Alapena Falls and Kapena Falls

Total Distance: 0.78mi

Route Here

Terrain:  Rainforest and stream bed. 

Difficulty: Easy

These two waterfalls are literally steps from the Pali Highway.   Today we began from the “scenic overlook” off the southbound lanes of the Pali Hwy.  This hike can also be begun from the nearby Nu’uanu memorial park, or so I’m told.  The route we took today was simple to find.  We drove past the overlook headed northbound, made a U-turn at our next opportunity and backtracked to where we would park.  From the overlook we again backtracked on foot up the pali hwy for about 0.1mi.  The trail becomes evident as you reach the end of the stone wall the beginning of the metal guard rail. 

We first went to the lower falls which is Alapena Pool and Falls.  For this falls you take a trail down an embankment that goes from highway to rainforest in no time flat.  The footing can be a bit tricky for those who are not used to uneven ground, such as my 3-year-old.  After only a few minutes of hiking we arrived at this:

Alapena Pool and Falls

Below these falls we crossed the river and began hiking up river where there was a clear trail.  After only a few short minutes we came to the second and larger falls. 

Kapena Falls

This is a beautiful place and a short easy hike.  But it has 2 caveats.  First there are a lot of mosquitos, gnats and other flying pesky things.  Second the water didn’t look that clean to me.  I have read reports of this place being littered and there being a lot of broken glass.  We didn’t find this to be the case.  We did see a few tents where people were hunkered down.  But I wasn’t surprised since homelessness is a problem here.  We weren’t tempted to get in and neither were any of the few others that we ran into.  leptospirosis is present in a lot of the free-flowing water here so I am ever wary of that.  There was some debris floating on top of the water but it was nothing more than dead leaves, seed pods etc.  If these falls look familiar it’s because they were featured on the TV series “Lost” which I find ironic since it’s nearly impossible to get lost in finding these falls they are so close to the road. 

The Rest of the Pictures Here


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