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The hike to the base of Kauai's Opaekaa Falls, a popular tourist site, is very steep in certain areas. CLICK FOR LARGE
2 women die at Kauai falls
The visitors from California plummet hundreds of feet off a trail
KAPAA, Kauai » Two female hikers from California died yesterday after falling about 250 to 300 feet from an unmarked hiking trail.
The two women, whose identities were not released last night, were hiking along the trail to the base of Opaekaa Falls, a popular tourist site.
While most tour buses and tourists stop at the top of the falls, the trail, which is on state land, leads to the base of the falls and a hidden pool.
The trail is unmarked with a small dirt turnout off the well-traveled Opaekaa Road, but it is listed in many guide books.
The trail is steep in spots, with ropes fastened to trees to help hikers down the usually muddy slope. The area is also dense with thick vegetation and trees.
It was unclear where the women fell from the trail, but there is a small clearing at the top of the falls where hikers can stand at the edge and look down to the pool nearly 300 feet below.
According to Kauai fire officials, the two women fell hundreds of feet down to the base, about 35 feet from the pool. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fall last night.
Two other hikers in the area discovered the women and one of them ran to the trail head and called 911 at around 1 p.m.
Rescuers from the fire department, police officers and personnel from the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, turned the parking lot, usually filled with rental cars and tour buses, into a makeshift rescue site. It was closed until 5 p.m.
The women were pronounced dead at the scene and transported out of the area via helicopter, county officials said.