16 Lovely and Greatest Hikes in Kauai, Hawaii


With a few of the most spectacular climbing trails from Waimea Canyon to the Sleeping Large Path, Kauai climbing was made for the adventurous soul. The Hawaiian island’s huge north shore, the place the Na Pali Coast reigns supreme, harbors lots of the finest hikes in Kauai and Hawaii. Hawaii is residence to world-class climbing. We’ve uncovered the most effective of them proper right here.

There are family-friendly Kauai hikes, however a few of the trekking right here isn’t for the faint of coronary heart. With muddy trails, dense forests, and dramatic cliffs, the island makes you’re employed for each mile. Convey alongside your hardest climbing footwear, for a spot that rewards your effort tenfold. End up at spectacular waterfalls or soak within the inspiring vistas. Listed here are our prime picks for the most effective hikes on Kauai.

Lovely Hikes in Kauai, Hawaii

Get your map of trailheads for the most effective climbing trails in Kauai right here

Mahaulepu Heritage Path

One of many best hikes to finish on Kauai is the Mahaulepu Heritage Path. With minimal elevation acquire, the trek is extra akin to a good looking coastal stroll. Beginning at Shipwreck Seashore trek alongside the memorable limestone cliffs, cross kiawe bushes earlier than reaching the Makauwahi caves. Spot extra fossilized marine life hidden among the many lush foliage.

The preliminary trek ends at Mahaulepu Seashore, a distant a part of the island’s southern shoreline. Remoted and fragile, benefit from the stunning scenes earlier than softly wandering again to the trailhead.

  • Trailhead: Shipwreck Seashore
  • Distance: Four miles
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Achieve: 150ft

Sleeping Large Path (Nounou Mountain)

kauai hiking sleeping giant view

Trekking alongside the ridgeline of Nounou Mountain Path is likely one of the finest hikes in Kauai. Native legend tells the story of an enormous who feasted at a celebration in his title earlier than drifting off to everlasting sleep. Naturally, the epic ridgeline resembles the define of the sleeping large and might be seen from varied elements of the island. To begin, the hike guides you thru an immense plantation of bushes, earlier than the switchbacks take you up the ridge.

These bushes have been planted in unison within the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and have grown into giants themselves. When you’re above the treeline, you may see perpetually. The ridgeline plateaus providing thrilling climbing to match the spectacular views. Arrive earlier than sundown to seize the golden hour from above!

  • Trailhead: East of Halelili Street
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 948ft

Searching for extra hikes in Hawaii? Try these different locations to hike in Hawaii

Kalalau Path

Kalalau Trail in Kuaii

In case you solely have time to do one full day hike on Kauai Island, then why not do the most effective one? The Kalalau Path is an epic journey suited to extra superior hikers and might be break up right into a multi-day journey. Starting at Ke’e Seashore, the path winds alongside the huge Na Pali Coast and eleven miles alongside you’ll arrive on the distant Kalalau Seashore. The secluded spot rewards beautiful views and the most effective spot to camp wherever on the island.

Keep for an evening or two earlier than finishing the return journey again to Ke’e Seashore. The path’s size, together with some treacherous terrain, has not stopped it from turning into some of the standard hikes in Kauai. The truth is, you’ll want to use for a allow earlier than setting off. We suggest making use of round Four months upfront.

  • Trailhead: Ke’e Seashore
  • Distance: 22 miles
  • Issue: Troublesome
  • Elevation Achieve: 6177ft

Talking of wonderful hikes, Oahu has its justifiable share. You’ll be able to learn all about them right here.

Waipo’o Falls Path (Waimea Canyon Path)

Earlier than starting this hike, it’s finest to examine your expectation on the door. The Waipo’o Falls Path is a few of the finest Kauai climbing, however not for the explanations you’d count on. The view in the direction of the aforementioned falls is proscribed on this trek. The truth is, the path leads you to the highest of them.

Which will result in an anti-climax for a lot of hikers, however not for you. Since you’re doing this hike to see the beautiful views of Waimea Canyon. Typically in comparison with the Grand Canyon, textures, colours and rock patterns of the Waimea canyon promise to blow you away.

There are a number of fast detours that grant distinctive views, however the principle path results in an enormous stretch of rock that overlooks a hair-raising drop into Waimea Canyon. The hike attracts respectable crowds due to easy accessibility and the temporary journey.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: Four miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 1600ft

Kuilau Ridge Path

kauai hiking trails kuilau ridge trail

In case you’re after brief but adventurous day hikes in Kauai, then think about trekking the Kuilau Ridge Path. From the Keahua Arboretum hikers have the built-in benefit of starting at elevation. So, from step one, you’re rewarded with prompt views.

Like plenty of trails of Kauai, the trail might be muddy, particularly after rain. This could make the path somewhat laborious to comply with at occasions. Nonetheless, any navigational struggles are price it as you wander via historic forests with views of far-off mountain ranges. The path doesn’t result in an epic completion, with the journey right here being extra spectacular than the vacation spot. However the path is accessible and might be accomplished by younger and previous. Making for an ideal household day trip.

  • Trailhead: Keahua Arboretum
  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Achieve: 666ft

Kalepa Ridge Path

Quick and candy however epic nonetheless, Kalepa Ridge is likely one of the most adrenalin pumping climbing trails on the island. Relying on the climate, this path can range from reasonable to troublesome. The slender path follows gnarly terrain and may usually be unsure underfoot. The Kalepa Ridge Path is an unofficial trek, so it sees much less foot visitors than different Kauai climbing trails. You’ll need to really feel assured climbing in a extra distant a part of the state park.

After the path begins, comply with the ridge formation because the views clear and the pure magnificence turns into ever extra obvious. The ridge provides views of essentially the most iconic a part of the Na Pali shoreline, the Kalalau Valley. Come right here for sundown to benefit from the colourful sky with simply your family and friends.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable/Troublesome
  • Elevation Achieve: 610ft

Nualolo Ridge Path

best hiking on kauai napali coast
The dramatic Na Pali coast of Kauai, Hawaii Islands

In case your hike alongside the Honopu Ridge Path wasn’t laborious sufficient in your legs, then problem your self on Nualolo Ridge Path. One of many hardest Kauai hikes begins with a pointy descent with even better views of the Na Pali Coast. The difficulty? Nicely, muddy downhill trails via the rainforest are robust in your legs, however alongside the best way you’ll encounter a number of unbelievable views. Cease right here to understand the colourful colours and relaxation your weary limbs.

Quickly rugged meadows take over, opening up the world round you. You could even spot the elusive I’iwi honeycreeper. The issue of the hike scares off many potential trekkers, leaving you to benefit from the paradise in peace. When you’ve reached the tip of the downhill, all that’s left is the stroll again up!

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park Ranger Station
  • Distance: 7.6 miles
  • Issue: Troublesome
  • Elevation Achieve: 2280ft

Okolehao Path

Switching our consideration to Kauai’s north shore, this trek is a climbing path that offers you one heck of a exercise. Muddy and never all the time properly signposted, the Okolehao Path helps you neglect the battle with picturesque views of Hanalei Bay, the valley and the historic Kilauea Lighthouse.

The climbing path begins in dense forests earlier than the bushes depart, forsaking taro meadows and the prospect to see additional afield. The sharp climb is roughly 2.5 miles in size and at occasions you’ll have to make use of the chains to maintain your footing.

  • Trailhead: Ohiki Street
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 1250ft

Honopu Ridge Path

An unforgettable approach to expertise the beautiful Na Pali Coast is on the Honopu Ridge Path. The five-mile out and again hike comes with superb coastal views together with the prospect to see the mountains shoot out of the Pacific Ocean up shut. The trick right here is to finish the hike on a transparent day. Whereas the path is all the time enjoyable, the superb views can simply be lined by wandering clouds. The skinny path is properly marked and guides you alongside the breathtaking coast with dramatic drop offs to at least one aspect.

The one disadvantage of this hike is the shrubs and branches that reside alongside the slender path. In case you can, carry alongside some trousers or leggings to keep away from scratches en masse. From the primary viewpoint, you’ll gaze upon the attractive Honopu Valley Waterfall. The second viewpoint provides long-range vistas so far as Nualolo Ridge.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 1595ft

Makawehi Lithified Cliffs Path

After exploring a few of the epic adventures available on Kauai climbing trails, let’s change tack for a minute. Mountain climbing the Makawehi Lithified Cliffs is much less a trek and extra of an tour again in time.

The extraordinary cliffs on the east finish of Shipwreck Seashore are comprised of sand dunes, slowly compacted by hovering winds and surf breaks over a millennia. The result’s spectacular rock caverns, numerous colors and several other fossilized fish and different marine life. Some of the standard hikes on Kaui for folks of all ages, take the time to understand the historical past on show. However don’t neglect to lookup and benefit from the southern views alongside the ocean cliffs.

  • Distance: Hiker’s Selection
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Achieve: Minimal
  • Trailhead: Poipu Street/Shipwreck Seashore

Awaawapuhi Path

Awaawapuhi Trail Hawaii

The long-lasting Awaawapuhi Path is rated as the most effective climbing trails on Kauai for an all-day journey. Like plenty of Kauai climbing trails, you’ll comply with a ridgeline with steady views of the Na Pali Coast. After round 90 minutes of awe-inspiring and downhill climbing, the trek culminates on the official viewpoint. With stark drop-offs on both aspect, the ridge ends with a postcard-worthy view.

You’ll be able to proceed to enterprise down however may have to take action off-trail and the crumbling path might be troublesome to navigate. On the return journey, take your thoughts off the thigh-burning climb on the Awaawapuhi path with views in the direction of the engulfing mountains on both aspect.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 1945ft

Makaleha Falls Path

One of many nice hikes in Kauai, the Makaleha Falls hike, might be remembered as a lot for the mud because the waterfalls. The climbing path follows the Makaleha Stream for its entirety, with a number of water crossings in your journey.

The spectacular falls could tempt folks of all skills to strive the hike, nevertheless it’s rated troublesome for a purpose. Anticipate some sections of bouldering mossy rocks and ducking via aimless branches, all of the whereas attempting to maintain observe of the particular path. Finally you’ll spot the mesmerizing two-tiered falls. There’s a spot for cliff leaping and you may proceed on to Hidden Falls.

  • Trailhead: Kahuna Street
  • Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Issue: Troublesome
  • Elevation Achieve: 849ft

Hanakapiai Falls Path

Hanakapiai Falls hike kauai

In case you hiked the Kalalau Path, you’ll additionally start the trek in the direction of Hanankapiai Falls. For people who didn’t get a allow to finish Kalalau, you may nonetheless trek the total Hanakapiai Falls Path, which is a superb various.

After following the spellbinding north shore shoreline and Hanakapiai Seashore, reduce inland to seize the 300ft waterfall surrounded by dense jungle. The hike to the falls is a climb that doesn’t let up, with the steep incline and tree roots being your largest nemeses. However the Hanakapiai Falls are the most effective on the island, the turquoise waters distinction with the dense inexperienced jungle surrounds. Whereas they’ll additionally reward you with a refreshing tumbling bathe.

  • Trailhead: Ke’e Seashore
  • Distance: eight miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 2664ft

Alaka’i Swamp Path

Some of the distinctive Kauai climbing trails is Alaka’i Swamp. AKA an alpine swamp, the path helps exhibit the various fascinating crops and animals that exist within the island’s excessive altitude areas. Though the path follows a raised boardwalk, don’t assume you’re going to come back out of this clear. Beginning on the lookout, proceed on the Pihea Path for beautiful views of the Kalalau Valley.

The boardwalks will quickly take over and information you thru monstrous hapu’u ferns earlier than ending on the Kilohana Lookout. Full the fascinating expertise with vistas of Hanalei Bay.

  • Trailhead: Pu’u Kila Lookout
  • Distance: 7.7 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable/Troublesome
  • Elevation Achieve: 1332ft

Kauapea Seashore (Secret Seashore)

The preliminary steep descent could also be enjoyable for kind two hikers, however that’s not why the hike to Kauapea Seashore has made this record. Right here, the vacation spot is extra essential than the journey. The hike merely delivers a distant and exquisite surroundings to you on a silver platter.

Secret Seashore is spacious, with tender sand that dances between your toes. The backdrop of greens, browns and ocean mist is sort of a view from a fairytale. Discover the tidal swimming pools, or if the ocean is calm, take pleasure in a swim.

  • Trailhead: Kialauea
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Achieve: 800ft

Ho’opi’i Falls Path

For action-packed day hikes on Kauai climbing trails, then don’t cross up the trek to Ho’opi’i Falls. The brief two-mile trek to the falls is filled with journey. Alongside the best way, you’ll cross two falls, the primary providing magnificent spots for cliff leaping. The second waterfall is the principle attraction and was a filming location in Jurassic Park.

The path is surrounded by hovering jungle that envelopes you in each path. However in these two spots, they disperse, opening up a magical world. Ho’opo’i Falls options a big swimming gap for a well-earned dip.

  • Trailhead: Ho’opi’i Falls Trailhead
  • Distance: Four miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Achieve: 600ft

Frquently Requested Questions on Kauai Mountain climbing Trails

With the most effective hikes in Kauai sorted, what else ought to you understand in regards to the climbing trails right here? Let’s have a look.

What’s it wish to hike on Kauai?

The sheer number of hikes on Kaui from the north shore to the south ought to make each adventurer giddy. However trekking on the Hawaiian island is not any straightforward feat.

The gorgeous nature that gives us with limitless vistas doesn’t come with out a battle. The vast majority of the hikes right here will current a problem to trekkers, with mud, bushes, roots and not sure footing being the most important enemies. So be sure you carry sturdy climbing boots and plenty of endurance.

What’s the most effective straightforward hike on Kauai?

Top-of-the-line straightforward climbing trails on Kauai is the trek to Kauapea Seashore. The brief and candy trek leads you to a spectacular distant stretch of powder-like sand.

What’s the most effective laborious hike on Kauai?

For strenuous hikes, it doesn’t get any higher than the Kalalau Path. Ending on the secluded Kalalau Seashore, the 11-mile journey rewards you with distant tenting alternatives and the prospect to see the assorted distinctive landscapes discovered on the island.

When’s the most effective time to go to Kauai?

In brief, there’s no dangerous time to go to Kauai. A few of you’re certain to benefit from the dry season, however others will battle with the humidity and warmth. The moist season begins in November and runs via to March. This a part of the 12 months brings decrease temperatures however the increased probability of muddy or broken trails. So carry alongside a light-weight rain jacket.

For that reason, spring and the primary half of fall present the most effective of each worlds. Whereas not as low-cost because the winter months, the shoulder seasons are cheap in comparison with the peak of the summer time’s tourism.

Wish to study extra about climbing on one other island? Learn our information to the most effective hikes in Maui.

Remaining Ideas

Mountain climbing in Hawaii will get the center pounding, sweat dropping and the legs soiled. The backyard isle is a rugged, wild and alive panorama with steep descents and sharp climbs.

The island’s north shore, additionally residence to Koke’e Sate Park, has an unbelievable quantity of spectacular hikes in an in any other case small space. Together with the Awa’awapuhi Path and the Nualolo Valley.

Adventures don’t finish right here with the jap coast residence to the Sleeping Large Path and the Kuilau Ridge Path. A number of days could not reduce it if you wish to do as many as attainable. Nevertheless it’s certain to give you a lifetime of unbelievable recollections.

Has the most effective Kauai hikes piqued you curious about hikes within the US? Try our picks for the most effective treks in the USA.

For extra info on touring to Hawai learn these articles:

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