Route: Kauai Weeping Wall (HI)

Submitted by Justin Kousky on Mon, 08/29/2022 - 06:37am
Location
Hawaii, US
Distance
15 mi
Vertical Gain
3,000 ft
Description

Deep in the heart of Kauai you will find the Weeping Wall, also known as the Blue Hole / Mount Waialeale Waterfalls, in one of the wettest places on Earth.  This route starts and finishes at the Keahua Arboretum, which is the closest reliable access point.  The first 4.7 miles climb steadily on jeep roads with the occasional water crossing and mud pit.  About 3.5 miles in you will pass the old Jurassic Park gate, which is easy to miss, but you aren't missing much.  Another 1.2 miles of jeep roads brings you to the water diversion, the end of the jeep roads, and the beginning of the real adventure.  The next 3 or so miles follow the north fork of the Wailua River.  There are occasional paths on the side of the river but much of the trail is through the water itself - scrambling over rocks and waterfalls.  The dirt path sections are often overgrown, steep, and extremely slippery.  This section is more "choose your own adventure" style - the course of the river and the paths change frequently and current water level often dictates the path of travel.  Eventually you will come to the end of the river and the canyon, and arrive at the Weeping Wall, where you are surrounded on 3 sides by waterfalls cascading down cliffs that are thousands of feet high.  Turn around at the end and head back the way you came.

A few random notes for travelers:

  • The course is dangerous in ideal (dry) conditions - the rocks and trail are always slippery, there is limited cell phone service, and there is nobody around if you get injured or stuck.
  • The course is impassible in wet conditions, and flash floods often occur.  Water levels in the beginning can serve as a useful barometer for safety - if the jeep crossings are waist deep or if the water diversion looks like Niagara Falls, turn around.  If it starts raining, turn around.  If you aren't sure if it is raining upstream, turn around.
  • If you don't heed the prior advice and get stuck in a flash flood, seek higher ground and just wait things out - which could be hours or days.  The scenery is nice and it's not cold enough for hypothermia so it's not a bad place to hang out.  And you won't have to worry about dehydration.
  • Expect to get fully submerged at least a few times - protect electronics in waterproof containers but otherwise don't waste energy trying to keep things dry.
  • The Weeping Wall is considered sacred by locals, do your own research on what that entails and be respectful.
  • This a very popular spot for helicopter tours - expect to see 3-10 per hour.
  • Footwear is extremely important, you want to select something that can get wet, provides good protection, and has good traction on muddy and slippery rocks.  Most locals wear and recommend the use of Tabi shoes, which can be found online or at Walmart on Kauai.  The key feature of these shoes is the felt bottoms which provide superior traction.

Admin note, from Justin regarding the turnaround: You basically go up the canyon until the dead-end at the waterfalls. I stopped at a flat landing about 10 yards from the actual walls, you may be able to infer the spot from my pictures (Strava). But basically one of those “keep going until you can’t travel further” types of courses. 

GPS Track