantly with seasonal rainfall. The falls drop into a hidden pool below, which is not accessible to visitors due to the steep and unstable terrain surrounding it.

The falls are situated on the eastern side of Kauai, north of Lihue. This location is part of the island’s lush interior, characterized by its rich vegetation and abundant rainfall. The terrain around Opaekaa Falls is predominantly steep and covered with dense tropical foliage, contributing to its dramatic visual appeal.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Historically, the area around Opaekaa Falls has been significant for the native Hawaiian population. The Wailua River Valley, in which the falls are located, was a major political and religious center in ancient times, considered highly sacred. The river and its environs are rich in archeological sites, including heiau (temples) and ancient village sites. Near the falls on the opposite side of the road is the important Poli’ahu Heiau.

Opaekaa Falls Kauai

Visitor Information

Opaekaa Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls on Kauai. The primary viewpoint is from an easily accessible overlook off Kuamoo Road (Highway 580), providing a safe and convenient platform for viewing and photography. The overlook area includes restrooms, picnic tables and ample parking.

There are no public (or safe) trails to either the top of the waterfall or the plunge pool below. The immediate waterfall area is off limits and trespassers are subject to jail and fines if caught.

Opaekaa Falls Kauai

Across the street is a magnificent view of the Wailu River. Kayakers headed to Secret Falls and Smith’s Fern Grotto tour boats can often be seen on the river.

Final Thoughts

Opaekaa Falls remains a quintessential feature of Kauai’s landscape, offering both historical depth and natural beauty. It stands as a testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage and its dynamic natural environment, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Kauai.

Opaekaa Falls Photos

Opaekaa Falls Kauai

Opaekaa Falls Parking

Opaekaa Falls

Watch out for traffic on the busy Kuamoo Road when crossing from the Opaekaa Falls Overlook to the Wailua River Overlook.