I have previously written about my trip to Kauai, and how I have visited before but then, was a much different, much less adventurous person and how this trip really helped me to appreciate all the growth I have made, accomplished in the last twelve years, since that last visit. It was on the trails, here on the Garden Island that conjured up those feeling amongst the most rare and beautiful views ever seen.
Prior to the trip I had done much research and made a short list of hikes I wanted to do while visiting. There are as followed:
Wailua Falls. Double waterfall just a 30 minute drive from the Poipu side of Kauai, and even closer to the Lihue airport. The viewpoint at Wailua Falls is much trafficked and popular, but if you are a hiker, I encourage you to make your way down to the falls. There are three known ways to get down, as previously blogged about last week here: Wailua Falls
Waimea Canyon, Canyon Trail. I woke up early for this one, and was glad I did because upon arrival I was the only car in the parking lot. I started at 7:30AM and a four mile hike later met with dozens of groups just starting to make their way down. The hike is perhaps the most peaceful hike I have ever done. It is tree lined much like a forest and all downhill to the end of trail destination of the top of Waipoo Falls. There is also one turn off along the trail that takes you to a great viewpoint of the Canyon, which has been dubbed ‘the Grand Canyon of Hawaii’. Its a short detour, so I encourage it. Further down the official trail, you will find yourself at the top of the falls. This is an out and back trail, I logged just over 3 miles.
Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast. After visiting and finishing the Canyon Trail at Waimea Canyon I started towards the OTHER side of the island, the Princeville side. I had been told by many people that doing a part of the Kalalau Trail was a must. Weeks before, I had attempted to secure a permit for the full length of the trail, 11 miles each way but was unsuccessful. When I arrived at the trailhead, I understood why. Both the beach and trail are highly trafficked, and this was just a Thursday! Parking was a bear, which added miles onto my hike and along the trail I found it hard to not get frustrated with the lack of experience and trail etiquette during the first two miles. Don’t get me wrong… the view, the trail is awesome. But, if you’re going to do this plan ahead, perhaps get a permit and start EARLY!
Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail. I hiked six miles of this which stretches along the coast of Poipu. I started at Shipwrecks Beach and walked along high cliffs, alongside crashing waves and the bluest water I have ever seen. Prepare for high trade winds, which make the hike quite pleasant actually and watch for unique caves and coves along the way for exploration. At the start of this trail, there is also a popular cliff jump that is deemed safe. You will likely see other doing it and its a great way to end this out and back trail.
Awa’awapuhi Trail. 7.5 miles out and back and the ending views are spectacular. This hike, also located near the State Park. The hike is all downhill leading down to the end point where you will meet up with barriers and signs that say ‘dangerous cliff’. If you are not an experienced hiker, this is your end point. Me, however continued on to a narrow ridge trail and great viewpoint which made for quite the summit high and amazing photographs. Watch out for rats along the trail, they tend to make themselves known by scurrying around the boundaries of the well maintained trail.
Kalepa Ridge Trail At Kalalau Lookout. This is a highly adventurous trail with incredible views looking towards the Na Pali Coast. The day we went, it was raining and the fog was rolling in which at first, was awfully disappointing. I had my family with me for this so I was bummed at the views I sold to them were unable to be viewed. But, we did have some clearing at a few different points and everyone agreed it was more fun because of the danger element. It was pouring. It was muddy. It was windy. We had quite the storm on our hands. This is another skinny and overgrown trail and then opens up to high and seeing ridge trail with incredible views without AND with the clouds. Hiking this trail was a great way to end the trip. No matter what weather you may have, I highly encourage you give this a try. We even came across some campers towards the end of the trail.
When I began writing this blog, I actually had no idea I had went on this many hikes. I was only in Kauai for six full days, but certainly logged quite a few miles, hiked amazing trails, saw spectacular views and took home magnificence pictures to remember the entire thing. Having been on Kauai before, I can’t imagine visiting another island other than this one for its nature and uniqueness. If you are visiting Kauai and have more questions about the trails mentioned, feel free to use one of our contact forms to reach us. Happy Trails & Mahalo!