Ho’opi’i Falls It’s time to awaken your inner child as wonder is alive and well on this Proper Function!

The Proper Function

Towering Falls

The Ho’opi’i Falls is an off-the-beaten path hike which only most locals know about. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook called this the “Best Hidden Gem” and for good reason, it is simply spec-tac-ular!. This trail will provide you with the scared energy of the Garden Island and last you a lifetime . With the wonderment of a child, you will stroll down the trail glancing upwards at the pillars of trees as a large heart-shaped leaf falls gently into the Kapaa Stream. It reflects the towering Albizia trees as you notice your own reflection and you are forced to ponder. Be prepared to awaken your senses as you hear the gentle roar of the upper and lower falls. It’s a gentle roar that serves as an alarm clock for the soul. It’s time to wake up!break_line_mtn


Swing On A Vine

You will need to park in a neighborhood, so please be aware of your speeds when driving and also don’t park directly in front of a locals home. Park on the trail-side and walk along the road until you see the entrance to the trail. At this point, you will weave your way through waist-high grass and embark on a path littered with a potpourri of color. As you appreciate the detail, you will ascend until you reach a large fallen tree. You will marvel at this fallen tree as it continues to thrive and survive as it lay on the garden floor. Glance 45 degrees to your right and you will discover a towering tree with a rope swing. Yes, you should. Not only is it healthy for the soul, but it will prepare you for another rope that will allow you to plummet into the Kapaa Pools. Grab tightly with both hands, take a deep breath, clear your mind and go!


Continue to waltz down the path and you will come to the Kapaa Stream. It’s that still small voice that is present as you walk along the stream edge. Eventually, you will start to hear the rumblings of the Upper Ho’opi’i Falls. You will take the first path that you encounter from the main trail, it is fairly steep and will lead you down to the Upper Ho’opi’i Falls. It is an awe-inspiring moment, so be sure to take your time as this place is simply magical. As for me, I fell asleep upon my backpack.

“All men leave the harbour of youth, but only few reach the very far island of wisdom!” – Mehmet Murat Ildan


Head back up to the main trail. As you continue, you will eventually reach a ‘T’ in the trail. If you go left you will end up at the top of Lower Ho’opi’i Falls. Go right an upwards it will take you to the bottom of Lower Ho’opi’i Falls. I recommend doing both as the upper view will provide you a unique perspective for when you stand at the bottom of this magnificent design. Getting to the bottom of the lower falls does require some minor technical climbing, but is manageable in dry conditions. Once you reach the bottom, the lower falls open up like a grand cathedral beckoning your call. A second rope swing that allows you to plummet into Kapaa Stream calls for an act of immaturity. The view from below is simply magical and will stick with you for days to come.

The trip is rated moderate as the terrain will include some steep and slippery areas. I would not advise doing this trail during bad weather. The rain will cause flooding down the trail making them unsafe. I would also recommend using bug spray as the water brings out those nasty mosquitos.



Function Details

Take Highway 56 and turn on Mauka (inland) near mile marker number 9 on Kawaihai Road. Turn right on Kapahi road. You will notice a yellow gate on the side of the road which may be covered in tall grass. Do not park in front of the locals homes and be sure to drive slow.



This Proper Function
(Approximate Data)
Party Cloudy
2,315ftElevation 13.7hrsDistance From You
State, RegionHawaii,Northeast
Coordinates22.107793°, -159.343741°
DirectionsView on Google Maps
Time2 Hours RT


Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and founder of The Proper Function, an outdoor editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.