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Mount Waialeale is one of the most eye-catching attractions on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. It is a spectacular shield volcano and is renowned for its lush beauty, its exceptionally high rainfall, and its seemingly innumerable number of waterfalls. One of the best ways to explore the island is by helicopter tour, as the high rainfall can make hiking very difficult.

It was the island of Kauai that was used in the filming of the blockbuster 1993 movie Jurassic Park. Visitors are greeted by stunning landscapes that created the world of Jurassic Park. Kauai is a great place to visit, but there are a number of things everyone should be aware of before visiting.


Mount Waialeale - One Of The Wettest Spots In The World

The meaning of Mount Waialeale's name gives an indication of what to expect; its name means "rippling water" or "overflowing water" in Hawaiian. It rises to a height of 5,148 feet (or 1,569 meters), but it's most famous for being one of the wettest places on earth.

  • Height: 5,148 Feet

An enormous about of water gushes off this mountain every year. On average, it is over 373 inches or 9,500 mm of rain (some sources say 450 inches a year). The record was 683 inches or 17,300 mm in 1982. By contrast, the average rainfall in New York City is around 47 inches a year.

  • Average Rainfall: 373 inches (other sources 450 inches) or 9,500 mm
  • Record Rainfall: 683 inches or 17,300 mm

While Mount Waialeale is sometimes claimed to be the wettest spot on earth, it is more accurately one of the wettest. For example, Big Bog on Hawaii's Maui receives an average of around 404 inches or 10,300 mm annually. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the wettest place on earth is the Indian town of Mawsynram, getting a torrential 467.4 inches or 11,570 mm every year.

  • Wettest Place On Earth: Mawsynram, India

But Mount Waialeale does manage to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest number of rainy days - it has up to 350 rainy days per year.

  • Rainy Days: Up To 350 Annually

Related: Hawaii's Forbidden Island Is A Challenge To Visit (Here's What To Know)

Waterfalls Of Mt Waialeale

One of the most iconic attractions on Mt Waialeale is the "Weeping Wall." The Weeping Wall is made up of many thin waterfalls that gush down towards the base of the mountain. At the base of Mount Waialeale is the Blue Hole. The sight is truly a surreal sight to behold.

  • Weeping Wall: Formed From Many Waterfalls Cascading
  • Hiking: Only For Very Skilled Hikers
  • Recommendation: Take An Experienced Guide

It is possible to hike to the Weeping Wall, but visitors are advised to go there with an experienced local guide. There is no maintained trail to the Weeping Wall, and there is the ever-present risk of flash flooding. Hikers above the Guardian Falls are likely to get trapped in the event of a flash flood.

Ankle-deep water can very quickly become chest-high raging torrents.

Related: How To Visit Jurassic Park: Kauai Is The Hawaiian Island That Shaped Your Childhood

Exploring Mt Waialeale & Kauai Island

Mt Waialeale is located almost in the center of the island and is the second-highest point on the island. It is often difficult to see the mountain as it is tucked away in a shroud of wispy rain clouds. The wetness of the mountain is a product of what is known as the "trade wine inversion layer."

There are different ways to explore Mt Waialeale. One of the best ways to see it by oneself is to hike around the surrounding Alakai Wilderness Preserve (also called the Alakai Swamp). There are easy to moderate hikes to explore.

  • Alakai Wilderness Preserve: Good for Hiking

But remember to bring an umbrella, a rain poncho, and a raincoat. Hiking in Kauai requires an extra level of planning - but there are still accessible trails.

The trail winds its way through lush ferns, trees, and forests. Up at the summit, the landscape is fairly barren as the rain washes away the nutrients, there is little sunshine, and few plants and trees can handle so much water.

Hikers should also bear in mind that the sheer wetness of the area makes the trails difficult to hike.

  • Tip: Take A Helicopter Tour of Kauai

Another option is to take a helicopter tour of the island, Island Helicopters offers tours of Kauai as well as the iconic waterfall seen in Jurassic Park.