The Heart of Kauai: Aerial view of Mount Waialeale | Tom Robertson

Standing as Kauai’s highest mountain, Mount Kawaikini is the summit of Mount Waialeale, Kauai’s inactive central shield volcano. Other peaks on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai include Waialeale to the north and Namolokama Mountain further north, Nounou to the east, Haupu to the southeast, and Keanapuka Mountain to the northwest.

Visitors can also enjoy Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls) just south-southwest of the mountain and several gorgeous beaches including Lydgate Beach Park, Kalapaki Beach, Kipu Kai Beach, Poipu Beach, Kekaha Beach Park, Miloli‘I Beach, Honopu Beach, Ke’e Beach, Anini Beach, Moloa’a Beach, and Anahola Beach Park.

The Ahukini Recreational Pier State Park on the east side of the mountain offers scenic water views, pole fishing, and crab netting. The Makauwahi Cave Reserve to the south is a wonderful place for observing the local flora and fauna of Kauai, as well as fossils and archeological ruins.

There are several forest and wildlife reserves on the rainy island to protect the rich diversity of Kauai, including the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve to the west, the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge to the north, Wailua River State Park to the east, and Nā Pali-Kona Forest Reserve, Alakaʻi Wilderness Preserve, Halelea Forest Reserve, and Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve in central Kauai.

Fast Facts

Country: United States


Mountain Range: Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain

Parents: Hawaiian Islands

Elevation: 5,243 feet / 1,598 meters

Prominence: 5,243 feet / 1,598 meters

Isolation: 203.4 miles / 327.34 kilometers

Nearest Higher Neighbor (NHN): Puu Kukui

Fun Fact: Kawaikini is known for being one of the rainiest locales, getting about 450 inches of rain per year! It is often referred to as the wettest place on earth, making it tricky to climb! As a matter of fact, the name Ka wai kini tranlates to mean “the multitudinous water” in Hawaiian.

Flora and Fauna

Plant Life: Tropical fruits and nuts like bananas, coconuts, papayas, almonds, macadamia nuts, coffee trees, and tall breadfruit trees thrive on the rainy, warm island of Kauai. Flowering golden shower trees and koa trees are also common on the island. The heliconia, the night-blooming cereus, and the Hawaiian state flower, the hibiscus, offer beautiful blooms around the island.

Animal Life: Feral dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens live on Kauai as a result of the island’s agricultural industry. Some of the sea creatures of the island include the bottlenose, striped, and spinner dolphin, the protected Hawaiian monk seal unique to the Hawaiian islands, and the humpback, sperm, and pygmy killer whale.

Bird Life: Birds common to Kauai include the Hawaiian state bird, the Nene goose, the Hawaiian crow (Alala), and the Hawaiian stilt (Ae’o).


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