Take a HikeKaua‘i
Kaua‘i is renowned for its HIKING TRAILS and BACKCOUNTRY VISTAS. This list covers all the basics of the island treks.
To start, WAIMEA CANYON, the 3,000-foot-deep centerpiece of KOKE‘E STATE PARK, is a premier hiking experience. One trail at the canyon ends at an 800-foot waterfall, and while strenuous, the hike will provide visitors with solitude and glimpses of exotic rainforest vegetation.
Those seeking a more ambitious expedition might attempt the 6 miles beyond WAIPO‘O FALLS to the CANYON AND KUMUWELA TRAILS. This trip must be undertaken early in the day to guarantee a daylight return to your car.
If wading through a murky upland swamp suits your fancy, try the ALAKA‘I SWAMP TRAIL in Koke‘e State Park. The swamp is actually a mountain rainforest rising 4,000-4,500 feet above sea level. It’s a bird-lover’s paradise that features a boardwalk.
OKOLEHAU TRAIL near Hanalei is a favorite of many seasoned hikers. This 2.25-mile hike begins at the HANALEI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE and ends at a peak 1,200 feet up in the HALELE‘A FOREST RESERVE. To get to the trailhead, go past Princeville and turn left after you cross the Hanalei Bridge.
POWERLINE TRAIL on the North Shore and SLEEPING GIANT near Kapa‘a are other favorites. And, of course, the Holy Grail of hiking on Kaua‘i has to be the 22-mile roundtrip KALALAU TRAIL—an endurance trek along the stunning NAPALI COAST. A lot of people pack it up with a 4-mile round-trip to HANAKAPI‘AI VALLEY, which is just the first leg of the trail. By the time you hit the white-sand beach, you’ve forded a stream, done some hardy hiking and had a look at magnificent vistas. If your leg muscles will take it, go inland another two miles to HANAKAPI‘AI FALLS. You’ll be rewarded with a pool below a 300-foot cascading waterfall.
Plan your trip before you leave, and never hike alone. Be aware that Kaua‘i’s terrain is crumbly, and rain can create treacherous conditions on any trail.
For safety tips and the most up-to-date information on Kaua‘i’s trails and conditions, contact the State of Hawai‘i Trail and Access program at (808) 274-3433 or visit www.hawaiitrails.org.
• Island Adventures (808) 246-6333