Kapena Falls wows, mosquitoes bite in beautiful hike


Kapena Falls just off the Pali Highway.

Imagine walking all the way to the back of a cemetery that you have never been to before, then following what looks to be a pig trail that’s surrounded by tall grass, not knowing if you are going the right direction even though it’s the only direction.

You’re surrounded by vegetation, trees and giant boulders. Your attacked and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. You have to watch your footing because everything is slippery, not to mention keeping an eye out for centipedes.

That’s what it was like for me as I made my way to Kapena Falls near the Pali Highway. It was featured in the television show “LOST” and the movie “The Rundown” starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, and it’s a beautiful but muddy quick hike for those who want to get in touch with nature but only though a quick walk.

While searching for Kapena Falls, you will run into Alapena Falls. Alapena Falls is about a quarter of the size of Kapena Falls, about 2 minutes away from Kapena Falls and not much to look at.

To reach Kapena Falls you have to either walk though Nu‘uanu Memorial Park and Mortuary, which is the safest route, or enter on the side of the Pali Highway. It is about a 20-minute walk from the beginning of the cemetery to Kapena Falls if you’re taking your time and sightseeing.

When sightseeing on the trail notice the beauty of the wild flowers off in the distance and how quite it is, even though it is next to a highway. The only thing that is disappointing about this trail is the graffiti all over the boulders.

Kapena Falls is approximately 30 feet tall. While the water cascades down the falls, it looks clear and pure, nothing like the pool of water waiting at the bottom. At the bottom lays a pool of stagnant water, which has a grayish brown coloring to it and is just screaming leptospirosis. For those of you who don’t know, leptospirosis is a rare severe bacterial infection that can be found in fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine.

The trail in the 20-minute walk to Kapena Falls. Photo by Keri Lynne

On the side closest to the Pali Highway, there is a cliff that people jump from into the brackish waters. The cliff itself is at least four times the size of the falls, not meant for someone that’s scared of heights.

With lots of banyan trees

surrounding the immediate area, it didn’t look like there were any recent landslides, giving the impression

that the landscape is semi-stable. However there are boulders all over. So watch out for falling rocks.

When leaving, head back in the same direction you came from. I advise that you leave before the sun goes down because it gets really dark.

For people who are not avid hikers, this is the best place to go to as it has a slight incline so you don’t feel it.

Don’t worry about sweat because the trees shade you most of

The view may be beautiful but the mosquitoes make it an uncomfortable time. Photo by Keri Lynne

the way there.

When you go, make sure you have the following on your checklist. First off, bring

mosquito repellent, so the mosquitoes won’t eat you alive. Wear gripped shoes because there are centipedes all over the place, and it does get slippery if you go after it rains. Bring water since the falls water is not drinkable. Last but not least, bring food if you want to make an event out of the day. If you want to adventure off from the falls, follow the stream.