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Exploring the island of Kauai in Hawaii offers many beautiful surprises. We rented kayaks along the Wailua River for one of our vacation adventures. The rental shops along the river offer guided tours but we opted to rent two person kayaks and found our way without a guide. This saved us a considerable amount of money and let us travel at our pace. The kayak shop gave us great directions on where to park our kayaks to find the hiking trail to Uluwehi Falls.
We enjoyed the lunch vegetation and beautiful flowers with our relaxing two mile paddle along the Wailua River. The calm river made the kayaking portion relatively easy. With four of us in two kayaks, it meant we could switch off and have a break as needed. My 75 year-old mother-in-law handled the kayak portion by sitting back and letting my husband to the work most of the time.
We parked our kayaks and began the little over one mile hike to the waterfall. The trail can present a challenge for those not as steady on their feet. While three of us handled it well, the muddy conditions made it slow going my 75 year-old mother-in-law.
Thank goodness the river crossing had a rope to hang onto and a very patient granddaughter or we probably wouldn’t have been able to get Mom across. Since the trail is so muddy, I would not recommend flip flops but instead a sturdy pair of water shoes with straps. Hiking shoes work well too but be prepared to get them muddy and wet.
My daughter opted to go barefoot but she admitted she wished she had her water sandals.
The well marked trail passes through lush vegetation and gets sloshy about half way through. Be prepared to walk directly in the mud which easily covered my entire feet.
A pool with a small waterfall makes a great photo opportunity along the way. The shallow water and rocks make it easy to find a good crossing point.
A short but steep climb with lots of tree branches presented the biggest challenge for Mom but for experienced hikers, it’s not bad at all. The bigger challenge is getting down as it it wet and slippery.
After clearing the steep hill, Uluwehi Falls (also known as Secret Falls) comes into view shortly after. Plenty of rocks offer a resting spot and a great place to have lunch or a snack. Be sure to wear swimwear for the pool at the base of the falls. The most adventurous will love getting under the falls. Besides hiking in our swimwear, we also carried a small pack with snacks, a bottle of water, and sunscreen for our kayak ride back.
Whether on a romantic trip or traveling with family in Kauai, the kayak ride and hike is definitely worth seeing.