Top 5 Hikes in Kauai.
Kauai is home to some of the most stunning hikes in all of Hawaii and is a must whether you’re visiting for the first time or fifth. There are a huge variety of trails and hikes for different experience levels and so much to see and experience while visiting. Here are my top five hikes to make while visiting Kauai:
1. Awaawapuhi Trail.
This ridge trail in the Koke’e State Park trail will bring you through rainforest, high desert-like terrain and to some of the greatest views on Kauai’s Napali Coast all within about an hour and half each way. The hike descends downhill 1,200 feet over tons of tree roots and rocks, so proper hiking shoes or athletic shoes are a must. With breathtaking views from the vantage point and stunning drop-offs, the hike is well worth it on a sunny day. If it’s rainy or cloudy, I would not recommend this hike as the most memorable part of the hike is definitely the viewpoint at the end and it may not be safe if the trail is slippery or could be covered in clouds. There is a “spine” portion of the hike once you reach the vista where you can see even more beautiful views, but I would only recommend crossing on all fours and with extreme caution as the spine is only a few feet wide and not flat with incredibly steep drop-offs. Otherwise, the normal viewpoint of the vista is beautiful and one you’ll want to stay at for a while. Make sure to pack a lunch and plenty of water!
2. Ho’opi’I Falls Hike.
This trail takes you to two beautiful waterfalls which are a great space for cliff jumping and for some swimming. This hike will be best with a local who knows how to jump into the falls. If you’re looking to live out your rope swing dreams, the second waterfall is calling your name!
3. Kalalau Trail.
This 11-mile long trail is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai and for good reasons. There are two parts depending on how adventurous you are and the amount of time you have set aside for the trail. The first part is a challenging hike to the Hanakapi’ai Beach and Hanakapi’ai Falls, which is openly accessible to everyone and does not require a permit. The second part of the hike requires a camping permit and at least one stay overnight. Regardless of which part you decide to go with, get ready for a difficult (but totally worthwhile) trail through mud, forest, streams, slippery downslopes and lots of red dirt. Parking is limited, so I would definitely recommend arriving early in the day before all the spots are taken.
4. Kalepa Ridge Trail.
This trail offers beautiful views of the Kalalau Valley and features the prettiest wild flowers and incredible views at the end of the cliffs and coast. This trail is used for hiking and birding year round. You should definitely book a guide for this tour because you can find yourself in some tricky situations.
5. WAilua Falls Hike.
Wailua Falls is located at the south end of the Wailua River, cascading into two streams and dropping 80-feet below. You can easily see the falls from the carpark, but the hike is definitely worth it if you have a free morning. The hike to Wailua Falls is one of the easiest hikes in Kauai with beautiful views the whole way there. This trail allows you to go and swim in the bottom pool of the falls with cold, refreshing water. It’s a steep hike down and not recommended for people who are out of shape but offers spectacular views of the waterfalls. Be careful not to swim close to where the falls hit the pool - there is a strong current that could pull you in.
What hikes are you most excited for in Kauai? Any that I missed that you think deserve a spot on the list?