We are fascinated by the mysterious interior of Kauai and will take any opportunity to go as far inland on the island as possible. The vast majority of the island is unseen and relatively unknown. We’re still trying to wrap our head around the fact that hundreds of thousands of people (some estimates say one million) lived on the island when Captain James Cook first visited in the late 1700s and that at one time much of Kauai’s vegetation had been stripped. Today, dense vegetation hinders access to much of the island.
There are only a few roads that take you into the interior, including Waimea Canyon Road (and related roads) on the west side and Loop Road near Waimea Homesteads. On the North Shore, Wainiha Powerhouse Road takes you into Wainiha Valley where the last remnants of the legendary Menehune reportedly lived.
Wainiha Powerhouse is a curious road. The unmarked road feels a little like the Appalachian mountains. Though close to world class beaches, the road takes you into a rural, country mountain setting. The road is lined by vegetation and parts are shaded. There are many rural dwellings (farms, ranch houses etc.) along the road, but many are out of view below the road in the valley below. A few of the properties are available as vacation rentals.
Along the way are several epic mountain vistas and a far off glimpse of a magnificent waterfall. (The name of the waterfall, if it has one, eludes us. If you know the name of the waterfall please contact us.)
Near the end of the road you will see why it’s called Powerhouse when you see the electric power station. At the very end of the road is a gate with multiple no trespassing signs, and sometimes there is a horse at the gate. Do not venture beyond this point. This is private property and the owners are very protective.
The road is on the North Shore of Kauai past the town of Hanalei. It is paved but unmarked. When going north on 560 it is the first road on your left past the double bridge at Wainiha. If you visit Wainiha Powerhouse Road, be considerate and drive slow as this is a residential area. There are often children present, and on our last drive down the road a young boy in a tiger costume jumped out in front of our car to “scare us.”
Location at Google Maps
Wainiha Powerhouse Road Photos
Above and below: Unique vistas of Kauai can be seen along Wainiha Powerhouse Road.
Above: A magnificent waterfall can be seen in the distance.
The end of the road. It’s pretty clear that you should not venture beyond this gate, or even spend too much time here. Beyond this property is the private 7,050 acre Wainiha Preserve.