Kipu Falls, Hawaii: A Glorious Hidden Place With A Deadly Reputation

If you pick up a travel guidebook for Hawaii you will see under the listing of Kipu Falls “a glorious little hidden place” and “a swimming hole extraordinaire” but it has a bad side to all this beauty. In the last 5 years there have been 5 people who have drowned including 2 since December. Most of the incidents occurred after swimmers leaped off the waterfall at the top to the water twenty feet below. As they were making an attempt to swim to the shore they were pulled down to their deaths.

Some of them did manage to get out but suffered injuries to their chest, perforated eardrums, rope burns, sprained and broken ankles. There has even been one incident in which a young girl was left paralyzed. There is speculation as to whether or not there is a whirlpool current there which lead to the local authorities pushing for restrictions to the Falls and for all guidebooks to take out any references to Kipu Falls.

The Hawaiian legislature tried to get a bill passed that would have had any writer or publisher of travel guides take responsibility for a reader who died or was injured while being on private property but the bill did not pass. Publishers protested that their First Amendment rights were violated.

The locals are questioning as to whether there is an angry “mo’o” living in Kipu Falls. A “mo’o”, according to folk legend, is a “Hawaiian water spirit lizard.” The Falls are along the Huleia Stream in a little clearing.

Kipu Falls, Kauai

The 20-rock wall surrounds most of the falls and a ropeswing dangles 


Kipu Falls – Puhi, HI

33 Reviews of Kipu Falls “It’s lots of fun for everyone but a steep grade so bring good “off road” shoes.”


Kipu Falls – Kauai – Reviews of Kipu Falls – TripAdvisor

Jul 3, 2011  Kipu Falls, Kauai: See 20 reviews, articles, and 18 photos of Kipu Falls, ranked No.122 on TripAdvisor among 253 attractions in Kauai.


Man drowns after jumping from Hawaii falls – Orange County Register

Jun 27, 2011  Kipu Falls on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.  A Hawaii newspaper is reporting that an Irvine man drowned Sunday afternoon at Kipu Falls