Wailua Heritage Trail

Wailua Heritage Trail
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Address Kuamoo Rd, Kapaa, HI 96746
Several significant points of interest on Kauai.

• General: Cost: Free • General: Photo Opportunity • Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Nature Walk • Tours: Self Guided
• Cultural & Historical: Heiau / Sacred Site

The Wailua Heritage Trail is a series of several significant points of interest on the island of Kaua'i. Here's the list...

Wailua Beach & Wailua Bay

In ancient Hawaii, this area served as a main port of entry for Kaua'i. It's said that ali'i (chiefs), voyagers, and deities such as Mo'ikeha, Kaweloleimakua, and Hi'iakaikapoliopele arrived here. More at: Wailua Beach

Opaeka'a Falls

The word Opaeka'a means "rolling shrimp" in Hawaiian and refers to the native, freshwater shrimp (known as Opaekala'ole) that were once plentiful in various mountain streams on Kaua'i. Come and visit this easy to enjoy waterfall that you can drive up and see without any hiking. More at: Opaeka'a Falls

Wai'ale'ale Mountains

These mountains are among the wettest spots on earth with 400 to 600 inches of annual rainfall. The peak is called Kawaikini and it is the highest point on the entire island at 5,243 feet above sea level.

Sleeping Giant - Nounou Mountain

Legend says that this area was once the setting for a battle between powerful warrior chiefs known as 'Aikanaka and Kaweloleimakua back in the 17th century. One legend says the giant is Puni who fell asleep on the ridge and turned to stone and has remained there to this day. Another says that the giant was tricked into eating heavy lava rocks that were hidden in fish ponds and poi fields. The giant soon took a nap and has never awoken. If you'd like to hike up Nounou Mountain you can do so via the Nounou-East Trail / Sleeping Giant Trail, Nounou-West Trail, or Kuamo'o Nounou Trail. The trails aren't for everyone but the views from the top are incredible. More at: Sleeping Giant - Nounou Mountain

Wailua River & Mauna Kapu

The Wailua River cuts through the Sleeping Giant - Nounou Mountain to the north and the Mauna Kapu mountains to the south. Ih you're looking for some incredible scenery then grab your camera and start shooting. If things look familiar that's because the Wailua River was featured in many films such as Pagan Love Song, Donovan's Reef, Islands in the Stream, and Outbreak (for more movie and TV trivia see Popular Movies & TV Shows Filmed In Hawaii). More at: Wailua River


This is part of an ancient pathway known as "The Long Spine Of Kane" that led to the summit of Wai'ale'ale. Ceremonies used to be conducted there at the Ka'awakoa Heiau that was dedicated to the god, Kane. These ceremonies were thought to keep the supply of fresh water flowing to sustain the lands and people of Kaua'i.

Holoholoku Heiau & Pohaku Ho'ohanau / Royal Birthing Stones

Pohaku Ho'ohanau, or the Royal Birthing Stones as they're more often called, is a very special and sacred place in Hawaiian history and culture. This area was once a special place where royalty would give birth to help ensure the chiefly status of the newborn. Right next to it is Holoholoku Heiau which is thought to be the oldest heiau (temple) on Kauai. More at: Holoholoku Heiau and Pohaku Ho'ohanau / Royal Birthing Stones

Hikinaakala Heiau at Hauola

It's said that Hikinaakala Heiau was created as a place to worship the sun. Considering it's incredible location right next to Lydgate Beach Park we can see why. This one is easy to find at the far north end of Lydgate Beach Park, right next to the keiki (kids) swimming area. More at: Hikinaakala Heiau

Ma'ama'akualono (Fern Grotto)

This area was known to ancient Hawaiians as Ma'ama'akualono, but today we just call it Fern Grotto because of the long Boston Sword ferns that hang down over the cave. The grotto was dedicated to Lono, the god of agriculture and cultivation and who was also important in the practices of healing. You can only access the grotto by boat on the Wailua River, which is part of the Wailua River State Park. Tours to the fern grotto are offered by Smith's Kauai Garden Luau / Tropical Paradise. More at: Smith's Fern Grotto Wailua River Cruise