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Opaekaa Falls, Kauai

(3.7/5 based on 280+ reviews on the web)
Ōpaekaa 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 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 "Ōpaekaa" means rolling shrimp, "opae" being Hawaiian for "shrimp," and "kaa" 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 40ft 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Only a short drive out of Wailua. Falls are beautiful, and great for--about 5 minutes of contemplation. Great to see when you are in the area--quick sidetrip--just not a destination. 
  • This falls is observed from the road at a distance. It is very large ab-no easy to get to, find parking and their are Rest Rooms right there. One special highlight is the long winged boobies flying in...  more »
  • I wouldn't waste time to see this, but if you happen to pass by, you can stop and take a quick look, no more than 5 minutes! You can only take pictures from the far, and there are better falls to see. 
Google
  • This is a beautiful 300 foot waterfall ( vegetation hides the bottom) that is viewed from above. There is a large parking area. The best photos are from along the walkway to the overlook across the street which features Kamokila village. (another review..good spot). This is best after a lot of rain!
  • Beautiful waterfalls just minutes from Kapa'a. It's probably the most easily accessed on the island, with a viewpoint on Highway 580, also known as Kuamo'o Road. Opaeka'a means "rolling shrimp," which were once abundant here. The 151-foot falls flow year-round.
  • Must Stop. Great roadside overlook. There is also a viewing area of the valley and ocean across the street. Easy access and ample parking.
  • This is a very pretty waterfall, but the view is pretty far away.
  • Not worth the stop unless you need to use the restroom. The waterfall is not close. Use a zoome lens if you want a quality shot unless you want a landscape photo. Overgrowth makes it more difficult to see except from near the end of the bridge. Another viewpoint across the road for the old movie village below. Again, overgrowth in the way.