About Hoopii Falls
Hoopii Falls (or Ho’opi’i Falls) is actually a series of two waterfalls nestled within the quieter, more residential side of Kapa’a.
The falls are said to be on state land, but the trailhead to the falls was unsigned when we were there, and thus was not easy to find. Compounding our confusion were a bunch of “No Trespassing” signs and guard dogs, and it made us wonder whether residents here really wanted tourists coming to the falls even though it’s supposed to be public. Then again, I don’t really blame them considering the area wasn’t all that well equipped for tourist traffic. So with that said, it would be wise to respect the locals’ desire for privacy and peace so tread lightly.
Even though there were two waterfalls, it was only one of them that was officially named Hoopii Falls. Apparently, local and government maps disagree over which waterfall got the official name, but I think ultimately it was supposed to be the latter, taller waterfall.
Speaking of which, the Upper Ho’opi’i Falls was said to be 10-15ft tall with a deep plunge pool. We saw a couple of kids here enjoying themselves in the shadowy pool downstream of the falls itself. The Lower Ho’opi’i Falls was said to be about 30ft tall in a darker more primitive part of the Kapa’a Stream. This waterfall didn’t look like it was a good place for a swim.
The way we walked to both falls was as follows.
We walked to the end of the old dirt road (once we found it; see directions below). Then we followed the trail down a muddy, slippery slope to the south bank of Kapa’a Stream. The trail narrowed and continued downstream along the banks of Kapa’a Stream for about a half-mile to a spur. Then, we turned left at the spur, where we were close enough to hear a waterfall. A few more minutes of downhill scrambling led us to the top of Upper Ho’opi’i Falls.
Back on the main trail, we then continued when the trail quickly reached another steep and slippery downhill section, which reunited with the Kapa’a Stream. At the stream was a junction with a choice between upstream and downstream paths. The upstream path went for a few minutes to a rocky area where Kapa’a Stream met the Upper Ho’opi’i Falls’ plunge pool. I’d imagine this was the way those kids accessed the plunge pool of the falls. Meanwhile, the downstream path eventually led us deeper into a dark and shaded forest. Here, the trail deteriorated into a maze of confusing false trails, low-hanging branches, and large fallen trees.
As we continued on the darker, primitive trail, we basically stuck close to Kapa’a Stream to avoid getting lost. And finally within 15-30 minutes, the trail climbed alongside a large fallen tree to arrive at a narrow ledge where we were able to capture the view of Lower Ho’opi’i Falls.
Due to the presence of many residential roads and bypasses in Kapa’a, there are many ways to get from Hwy 56 to the start of the Hoopii Falls hike. We will highlight the way we went here.
From Lihu’e, we took Hwy 56 north into downtown Kapa’a turning left onto Kawaihau Road (about 9 miles north of Lihu’e) and followed this road for 3 miles through the Kapa’a Homesteads residential area to Kapahi Road. We then turned sharply right onto Kapahi Road, where we slowly looked for parking (may be difficult when you try it) near the unsigned, old public dirt road on the left. That dirt road was elusive because it was unsigned and sandwiched between private residences.
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