March 2019 – Kauai – Uluwehi Falls (Secret Falls)

Let’s get this out of the way right now: these falls aren’t a secret. Cool beans? Great. Moving on.

Want to watch the video for the hike?? It’s probably one of my favorites, and you can find it here!

As mentioned in the overview post, our trip to Secret Falls (aka Uluwehi Falls) was the only “excursion” we had officially planned and booked into our schedule before the trip.

I made reservations a month or so prior through TripAdvisor, for a kayak and hike on the Wailua River with the group Kayak Adventures Hawaii. We met our group in Kapa’a at 7:45am and were on the water around 8:15am. I can’t imagine going in a later group, considering how many people were already at the falls when we arrived–but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s essentially how everything went down:

  • We packed all of our goods into a dry bag provided by the tour company, along with a couple bottles of water and some other snacks. Then our tour guide, Thomas, drove us to the drop zone.
  • We arrived at the Wailua Marina and got our boats in the water, taking off our socks and shoes since we rocked sneakers for the hike ahead. We got in the boat without even realizing what ours had been christened. Yep, we were officially in the “Jenny” and everything felt right.
  • We paddled around the harbor a bit until Thomas got in the water. He gave us the ground rules about how to navigate the river (we stay to one side so boats can stay to the other).
  • Then we were off on a nice smooth paddle. Thomas let us go at our own pace and we made it to the “beach of kayaks” in about an hour-ish or so.
  • Once we arrived at the beach, we brought up the kayak, put on our shoes, and headed into the jungle. After a short quarter or so of a mile, we came upon the river. And we fjorded it (shoes on), with the help of a rope. The current wasn’t too strong, but I’m glad we had an aid if we needed it!
  • After the river, the terrain was all over the place. We could tell that if it had been rainy, the trek would not have been as simple. Even then, there were big roots and areas washed out. It took a bit of time to get to the falls since our group was about 12 strong and there were some slower folks, but I’m glad we took our time.
  • There were a few more much smaller streams to cross, but they were more like 5-8 feet wide and easy to traverse. Again, we kept our shoes one and just walked through. It felt kind of good.
  • Finally, we made it to the “big show.” Lots of rocks, chickens, and people! Oh and a massive waterfall. It was a bit slippery, so once we found the rocks we wanted to have lunch on, I stayed put. There is a pool of (from what I heard) chillier water this time of year. And you can go back behind the falls for a surreal experience. Again, I didn’t leave the rocks I had claimed as my own.
  • The tour company provided a lunch of sandwiches, which was really nice and we also had some fresh pineapple. YUM!
  • After an hour of watching and listening to the falls we headed back the same way we came (kayaks included).

Needless to say, it was an eventful day and by the time we got back to the condo we were SPENT! But it was worth it!

If you have never kayaked before, I would highly recommend doing so in a tour group similar to this one. They are constantly watching out for you and will give you some great basic information. Be careful though, you may fall in love with it!

Happy Hiking (and Kayaking)!

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