Hanakapiai Falls is quite spectacular. It is located two miles upstream from Hanakapiai Beach and four miles from the parking lot at Ke'e Beach. Named for a Menehune princess, Hanakapiai Stream cascades hundreds of feet down jagged cliffs and tumbles into a pristine pool surrounded by lush foliage. The falls can only be accessed by making an 8-mile round trip hike from Ke'e Beach along the Na Pali Coast.
The Na Pali Trail can get very muddy when it is raining and for a day or so after. The trail follows an ancient Kauaian path high above the ocean cliffs. At the Hanakapiai Stream crossing, the trail follows the stream up and inward for 2 miles crossing the stream several times in the process. This hike is strenuous and only suitable for strong hikers willing to get wet and muddy. Once there, many people reward themselves with a swim in very cold water under the falls. Though refreshing, keep in mind that occasional rocks coming over the falls could be fatal for anyone under them. This is true of any falls and I don't know of anyone ever being hit at Hanakapiai Falls or anywhere else, but it is a possibility.
Water flow over the falls varies substantially depending on rainfall. I've been to this falls when there was so much water raging over it that we couldn't get close to the pool at the bottom. In fact the falls was generating so much wind and mist that I didn't get my camera out.
Pictures and Comments By Doug Porter