Top 5 Favorite Hikes on Kauaʻi
The Garden Isle offers miles of breathtaking views for seasoned hikers, new trailblazers, and everyone in between. But, before you set off on “the beaten path,” there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, be prepared. Water, sunscreen, bug spray, a first aid kit, a light jacket, and snacks are essential. Next, malama ʻaina, or honor the land. As a living, breathing, and deeply respected entity in Hawaiian culture, the land exudes energy, or mana, that can be best felt when immersed in nature. Lastly, avoid meandering off the trail into areas considered kapu, or forbidden. This is for your own safety as well as a way to respect sacred areas. Now, let’s hit the trail!
- Mahaʻulepu Heritage Trail
This 4-mile cliffside trail in Poʻipū follows the south shore coastline along rugged limestone cliffs to Punahoa Point. Along the route, you’ll enjoy an aerial view of turtles bobbing just offshore, and plenty of whale sightings in the winter months. Natural tidepools, sand and rock formations, Kiawe trees, and ancient petroglyphs offer a window to the past, and native Hawaiian burial sites ask that you step lightly and respectfully.
- Uluwehi Falls (Secret Falls)
2 miles by kayak, 1 mile on foot, this hybrid hike ends at the base of a 100-foot waterfall and is well-worth the trek…as long as you don’t mind a little mud. Kayak rentals are available, otherwise, guided tours are a great option. Often a family of ducks will guide you along the river bank to the falls, where a freshwater pool awaits, perfect for a mid-hike swim. *This hike requires crossing a fork in the Wailua River by foot, so be sure to check conditions beforehand.
- Sleeping Giant
Nicknamed Sleeping Giant due to the profile of the Nounou mountain range, this forest-dense trail is a time-effective and fairly easy way to take in views of eastern Kauaʻi from the mauka side. With three trail options, the 3.4 mile hike gives way to several lookouts and the Mt. Waiʻaleʻale crater on clear days. Family-friendly and ideal for trail runners as well.
- Waipoʻo Falls Canyon Trail
In just under 3 miles, this westside trail packs a lot of punch. After a short walk through the jungle, you will be met with deep valley views of Waimea Canyon at the top of 800-foot Waipoʻo Falls. A smaller mountain-top waterfall and pool make for the perfect post-hike dip before heading back, and the incredible views in a manageable amount of time make this hike a must in Kokeʻe State Park.
- The Kalalau Trail
If you’ve been on one of our tours, you have seen the stunning Nāpali Coast by sea. The Kalalau Trail is undoubtedly the most iconic way to see this revered place by land. The trail runs approximately 11 miles (each way) along the island’s north shore from Keʻe Beach to the Kalalau Valley, but can be shortened to a day hike by stopping after the two-mile journey to Hanakapiʻai Beach. Permits are required for this epic adventure, so plan ahead.
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