Heed Safety Warnings On Hawaii Hikes: Latest Incident

Last Friday, a California visitor slipped and fell 25 feet on a famous trail hike on Kauai. The man, aged 67, was en route to the pool below the Wailua Falls lookout and parking lot when the problem occurred. This comes after a recent discussion about implementing a required search and rescue insurance program for this type of issue. After all, the trail where the visitor fell is closed, specifically due to the dangers.

Latest Hawaii hikes fall. 

The most recent fall occurred soon after his family started down the steep and dangerous trail at about 10 am. A nurse who was at the falls went to assist the hiker before emergency responders could arrive. When he was rescued using a hauling device and taken to hospital, he was found to have sustained multiple head injuries.

Regarding Wailua Falls, someone said, basically, don’t do it. “There is a reason the fences were put up, and warning signs posted…!!! Please go visit the waterfalls and bathe in its beauty, don’t let it become your memorial.”

The moral of the story is this.

Wailua Falls is a great place for photos. It is not safe for hiking, which is why the trail is closed. You may be in good enough shape to hike this trail (or other equally dangerous Hawaii trails). But also keep in mind that when someone sees you down there, they may believe that they can do it too. And then what if they can’t?

Wailua Falls is beautiful, especially after rainfall, but can only be seen legally from above the falls adjacent to the parking lot. The hike to the bottom is treacherous and closed. The path is still there, however, and some people attempt it. It is extremely steep and muddy. There are ropes to hold on to as the trail is straight down and foot holes to navigate.

See: Will Hawaii Search and Rescue Insurance Be Required as Liability Lurks.

13 thoughts on “Heed Safety Warnings On Hawaii Hikes: Latest Incident”

  1. All state, local and national parks (in every state in the USA) should have a disclaimer—if you are stupid enough to ignore he signs, you pay for your rescue. Why should taxpayers have to?

  2. We’ve been to that falls many times over the years, and invariably we see some idiots climbing around the fence in the parking lot to get to the top of the falls, or around the fence to the right of the lookout to get to the pool. I’ve seen some other flagrant disregard of the rules and warnings at other places…. to point out just a couple, climbing on top of the fence at the Napali Coast lookout at the end of Kokee Rd, swimming in the surf at Polihale Beach, and the ones that really irk me- trying to pet monk seals and frightening the turtles at Poipu Beach. It’s pretty hard to help someone when they’re stuck on stupid.

  3. Why cant people just obey signs? They are put up for a reason; whether it’s for privacy, safety, or to protect the landscape plants. How arrogant and disrespectful to think your individual needs are more important. Thank you.

  4. Aloha Jeff and Rob. Once again, Mahalo for your valuable info. I have to say I am angry and tired of these people who defy the rules of Kauai. If they’re arrogant enough not to follow the rules, they should definitely be responsible for the price of rescuing them. This is ridiculously expensive, and the island is already struggling to recover. Shame on them. Send them the bill.

    1. Claudia, I agree with you 100%. If you ignore warning signs and are injured because of it you should be billed for the cost of the rescue services. If it takes monetary consequences to get people to stop then so be it

  5. Hi guys. Thanks for always keeping us informed. It would be nice if the DOT or Parks Department or whoever controls the area could trim down the trees and brush on the other side of the fence to make it easier to actually view the falls from the parking area. I’m sure that’s not an easy task, but it just might keep people from entering the area.

    1. Hi Pam.

      Thanks. Yes a good idea. From the people we’ve seen heading down, it seems doubtful that would deter them.


    2. Wailua Falls has been a popular swimming,hiking spot for decades;we brought our kids there. -it’s not only visitors who are being rescued,residents are too,especially on Oahu. For decades people enjoyed these” dangerous “ places-what changed?
      More people,and perhaps people not realizing their limits.Perhaps Hawaii needs more guided access to trails,it’s not something we’re used to ;but do we want more and more trails off limits because of danger?-I went on guided hikes in Italy and is something visitor destinations all over the world are doing. -I hope the best for that family.

      1. I, too, took my kids and my sister there Pre-Iniki and I moved off island after that. I had no idea it had closed. While living there in the 80’s, families (residents & visitors) hiked down to swim in the pool all the time. It was warned that it was steep, but not closed back then.

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