Aptly named, Kauai’s Red Dirt Falls near Waimea Canyon is what a waterfall on Mars might look like. The series of small waterfalls really stand out on Kauai’s famous oxidized red dirt which is particularly rich (and exposed) in this area. The falls are easily found and accessed from the road leading to Waimea Canyon, and it’s a must stop, must see attraction. Visitors enjoy snapping photos at the falls and jumping over the stream above the falls.
Kauai’s red dirt is due to oxidation of the island’s iron rich basalt rock. Kauai, at 5.1 million years old, is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. Over time, the volcanic dirt has literally rusted. The red dirt is a signature of Kauai and is especially noticeable on the exposed western side of Kauai where there is less vegetation. In fact, the word waimea translates to “reddish water” in the Hawaiian language. Kauai’s Original Red Dirt Shirt Company is famous for selling shirts stained with the “ultra iron rich” red dirt soil of the region.
Red Dirt Falls is located on the left side of the road (State Hwy 550) leading to Waimea Canyon. There’s a small pullout on the right side of the road that can accommodate several cars for parking. There’s also a spectacular view of lower Waimea Canyon on the right side of the road.
Location at Google Maps
Red Dirt Falls Photos
Across the road from Red Dirt Falls is this nice view of lower Waimea Canyon. Apparently, it’s also become a popular place to stack stones.
The view from the top of Red Dirt Falls.