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Exploring: Insider's Guide > Best Hidden Places > Spalding Monument, Kauai

Spalding Monument, Kauai

The monument itself, built to honor a former plantation manager, is not the real goal of your outing. The visit is worthwhile because of the views and the hikes. The sugar plantations have closed and future use of the land is not certain, so this is a good time to enjoy the sights here.

You get there by going north on Kuhio Highway from Kapaa, and turning left onto Kealia Road. Keep right past the closed post office, and head uphill on the paved road through bougainvillea; the road becomes pothole paved. Pass pastures on the left and cane fields on the right and look for the line of Norfolk pines up and to your left, which mark Spalding Monument.

The SPALDING STROLL is down the dirt drive fringed by tall Norfolk pines that lead away from the palm-encircled monument. You get some blue-water looks of the Kapaa coast and close-up views of a moist woodland valley. This hike will delight bird watchers. In about a mile, where a road veers to the right, the path you're on starts to drop steeply. The road continues down to a valley inland from Kealia, but you'll probably want to turn around.

WAIPAHEE FALLS, once a renowned tourist attraction, has been fenced off and closed for years due to flash flood and other hazards. Still, the walk to KANEHA RESERVOIR, near the falls, is beautiful, taking you through scenery evoking the green hills of Africa.

The trailhead for the falls is down Kealia Road. As you face the gate at Spalding Monument, go .5-mile to your right and look on your left for a Kealia Hunter Checking Station, Unit C mailbox. Park there. At first you will get only occasional glimpses of the Anahola Mountains on your right. At .3-mile, veer left when you have a choice, and at 1 mile also go left as you pass a paved airstrip on your right. Beyond the airstrip, views open up, and in another .25-mile you reach the road that comes in from the locked gate at the monument. Continue to your right on the road.

At about 2 miles in, you'll start to get big views of the Makaleha Mountains to your left, and, in the mid-distance, of fleecy monkeypod trees scattered over line-green slopes. At 2.75 miles, take a left fork in the road that leads to the reservoir and fenced-off spur trail to the falls.

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