While the breathtaking Hawaiian Islands are home to countless stunning beaches, sometimes you want something a little more adventurous — perhaps a local swimming hole with a gorgeous waterfall accessible only via a lovely hike through the Hawaiian jungle, a la the Makaleha Trail in Kauai.

Before we dive into exploring this stunning waterfall swimming hole, it is important to issue a friendly warning about the risks associated with flash flooding, and leptospirosis bacteria found in many of Hawaii’s natural pools. It is advised that you check weather reports before heading out for the day, never swim when you have open wounds, and to always watch your step. With that warning out of the way, welcome to Makaleha Falls.

Have you ever hiked the Makaleha Trail in Kauai? What’s your favorite waterfall hike in Hawaii? Share it with us in the comments below – we love hearing from you!

And for more incredible waterfall swimming holes in the Aloha State, be sure check out our previous article.

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Makaleha Trail in Kauai

What are some of the most scenic hikes in Hawaii?

In terms of scenic hikes in Hawaii, nothing quite compares to the various hiking trails at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Within this magnificent 523-mile expanse, the Thurston Lava Tube is an enchanting wonder that's easy to reach. Also known as Nāhuku, this 500-year-old lava cave sits at the end of a short, easy day hike. Another point of interest, especially for history buffs, is the Puʻu Loa Petroglyphs Trail. Pu’u Loa, which means "long hill" or "hill of long life," is a sacred place to the Hawaiian people. The largest group of Hawaiian petroglyphs can be found here, dated to 1200-1450 A.D. There are an estimated 23,000 petroglyphs at this site.

Another immensely scenic hike is the one to the famous Kalaupapa Overlook in Pala’au State Park, which offers stunning vistas of the Molokoi Sea Cliffs. The island of Molokai was formed from two distinct shield volcanoes: the east and west Molokai volcanoes. The East Molokai Volcano suffered from a catastrophic collapse approximately 1.5 million years ago, forming the impressive sea cliffs you’ll find today!

Finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate Hawaiian hike with some of the best views that Maui has to offer, all within a short, well-maintained trail managed by the National Parks System, look no further than Pipiwai Trail. The four-mile round trip trek will take you on quite the enchanting journey through a lush Hawaiian tropical rainforest to four absolutely incredible natural wonders: a towering banyan tree, a bamboo forest, and two gorgeous cascading waterfalls. Read more about this gorgeous hike.

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