Tucked away on the north shore of Oahu is one of Hawaii’s most stunning natural wonders, Waimea Falls. Located in Waimea Valley, this majestic waterfall cascades over a sheer cliff face and into a deep pool below. Visitors can take part in breathtaking views from the top or even brave the plunge by swimming to its base. With its lush vegetation and exotic wildlife, it’s no wonder that Waimea Falls has been featured in countless films and television shows – making it one of Hawaii’s most photographed attractions. Whether you are looking for an adventure or just some relaxation, come explore all that Waimea Falls has to offer!


  • Waimea Falls is one of Hawaii’s most stunning natural wonders cascading over 45 feet and has a long history of being associated with Hawaiian culture.
  • Visitors can enjoy all sorts of water sports such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing.
  • Take part in educational programs which offer visitors insight into local Hawaiian customs and traditions whilst exploring the hidden secrets of Waimea Falls.
  • Hikers will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the dramatic waterfall as they traverse through lush tropical paths.


Waimea Waterfalls
© Shutterstock

Waimea Falls is an awe-inspiring sight as it cascades down into the tranquil waters below. The waterfall is over 45 feet in height and is situated within Waimea Valley Audubon Center, a Hawaiian cultural site with many ancient archaeological sites such as temple ruins and heiau (Hawaiian altars). The water comes from the stream that flows through the valley, eventually leading into the Pacific Ocean. The falls have a long history – they are believed to be sacred by local Hawaiian people and were home to a temple dedicated to Laka, the goddess of hula.

In the early days of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Waimea Falls held a sacred significance for the Hawaiian people. Revered as a divine entity, the falls were often the centerpiece for religious ceremonies and rituals. The cascading water was seen as a symbol of life and fertility, and it was believed that the gods could be appeased through offerings and prayers at the falls. These spiritual gatherings at Waimea Falls underscored the profound connection between the Hawaiian people and their natural environment. In the 19th century, Waimea Valley was acquired by a private landowner, marking a pivotal moment for this pristine natural sanctuary. This acquisition sparked a transformation, as the previously secluded Waimea Falls began to garner attention from far and wide. The falls quickly became a popular tourist destination, enchanting visitors with its cascading waters set amidst the rich, green backdrop of the valley. Travelers were captivated by its breathtaking beauty and serenity, making Waimea Falls a must-visit landmark on the island.

Today, the natural beauty of Waimea Falls continues to attract visitors from all over the world who come to admire its majestic presence and take part in its cultural importance. From its breathtaking appearance to its ancient ties with Hawaiian culture, it’s no wonder why Waimea Falls is one of Oahu’s most visited attractions – it truly has something for everyone!

Things to Do

Enjoy Water Sports

© Shutterstock

With a stunning cascading waterfall, surrounded by lush tropical foliage and crystal-clear waters. Ideal for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing, Waimea Falls offers something for everyone. Swimmers can explore the cool waters beneath the falls or venture further downstream to discover hidden treasures such as freshwater eels and colorful fish amongst the coral reefs. For thrillseekers looking to take on more challenging activities, there are plenty of exciting options available. Kayak over rapids or venture out in a canoe for some long-distance paddling; stand-up paddleboarders can traverse the river in search of undiscovered coves and secluded beaches; and anglers can try their luck at catching one of the many species of saltwater fish that inhabit this area.

Journey through Hiking Trails

HIking Hiker at Kauai Hawaii Waimea Waterfall
© Maridav via Canva

The lush, tropical paths lead through the rainforest and end with a spectacular view of the dramatic waterfall. Along the way, hikers will be treated to a variety of native Hawaiian flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for colorful birds such as in the distance. After reaching the base of the falls, witness firsthand their immense power as they cascade down into a pool below. Whether you choose to take a stroll or attempt a more challenging hike up to one of Waimea’s higher points, your efforts will be rewarded with unparalleled views of stunning natural beauty.

Take Part in Educational Programs

Visitors of Waimea Falls can enjoy a truly unforgettable experience with its educational programs. Led by experienced guides, visitors can learn about the history and culture of the area and discover the varying flora and fauna that inhabit this remarkable destination. Through these interactive programs, visitors can gain firsthand knowledge about local Hawaiian customs and traditions while exploring the hidden secrets of Waimea Falls. These educational programs offer a fun way to gain new insights into the diverse topography and wildlife found in this unique environment. They will also be able to explore traditional Hawaiian cultural sites as well as ancient petroglyphs and archaeological ruins in the area.

Tours that Go to Waimea Falls

Toa Luau

Waimea Valley Toa Luau

From USD 115.00


Oahu Island Tour with Lunch

From USD 135.71

Halona Blowhole acts like an ocean-driver geyser as the ocean breezes push waves into the cave below and a hole in the rock formation shoots sea spray jets high into the air.

Ultimate Island Circle Tour

From USD 172.77


Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience at Waimea Falls

Visiting Waimea Falls is an incredible experience, but it’s important to be aware of safety measures while exploring this paradise. Here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable experience:

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Make sure to wear light, comfortable clothes that are suitable for swimming, as well as closed-toe shoes or sandals that can provide good traction on the rocky surfaces near the falls.
  • Respect the area’s cultural significance. This area is held sacred by native Hawaiians, so please refrain from any disrespectful behavior or language when visiting the area.
  • Be prepared for rain. Even though there is usually plenty of sunshine in Hawaii, visitors should bring along a lightweight rain jacket or poncho in case of sudden showers. Beware of the water level as it changes during rainy days.
  • Apply insect repellent. There are plenty of mosquitoes in the area, so make sure to use insect repellent before venturing out into nature to avoid getting bitten.
  • Don’t try to climb up the waterfall. It may look inviting but it’s dangerous; climbing up the waterfalls can cause serious injury or even death due to slippery rocks and strong currents in the water below.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks with you during your hike. The hiking trails around Waimea Falls can be strenuous, so staying hydrated and having a snack during your adventure will keep you energized and help make your trip more enjoyable.

The Best Time to Visit Waimea Falls

The best time to visit Waimea Falls is during the winter months, from November to March. During this time, temperatures are warm and rainfall is lower which makes exploring the area more enjoyable. The Valley Audubon Center also hosts special events around this time for visitors to enjoy including music performances, educational workshops, and cultural demonstrations. Additionally, winter is prime whale watching season in Hawaii so visitors may have the chance to spot humpback whales migrating through the waters nearby.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A leisurely hike spans about 3/4 of a mile and takes just 30 minutes. This paved trail offers easy navigation and gentle hills.

Swimming at Waimea waterfall is allowed! Before taking a dip, make sure to try on different life vests and have one securely fastened while in the swimming area.

Yes, lifeguards are on duty during all open hours and visitors must adhere to their rules for safety reasons while swimming.

Plan for a memorable experience with a recommended itinerary of 5 to 6 hours. This timeframe covers transportation (approximately 2 hours round trip from Honolulu) and allows you ample time, around 3 hours, to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Valley, the mesmerizing waterfall, and the various attractions available.

Yes, Waimea Falls is worth seeing. It is one of the most delightful waterfalls on the North Shore that we highly recommend exploring. The hike to the falls is simple and enjoyable, making it suitable for all ages, including families.

How to Get There

Transportation shuttle services are also available from Hale Ho’ike to Waimea Falls. The first shuttle departs at 9:45 AM and ticket sales for the shuttle end at 3:00 PM. The cost for a one-way ticket is $10 per person.

By Car

The easiest way to get there is by driving. If you’re coming from Waikiki, it should only take about 1 hour. Simply follow I-H-1 West, then I-H-201 West, I-H-1 W, and I-H-2 N to HI-80. Take exit 8 from I-H-2 N, then continue on HI-99 N and HI-83 E until you reach Waimea Valley Road.

By Bus

Alternatively, you can take the bus, but we recommend against it if you’re coming from Waikiki. The bus ride from Honolulu can take up to 2 hours due to frequent stops. However, if you really need to take the bus, catch bus #52 to Haleiwa Town and then transfer to bus #60. Hop off at Waimea Falls Park and it’s just a short 200-yard walk to the entrance.

Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Waimea Falls!

Experience the awe-inspiring and rich cultural heritage of Waimea Falls – a destination like no other! As a must-visit destination on Oahu’s North Shore, this experience offers a truly unique and all-encompassing adventure.