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Opaekaa Falls, Wailua

4.0
#8 of 31 in Nature in Kauai
Waterfall · Nature / Park
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ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls is a waterfall located on the ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream in Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It is a 151-foot (46 m) waterfall that flows over basalt from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Below the ridge down into the ravine through which the water falls can be seen the vertical dikes of basalt that cut through the horizontal Koloa lava flows. The name "ʻŌpaekaʻa" means rolling shrimp, "ʻopae" being Hawaiian for "shrimp," and "kaʻa" for "rolling". The name dates back to days when the native freshwater shrimp Atyoida bisulcata were plentiful in the stream and were seen rolling and tumbling down the falls and into the churning waters at the fall's base.
Visually, this is a spectacular waterfall and is one of the island's few waterfalls that can be seen from the road. It flows year round and therefore is not seasonal. Most of the time it falls in a double cascade but the two sides may become one after a heavy rain.

There is a highway overlook which provides a panoramic view of the 40-foot (12 m) wide falls and the valley below. The best time of day to see the falls is in full sunlight when the water sparkles the most. If the day is cloudy the view is less spectacular.
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Opaekaa Falls reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
517 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We were told to come by thru a recommendation. The waterfalls had double spouts of water churning thru the cliffs, one was actually coming through the rocks. You can't get really close up, but... 
    We were told to come by thru a recommendation. The waterfalls had double spouts of water churning thru the cliffs, one was actually coming through the rocks. You can't get really close up, but...  more »
  • The parking was definately a challenge, but manageable, and we were not able to get very close, but close enough to our VRBO that worth the trip. 
    The parking was definately a challenge, but manageable, and we were not able to get very close, but close enough to our VRBO that worth the trip.  more »
  • This dual waterfall is scene from the parking area along the road so there's not walking or hiking required. You can walk up a little further and cross the road to get a view of the river. We... 
    This dual waterfall is scene from the parking area along the road so there's not walking or hiking required. You can walk up a little further and cross the road to get a view of the river. We...  more »
Google
  • Excellent opportunity for people who may not be able to hike to other falls in the area to get out of the car and see some beautiful sites. ‘Opaeka’a Falls is a bit far in the distance from the view point but is still a beautiful waterfall. There are restrooms in the parking lot. You can also walk on a paved path towards the falls then cross the street to have an extraordinary view of the Wailua River. There is parking across and down the street as well that also has great views of the Wailua River too and some picnic benches. There are loads of roosters over on that side, definitely kings of the hill!
  • Plenty of parking with restrooms on location. Bummer that the water falls were so far away, but you do get a good view of them from this point. Across the street has an overlook as well thats worth checking out.
  • It’s nice and worth a quick stop. Can’t get down to the falls or anything, but the view from the road is decent with a great overlook of the river. Stop for 10-15min to admire, take some photos, and move on 🍻 @nothin_but_views
  • Plenty of parking with a restroom stop here. You walk alongside the walkway by the falls. There was also a lookout that we drove by on our way in - I can't find the actual name of it, but it overlooked the Wailua River. NOTE: the chickens by this lookout are a little intense lol (there were no chickens by the falls lookout)
  • As others have said, this is an excellent opportunity for someone who may not be able to hike or frankly does not want to, to see a waterfall while in kauai. It's a quick stop off the main road with plenty of parking and there's even a rest. Stop there. I will however say that I wish I had a much longer lens for my camera as the waterfall is pretty far away. If you go further up the road and cross you'll be able to see the wailua river as well. I highly recommend looking into kayaking or paddle boarding this river if you have time. We never got around to it, but it was recommended to us!

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