It’s troublesome to determine which Hawaiian Islands to go to first. Each is exclusive and interesting in its personal method. However for backpackers and climbers Kauai is the primary alternative, because it has a number of the most wonderful hikes on the earth.
From the dramatic ridges of Waimea Canyon and drop-offs of the Na’Pali Coast, to the numerous waterfall hikes, Kauai is a hikers’ paradise! Each time we go to the island we uncover new trails, yet one more lovely and thrilling than the opposite.
7 EPIC HIKES YOU SHOULD TAKE IN KAUAI
The paths listed on this put up might be hiked by individuals of all ages, from older kids, to adults and even seniors in a very good bodily situation. Though strenuous, these are reasonably difficult mountaineering trails that don’t require excessive talents, or superior mountaineering expertise.
1. Kalalau Path
One of the crucial widespread day hikes in Kauai is the primary a part of Kalalau Path, from Kee Seashore to Hanakapiai Seashore. To hike your entire Kalalau Path all the best way to Kalalau Seashore and likewise discover the Valley, you’ll want 3-5 days, a particular allow and a very good bodily situation. That’s why most individuals do solely the primary 2 miles of this path, to Hanakapiai Seashore (Four miles spherical journey).
The path goes alongside the shore, revealing breathtaking views of the ocean and the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast lined in lush vegetation. The primary mile is a steep climb to a 400-foot elevation, however alongside the best way are beautiful views of the ocean, Kee Seashore and the coral reef.
PRO TIP: Issues have change lots since we first hiked the Kalalau Path. Now reservations for Parking and Park Entry are required, otherwise you’ll be turned away. Reservations can be found 30 days upfront at https://gohaena.com, so ensure you make one earlier than you go.
Kalalau Path crosses seashores, valleys, freshwater streams and waterfalls, and eventually reaches the the Hanakapiai Valley.
The hike is reasonably strenuous, climbing repeatedly nearly until the tip of the path. For probably the most half the trail is clean, however there are some rocky, muddy and slippery locations, even through the dry season (Could by way of October).
The descent is comparatively quick, but additionally very slippery and rocky and might be loads of work. To succeed in the Hanakapiai Seashore, you’ll must cross a stream, mountaineering over some massive boulders. Some individuals discover this a part of the path moderately troublesome, in order that they select to return earlier than mountaineering all the best way all the way down to the seashore.
On the Hanakapiai Seashore you’ll discover some pit bogs (which aren't precisely clear!) and a pleasant little cave. Behind the seashore (just a little to the left), you’ll see the trailhead to the Hanakapiai Falls.
2. Hanakapiai Falls Hike
I completely liked this hike, though I discovered it just a little troublesome in some factors. Nevertheless, the beautiful views alongside the best way will reward you in your effort. The hike will not be very lengthy (solely 2 miles), however it’s actually strenuous!
After crossing the stream, the path continues by way of twisted vines, guava timber, crossing boulders and passing by way of bamboo forests. However on the finish of the highway, the beautiful 300-foot Hankapiai Falls awaits you to chill out and funky off in its pool, earlier than making the trek again to Kee Seashore.
The hike to Hanakapiai Falls is taken into account pretty troublesome. Some elements of the path are very slim, passing over slippery rocks, however the hike might be safely finished in dry climate. Nevertheless, don’t tried it in wet climate, when the stream is deep and quick flowing and nearly not possible to cross.
3. Alaka’i Swamp Path
Alaka’i Swamp Path is among the wettest hikes in Waimea Canyon, however is a must-visit place on Kauai in case you are a hiker. Knee-deep mud will not be unusual right here when it rains and it can sluggish your tempo significantly by way of the swamp.
But when the climate is nice, you’ll get pleasure from a fantastic (though strenuous) hike throughout the Alaka’i Swamp by way of scrub, native rain forest and bogs. We completely liked this path and did it twice. The second time we took my cousin from Canada alongside and she or he did nice, though she will not be an skilled hiker.
The path ends at a vista level known as “Kilohana”, on the sting of Wainiha Pali. On a clear day, the views of Wainiha and Hanalei Valleys present an unforgettable expertise. The spherical journey is 7 miles and takes about 5:30 hours.
4. Canyon Path to Waipo‘o Falls
One of the crucial widespread and scenic hikes in Kauai is the Canyon Path, which affords the perfect panoramic views of Waimea Canyon.
The path branches off of the Halemanu Street and is about 3.5 – Four mile spherical journey. The parking space is off Freeway 550. From right here you hike up on Halemanu Street for half a mile to the Canyon Trailhead which can result in Waipo’o Falls.
The 800 foot waterfall might be seen from a variety of lookout factors on this path. About midway down the path is the primary place to cease and take photos of the Waipo‘o, Kauai’s tallest waterfall, earlier than persevering with your hike.
One of many oldest Hawaiian legends says that the valley beneath the waterfall is the very place the place the spirits of the not too long ago deceased bounce as much as Poe, the Land of the Lifeless.
Persevering with to the tip of the Canyon Path, you’ll attain the Kumuwela Lookout. That is one other wonderful place to cease and take photographs of the unbelievable surroundings forward of you.
The falls are damaged into two tiers. The primary half is a brief waterfall of about 25 ft. tall. Then the water continues flowing on a rocky terrain earlier than plunging all the way down to create the taller waterfall.
This hike will solely take you to the highest of the falls, however it’s actually lovely nonetheless.
5. Pihea Path
Situated within the Koke’e State Park in Kauai, Pihea Path begins on the Pu’u o Kila overlook, skirting alongside the Kalalau Valley.
When you've got an early begin and drive straight by way of the canyon, you possibly can arrive on the lookout level earlier than the majority of the group does. This is among the most luxurious views of the Kalalau Valley, in case you are fortunate to see it on a transparent day, with no fog or clouds.
In reality, you may have in all probability noticed this image of Hawaii earlier than, because it’s typically used on postcards, calendars and different Hawaiian souvenirs.
The path itself is straightforward for probably the most half, with some difficult elements. Fortunately, we introduced our trekking poles, which I strongly advocate for anyone who plans to hike in Kauai. Pihea Path hooks up with the Alaka`i Swamp path to get to Kilohana lookout (which is phenomenal when it’s clear).
In the event you don’t really feel as much as the problem of mountaineering all the best way to the Swamps, you possibly can flip again from the crossroads with the Alaka’i Swamp path. It took us about 2 hours roundtrip to hike the Pihea Path.
6. Wai Koa Loop Path
The Wai Koa Loop Path is a simple 4.5 mile path on the attractive North Shore of Kauai. You may entry the path at Anaina Hou Group Park in Kilauea. The hike is free however because it’s on a non-public property, you’ll must cease at Anaina Hou to signal a waiver. You may choose up a map at right here and likewise buy water.
On the hike, you’ll go by way of the Kilauea Woods after which by way of the Mahogany Plantation, which is largest in North America. The spotlight of the hike is the Stone Dam Lookout, a stunning stone dam superbly landscaped with tropical vegetation.
It is a pretty nicely marked and a large path, with arrows mentioning which approach to go. The path opens as much as a powerful view of the Namahana Mountains.
Wai Koa Loop Path is a superb place for a picnic or to get pleasure from a swim. Strolling the path takes wherever between 2.5 to Four hours, relying how typically you cease.
7. Kukui Path
Kukui is an extremely lovely hike on Waimea Canyon’s west aspect, however it’s just a little tougher than different hikes in Kauai. Particularly on the best way up. The trailhead is roughly one mile past the Mile Marker eight alongside Freeway 550.
The two.5-mile lengthy path drops about 2,000 ft to the canyon flooring, touring by way of a forest of Kukui and different timber. The center part is fairly dry and uncovered, and then you definitely get again into the vegetation close to the underside.
The trail might be very slippery even when it’s dry, because of the steep grade. In the event you don’t need to hike all the best way all the way down to the Waimea River, you possibly can simply skip the final a part of the path that goes by way of the forest and brush, and switch round after the primary 1.5 miles. In reality that is probably the most lovely a part of the path for all of the totally different canyon views.
Suggestions for Mountaineering in Kauai
We did loads of hikes in Kauai and easily liked the abundance of scenic trails on this island. However after years of expertise, I can definitely say that the majority the paths in Kauai – be they lengthy or quick – undergo uneven terrain that may be steep, slippery and muddy even in dry climate.
Mountaineering on Kauai might be each awe inspiring and harmful when you don’t know what to anticipate. However when you come ready, you’ll have a blast. So listed below are a number of suggestions that can make your hikes simpler and extra pleasurable.
• Begin simple and discover a path that meets your health degree.
• Don’t hike alone, or when you do at the least file a visit report. Inform somebody the precise location the place you propose to go, whenever you anticipate to be again and when they need to fear and name for assist in the event that they don’t hear from you. Needless to say in most parks on the island there isn't any cell service.
• Go early within the day! For a number of causes. One, you’re not the one one who’s making an attempt to hike in Kauai. Two, it will get sizzling and humid actual fast on this island. And three, the sooner you begin the extra you possibly can hike.
Additionally pack these necessities:
• Good mountaineering footwear, NOT sandals, or flip-flops. In the event you plan to do loads of mountaineering, you possibly can even deliver a pair of mountaineering boots that can hold your ankle regular.
• Trekking poles are important for mountaineering in Kauai, the place you’ll encounter a wide range of terrain and plenty of slippery slopes. I found the utility of the trekking poles once we have been mountaineering in Patagonia, the place the paths are additionally very precarious.
• A small backpack the place you possibly can carry your stuff, in order that your palms are free.
• Water. Deliver extra water than you assume it's possible you'll want. Or, when you can’t carry an excessive amount of, deliver a water-filtration system that can let you refill your bottle from the various springs you’ll encounter alongside the best way. Staying hydrated is crucial you make bodily effort.
• Sunscreen & insect repellant.
• First-Assist equipment. It’s a good suggestion so as to add a primary support equipment to your Hawaii packing listing as there's at all times a chance to fall and get some minor harm.
• Hat & sun shades, because the solar may be very robust on the Hawaiian Islands.