If you're feeling extra adventurous on your trip to Kauai and want to do another excellent hike, then we'd highly suggest you consider the Makaleha Falls hike in east Kauai. The trail meanders along the stream through lush vegetation as you head towards the falls. After the first river crossing, you will come into a bamboo forest with a giant Albezia tree.   Following the roots of the tree uphill for 20 yards will bring you into a microcosm of tiny bamboo plants on top of a hill.  A steep and muddy drop takes you back down to the river whereupon you continue upstream, crossing the stream on multiple occasions.  In the upper portion of the river; there are 2 main drainages.  The drainage to the right takes you to the waterfall with a swimming hole; but the drainage to the left is the main drainage so be highly aware of tthe weather,  If there is heavy rain high up in the mountains, turn around immediately and head backl; even if the drainage to the right is not rising in water levels.   In recent years there have been several helicopter rescues on this river where experienced hikers have been in the right hand drainage where it is only sprinkling, relaxing and enjoying a picnic, only to find upon their return to the confluence that the previously tranquil river is now a waist or chest high freight train roiling down the valley and blocking further access downstream.  It would be a long, cold and miserable night out there on the little piece of land between the 2 streams so don't chance it when it comes to flash floods.

Makaleha is not a maintained trail, it's a hunters route up the river valley.  In order to head upstream you will need to criss cross the river several times and walk through it in parts. Felt bottom river shoes (called tabis by the locals) are essential for hiking here so as not to slip and injure yourself on the wet rocks.  If you are not used to hiking off trail, Makaleha can prove difficult and challenging in many places.  The route crosses the river frequently and often disappears completely. There is a lot of rock hopping, walking through the stream bed and bush whacking through over grown vegetation but it is an experience well worth the effort. The lack of a 'trail' is why we personally recommend Kauai Hiking Adventures. We've hiked with them on more than one occasion and have found their knowledge and experience of the trails on Kauai invaluable. 

Makaleha Falls Hike Photo Gallery

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Article Edited/Contributed by: John C. Derrick

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