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Did you know that Hawaii is home to the wettest place on Earth?
Mount Waialeale on Kauai gets more than 452 inches of rain each year, with a record of 683 inches in 1982. Compare that to Honolulu’s annual precipitation of 18 inches and Lihue’s average of 39 inches, and you start to get the point.
Standing at 5,148 feet, it’s no wonder Mt. Waialeale gets so much rain. The volcanic shield easily catches moisture brought in from the tradewinds; not to mention, its round shape also exposes all sides of the peak to the winds and moisture. But mainly, the steep cliffs play a major factor in why this spot is so wet. Moisture rises quickly here and drops a portion of its rain in one concentrated area. This is unlike other mountains in Hawaii, where rain spreads throughout a larger area.
Waialeale translates to “rippling water” or “overflowing water.” And if you get a chance to see this remote place on Kauai, you’ll start to understand the meaning of its name. A multitude of wispy waterfalls can be found throughout the slender mountain crevices and carved canyons. They fall straight down for hundreds of feet, until they plunge into the freshwater pool below.
Waipoo Falls is the tallest waterfall of the bunch and cascades from a height of 800 feet. Together, the waterfalls send down rushing streams on all sides that eventually feed into Waimea, Wailua, Hanapēpē and Makaweli rivers.
The only way to visit Mt. Waialeale is by helicopter. There are many tours available on the island, which mostly all take their passengers to see this beautiful place.
MT. WAIALEALE • Wettest place on Earth • Waialeale, Kauai • Only accessible by helicopter tour