Location: Kaumuali’i State Park, Kauai
Distance: 1.5 miles
Permits & Fees: None required for the hike; Kayak or paddle-board reservations are required and are usually between $40 to $90, depending on the company, type of kayak and whether or not you decide to sign-up for a guided tour. There are several kayaking company options to choose from on both the North and South shores of the island.
We brought sunscreen, water, and food for the trip. We also wore swimsuits and shorts. Hiking shoes are recommended.
In order to get to the The Uluwehi Falls, aka the Hidden Valley Falls or “Secret Falls”, we kayaked up the Wailua River for about two miles after starting at Kaumuali’i State Park. There are two forks in the river; take the right turn for each. After about an hour paddling down the river, we reached the trailhead of Hidden Valley Falls. I forgot my hiking shoes, so instead of hiking in flip-flops, I hiked barefoot. The trail was extremely muddy with limited rocks, so walking barefoot was a great option.
The hike is only about 3/4 of a mile to the falls, but very early on, there is a point in the trail where we needed to cross a river. There is a rope to hang onto. The rule is, if the water is touching the rope, crossing is a bad idea. When we crossed the river, we continued to the portion of the hike called “The Green Room”. This part of the hike followed a stream through a shaded path that was surrounded by several different species of trees and plants.
We continued on until we reached a fork. We took the lower fork, which has two more stream crossings and is slightly longer than the upper fork, until we reached the falls. We swam underneath the falls and swam for about thirty minutes until we decided to hike back to the kayaks. On the way back, we took the upper fork of the trail.
Once we made it back to the kayaks, we paddled down the river to the dock where we launched out of.