When we last visited Opaekaa Falls on Kauai, I wondered if it was possible to hike down there and swim in the freshwater pool at the bottom. The cascading twin falls can be seen from a distant vista point, right off of the main road into Wailua Valley, but how cool would it be to enjoy it up close?
Turns out, as cool as it would be, hiking to it is against the law. The trail has been blocked off by a steel fence since 2006, when two women fell to their deaths. Even then, the trail was not officially sanctioned by the state but highly-publicized and well-known by many. An all too common scenario for hikes in Hawaii, so make sure the one you decide on is sanctioned.
Now, a warning sign at the trail head stops hikers from proceeding. “Danger Keep Out – Hazardous Conditions” warns against the rocky, unstable path. Some say secret hunting trails still exist; however, I would not encourage using them for obvious reasons. If the state doesn’t think it’s safe, then it’s most likely not safe and not maintained. Plus, violators can be charged with a $1,000 fine and sentenced to up to 30 days in jail!
Is it worth it?
No! There are so many other hikes to do on Kauai; some even minutes from Opaekaa.