Ho’opi’i Falls trail is a relatively local trail hidden up in the greener, more jungle-looking areas of Kapa’a in Kauai. As the name suggests, the trail takes you down to Ho’opi’i falls. There are actually two falls there. To get to either, it requires you to trudge the muddy slopes (just like any trail we experienced in Kauai, really). Of the two falls, it was much more magical at the second, so I suggest you go all the way out to the second falls. But the first falls can definitely merit a quick look, as it’s directly off the trail.
As I just mentioned, it’s crucial to tell you that Kauai gets 30-40 inches of rain a year, so the environment is almost always wet. Because of this, you really do need to prepare to experience a lot of mud. Especially if you are looking to hike or do any outdoor activities, it’s important to bring shoes that can be easily worn in the mud. Water shoes are great for this. Finding a walking stick to bring with you when you want to go hiking is also a great idea.
If you use AllTrails, the path will lead you to the top of the second falls. However, you really want to make it to the bottom of the falls if you can. To get to the bottom, veer right at the top of the falls instead of left. You’ll go up and around the falls until you’ll see a pretty hidden trail that goes steeply, steeply down to your left. You really have to climb, but it’s well worth it. The bottom of the falls has a spray of rocks for you to lay out and enjoy the water lightly crashing around you. And there’s a rope swing for you to jump in the water with if you’re feeling more adventurous.
If you’re not really a climber, then stopping to admire the top of the first waterfall on this trail is likely the best thing for you to do, but if you like to climb, it is worth it to find that hidden, steep trail off to your left that leads you to the bottom of the second falls.
Perhaps the coolest part about this hike to me was the local mentality. It was a pretty local, less mainstream hike, so people would leave walking sticks at the entrance for the next visitors to use. And those sticks really do keep you from siding down muddy hillsides, so they were a life-saver! We were passed off sticks when we arrived, so we left them for the next trail goers when we left. Also, everyone met together at the rope swing to take turns jumping into the water. It was a really exciting experience to meet with strangers who were friendly and welcoming. And it was also nice to not be the only one swinging into the water.
All in all, Ho’opi’i Falls was well worth the visit, especially since you get to walk through the greenest jungles you may ever see in your lives. I mean, they filmed Jurassic Park in Kauai, need I say more? It’s green, full of lush jungles, and ready to be explored! Again, however, like with any trail on Kauai, please exercise extreme caution. They are not easy trails, and it is very easy for you to fall and get seriously hurt. So please consider that before coming out on any hike!