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Waipuilani falls


"Sometimes you just gotta take a deep breath, and understand that it's just a bad day, not a bad life."

Updated: November 3, 2016

Location: Waipuilani Falls is located by the Pali Lookout in Nu'uanu. It is one of the many waterfalls that appear after a heavy rain along the Pali Highway.

Type: Waterfall hike

Hike Difficulty: Intermediate

Total Time: 3 to 4 hours

Distance: ~ 4.5 miles

Elevation: ~ 1100 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • Bring bug spray. Expect to be attacked by mosquitoes throughout the trail.
  • This hike is extremely confusing. No trail markers at all. Be forewarned.
  • This waterfall only flows after a heavy rain. Expect just a trickly or dry falls if not.
  • Bring extra clothes. It will most likely be a muddy hike.
  • There are many different routes and pig trails you can follow to get to this falls. We made our own trail and put some ribbons up.
  • There is a hidden cave in the middle of the falls that goes pretty deep into the mountian. A fun side adventure.

Your hiking backpack

  • Bug Spray
  • 2 Liters of water
  • Snacks (Something that you wouldn't mind getting wet)
  • Towel
  • Extra Clothes
  • Machete (if planning to make your own trail)
  • Ribbons or trail markers
  • GoPro/waterproof camera


Head up Pali Highway and park at the lookout. Walk back down the road towards the entrance sign. The faint trail will be located on the left through the brush. There will be no trail markers at all for most of the hike.

Our Journey

The Waipuilani Falls is one of the many waterfalls in Nu'uanu that appears after a heavy rain. There is also another falls called Waipuhia Falls that is supposed to be right next to it, but we have not found that one. The "W" falls supposedly is also known as the "Upside Down Falls" since the Pali winds are so strong that they blow the water back up into the air as it is falling down the mountain! And the water just evaporates into thin air. The winds were very strong and we could kind of see that the water was blowing back up into the air! What a cool experience. Apart from the fact that getting lost is definitely going to happen on this hike, it is a nice secluded spot. There are many different paths to follow on this hike, and you basically have to head through the forest towards the mountain, hoping you will reach a stream sometime soon. We had a basic idea of where the waterfall was, since we could see it flowing from Pali Highway and we decided to go for it. We wandered through the forest thinking that we were following a trail, but it lead to nowhere. We passed dry bed streams after dry bed streams, and were starting to give up. I knew we had to get close to the mountain to find a waterfall so we kept heading deeper and deeper into the forest. We dropped a GPS pin on our starting location and we put up orange ribbons so that we could find our way back. Every direction you look, the forest looks exactly the same. We ended up at a bamboo forest and we finally seen some ribbons! It sparked hope that we were on the right path! Ten minutes after we found the bamboo forest, we found a stream that was flowing! We knew we were close at this point. And then we saw it. It wasn't flowing hard,  but still was a spectacular sight. There was also a cave at the bottom of the falls that we explored as well. On our way back, we took a different route. We went through the bamboo forest and ended up on Nu'uanu Pali Drive and walked back to our cars. So I'm guessing there must've been an easier way to get to the falls, but I'm glad we got to it.






















Walking back along the road looking for the entrance to the trail.






















Here's where we entered into the never ending forest.






















We basically followed this faint path to the middle of the forest and got lost.






















And then the path was gone, just trees everywhere.






















Every direction in the forest looks the same. It can be very confusing if you don't have a sense of direction.






















We saw this up on the tree. Probably for a hunter to hide, while he shoots pigs. We decided to continue on before the hunter catches us in his area.






















We reached the first stream bed, but it was dry.






















We were determined to find the falls so we continued on.






















Over an hour wandering through the forest,

searching for a stream can make you a little delirious.






















And finally we found a ribbon! There was hope for finding the falls!






















Following the ribbons lead us to a bamboo forest. However, do not follow the trail into the bamboo, we just followed the border around the bamboo trees.






















We continued along the trail following the ribbons.





















The trail was faint, but luckily there were ribbons for us to follow.






















We were getting close, and we could feel it.

Just a little more and we would find the stream.






















And then we saw some rocks. We were close to another stream bed.






















The stream! We found it! Now just need to go upstream to the falls.






















We followed along the left side of the stream.






















We were so excited to finally find the stream.






















We've been in this forest for long enough! We have finally reached our destination.






















Waipuilani Falls!






















It wasn't flowing hard, but it was still an amazing sight to see!






















There was a cave at the bottom of the falls too, worth exploring.






















This is the view looking back at the forest from the falls.






















Time to explore the cave. It goes pretty deep into the mountain.






















Inside the spooky cave! Check out the video below to see what we found inside!






















I can't imagine how nice this falls would be after a heavy rain.

























We took a group picture before heading back. And we took a different route back to the road through the bamboo forest.

Check out the YouTube video on this hike!

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Waipuilani falls
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