Mount Waialeale: Kauai’s Rainy Treasure

Mount Waialeale
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Mount Waialeale: Kauai’s Rainy Treasure

Everyone knows to plan for rainfall when they visit Kauai. But did you know that it’s home to one of the wettest places on Earth? Mount Waialeale is a lush region in Kauai and one of our favorite Hawaii mountains. Today we’re talking all about this emerald wonder and how you can see it for yourself. 

Is Mount Waialeale the Rainiest Place on Earth?

Many websites will claim that Kauai is home to the rainiest place on earth: Mount Waialeale. Honestly, there are probably rainier areas, like spots in India and Central America. But still, Mount Waialeale gets a lot of rainfall – more than 452 inches of rain each year.  Compare that to Honolulu’s annual precipitation of 18 inches and Lihue’s average of 39 inches, and you start to get the point.

Why It’s So Rainy

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. Plus, its round shape exposes all sides of the peak to the winds and humidity. 

But the steep cliffs play the most significant 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.

Waterfalls at Mount Waialeale

Mount Waialeale waterfalls

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 form 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 the Waimea, Wailua, Hanapēpē, and Makaweli rivers.

How to See Mount Waialeale on Kauai

The only way to actually 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. Hawaii Aloha Travel can help book the best excursion for your Kauai vacation. 

But you can still experience some of the magic of Mount Waialeale without taking flight. The Puu O Kila lookout at Waimea Canyon State Park offers great views of this green, rain-drenched mountain. You can get even more vantages along the Alakai Swamp Trail in the neighboring Kokee State Park

Whether you look at Mount Waialeale from an overlook or from a helicopter, it’s sure to be a memorable sight. It may not be THE wettest place on Earth, but it may be the most lush place you’ve ever seen. 

MT. WAIALEALE • Wettest place on Earth • Waialeale, Kauai • Only accessible by helicopter tour