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Hidden Valley Falls: Day Trips and Tours from Garden Isle

Nothing portrays paradise like a lush, serene waterfall-filled valley within the tropical gem of Hawaii’s Kauai island. The Hidden Valley waterfalls do its name more than justice.

On your day trip to Hidden Valley Falls in Kauai, kayak your way down the peaceful Hule’ia river and explore hidden coves and waterfalls, one of Kauai’s best-kept secrets.

Here is everything you need to know about Hidden Valley Falls, one of the most exciting day trips in Kauai.

Where are the Hidden Valley falls located in Kauai?

The Hidden Valley falls are located in the Hule’ia Wildlife refuge on the south-eastern shore of Kauai. The wildlife refuge is just south of the cities of Hanamaulu and Lihue.

How to reach Hidden Valley falls by car

The Hidden Valley falls are a short drive from Kauai’s largest city, Kapa’a. From the city center, take Highway 56 and head south towards Hanamaulu and Lihue.

Once through Lihue, exit the highway and go past Nawiliwili harbor towards the Wildlife Refuge. The journey of 20 kilometers will take about 25 minutes.

Guided tour to the Hidden Valley falls

A guided tour to the Hidden Valley falls is one of the best ways to experience this extraordinary destination — as is the case for Kauai’s other attractions like the Na Pali coast, Waimea canyon, Niihau and the Fern grotto.

Most day trips start in Lihue at the tour offices. They tend to be half-day tours with loads of activities included. Even though these tours include physical activities like hiking and kayaking, they are suited to most travelers.

What is the typical itinerary?

Most Hidden Valley day tours start from the tour operator’s location in Lihue. Here, you’ll receive your safety briefing and get acquainted with your equipment before your transport takes you to the Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge.

Pretty soon, you’ll realize why this idyllic setting has been featured in blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Lost World.

A downwind paddle allows you to take in mesmerizing views of the Haupu volcanic mountain range and the lush jungle growth. Leave your kayaks by the river and walk through the pristine rain forest on a well-kept trail.

The 2.4 kilometers trek isn’t too demanding, but a general level of fitness is advised. The short trek is rewarded by the stunning scenes of the Hidden Valley falls, where you can explore numerous pool drops, swim and enjoy a refreshing lunch or snacks.

Then it’s back to the river for a motorized canoe ride back home.

What kinds of tours are available?

Given the nature of the Hidden Valley falls, it comes as no surprise that the number of tour operators that include this gem in their options is limited. We have, however, gathered the two best day trip tours to the Hidden Valley falls for you to choose from.

Hidden Valley falls kayak and Kauai hike adventure

This day trip to the Hidden Valley falls has it all — kayak, canoe, and hike your way on serene rivers, through ancient rain forests and refreshing rock pools.

The 4.5-hour trip is just long enough to enjoy your surroundings to the fullest without pushing you to the brink. Thus, participants should be comfortable kayaking for 60 to 90 minutes and hiking over 2 kilometers.

The exertion is well worth it, as you sit by these picturesque falls and listen to the stories and the myths that surround them. Take a moment and wade through the refreshing pools while taking in the sounds of the Kauai jungle.

Then it’s time for some much-deserved cold drinks and snacks before heading back. Luckily, your daily dose of exercise is behind you, as you board a motorized canoe for the final part of your journey.

Hidden Valley falls kayak adventure

This day trip is perfect for anyone dreaming of a kayaking adventure in a lush tropical rain forest. Experience the awe-inspiring sights that have made the Hidden Valley falls feature in a number of Hollywood blockbusters.

A laid-back downwind paddle on the Hule’ia river allows you to experience the Hule’ia Wildlife Refuge in all its glory. The kayaking isn’t all that challenging, and it's perfect for participants of all ages and abilities.

The kayak itself does have a weight limit, so it’s best to confirm this when making your booking.

Disembark your kayaks for a short trek through the jungle — don’t worry, the trail is well maintained by the authorities — and you’ll find yourself at the Hidden Valley falls.

There are numerous rock pools and drops to explore or just laze about in. Then it's back to the river for a boat drive back to the starting point.

How much does a tour to the Hidden Valley falls cost?

Hidden Valley falls tours cost about US$140 per person and include hiking or kayaking adventures.

When is the best time to visit the Hidden Valley falls in Kauai?

The best time to visit the Island of Kauai is from September to December and April to June, and it is best to visit the Hidden Valley falls in the morning.

Travel tips

  • Wear sunscreen and take extra water for drinking.
  • A waterproof bag is handy when storing mobile phones during kayaking.
  • Apply insect repellent when exploring rain forests.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, which are ideally a pair you don’t mind getting wet.