Backroads climb up into the bottom of the east crater of Wai’ale’ ale, below the wettest spot on the planet. From the end of the paved road at the Keaha Arboretum we have to drive through two streams and navigate unsigned, muddy and rough backroads deep into the rainforest. For those wishing to explore the Kaapoko Tunnels or the Blue Hole, access is best done by 4WD. Numerous muddy tracks go off into the wet jungle so use the odometer or a GPS to keep track of the right spot. Park at the gate at the end of the road and walk up the road for about 12 minutes. At an old pull-out on the left, turn off the road and look for the trail.
The slopes of an outlier peak of Wai’ ale’ ale rise above the dense jungle/rainforest rise above the trail.
Near the start of the trail is a diversion ditch. Locals float down the tunnel on inner tubes in the dark.
The trail/route goes over a ridge and down to a pool at the the other end of the tunnel.
Two small cascades empty into the same pool.
From the Jungle Hike we worked our way back out to the road and continued to hike to the end at the river.
There is a gauging station on the North Fork of the Wailua River. From there only a rough track follows the river up to the Blue Hole, the end of the canyon under the Weeping Wall of Wai’ ale’ ale (helicopters fly right into the canyon). This is an adventurous scramble even in dry conditions.
After a rainfall (most days), dozens of waterfalls tumble down the mountain feeding the streams and rivers of the east shore of Kauai. We once came to the Weeping wall after a rainfall from a helicopter, but we find the hike more interesting and engaging.
The wet rainforest/jungle of the area is intriguing, but come prepared to face the mud and rain, but most of all bring your sense of wonder.
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