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Kapena Falls - An Easy Outdoor Fun in Oahu, Hawaii

Kapena Falls - Oahu, HawaiiKapena Falls is a tiny waterfall around 20-30 feet high. It is located below the Pali Highway in the Nuuanu Valley of Oahu, Hawaii. While not as impressive as other waterfalls in the island, Kapena Falls and the small pool below it is a popular spot for cliff jumping.

The falls is easily accessible via a short trail from Pali Highway, near the "SCENIC LOOKOUT 500 FT" sign. The lookout offers spectacular vistas of the three-tiered pagoda at Kyoto Gardens and the Nuuanu Memorial Park.

The short and easy hike leads to the top of the jumping rock. The tiny falls is surrounded by lush vegetation with massive trees and thousands of dangling banyan roots giving the site a Jurassic feel.

While a popular spot for cliff jumping and swimming, be cautious when entering the water. Make sure you don't have any open wounds and never swallow the water. Freshwater streams and ponds in  Hawaii sometimes contain leptospirosis, a parasitic bacterium that causes severe infections and even death.

To get to Kapena Falls, drive south (toward Honolulu) along the Pali Highway (Hwy 61) between Wyllie Street and Pauoa Road at the mouth of Nuuanu Valley. Look for a roadside scenic lookout overlooking the three-tiered pagoda at Kyoto Gardens and the Nuuanu Memorial Park and park there. Then, walk 150-meters back up the highway until you get to the “SCENIC LOOKOUT 500 FT” sign.  At that point, a trail branches off the highway back into the woods and takes you straight to the top of the waterfalls.


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