Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Hawaii Trails

Kayak Through a Rainforest Grotto to a 100-foot Waterfall

Paddle 7 miles up the Wailua River to secret waterfalls, hidden swimming holes, and one of Kauai's best rope swings.

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and unwrap savings this holiday season.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

Now 30% Off.
$4.99/month $3.49/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+


*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

See our whole list of best summer paddle trips.

  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Time: 1 day

Start this 7-mile round-trip paddle at the Wailua Kayak & Canoe shop on Kuamoo Road. After launching your boat, paddle upstream through thick tropical vegetation. The skyline periodically opens up and provides occasional views of Mount Waialeale (5,148 ft.) nearly 20 miles away. Watch for riverboats and coconut trees on the north bank.

In 1.8 miles, dock your boat to explore the Kamokila Hawaiian Village ((look for a thatched hut and outrigger canoe on the north bank). Kamokila offers tours of a re-created Hawaiian village with a courtyard dedicated to Hawaiian bowling and spear throwing. Continue up the south fork of the Wailua to Fern Grotto—a lush cave—and a hidden pool and rope swing (only accessible by boat). Take a dip, and then turn around and paddle back down the Wailua for .4 mile. Leave your boat on the river bank and hike to a majestic waterfall with small pools perfect for soaking. At the end of the day, retrace your steps back to the boat and glide down the river to your car.
-Mapped by Kari Bodnarchuk

Gallery: Paddling the Wailua River

None
Swimming beneath the falls

None
heading up the Wailua River between densely forested banks.

None
docking the boats for the hike to the waterfall.