High Forests and Coastal Walks on the Garden Island

Kauai offers a wide range of hiking opportunities from rugged mountain ascents to serene coastal walks. Hike to remote swimming holes and waterfalls, through high-elevation native forests where rare Hawaiian birds are seen, along the Na Pali Coast and into Waimea Canyon.

Hiking on Kauai’s North and West Sides

One of Kauai’s most arduous adventures is the trek to Kalalau Valley on the Na Pali Coast which is eleven miles each way. A permit is required to visit Kalalau, though a permit is not required for the day hike to Hanakapiai Valley which is two miles in along the eleven-mile Kalalau Trail.

The view of the Na Pali coast from the Kalalau Trail. Photo by Ruth Marvin.

From Hanakapiai Beach you can hike another two miles up the valley to see the roaring Hanakapiai Falls. While the trail to the Hanakapiai Valley is fairly well maintained, the two-mile trail upstream can be more difficult to navigate for casual day hikers. Hanakapiai Beach is not a recommended swimming beach as there are no lifeguards and currents can be dangerous. Instead wait until you hike back out to the road and then enjoy the lifeguarded Ke’e Beach at the beginning of the trail.

Another nice north shore day hike is Okolehao Trail which begins at the Hanalei taro fields and takes you to a lookout point the top of the ridge taking in expansive views of Hanalei Bay and the north shore all the way to the Kilauea Lighthouse.

After your hike make sure to stop near the taro ponds and look for the many native waterbirds that make their home here including stilts, coots, moorhen, nene (Hawaiian geese) and koloa ducks.

East and South Side Kauai Hikes

On the east side of Kauai is a wonderful family hike that takes you up Nounou Mountain to the top of the famed “Sleeping Giant.” From Kapaa town you can see this mountain’s profile and you will understand how it got its name. The view from atop Nounou is breathtaking with panoramic vistas of Kauai’s east side as well as inland.

For a remote and scenic coastal hike on Kauai’s south shore follow the trail from Shipwreck Beach along the shoreline to Mahaulepu. The lands of this area were very important in ancient times and sinkhole caves in the area continue to reveal archaeological finds that are of great interest to scientists and Hawaiian cultural experts.

Hiking in Kokee State Park and Waimea Canyon

In Kokee State Park there are 40 miles of hiking trails that explore not only the 10-mile-long, 3,600-foot-deep Waimea Canyon but also the coastal ridges above the Na Pali Coast providing spectacular views of the steep seacliffs and deep verdant valleys including Kalalau.

One of Kaua’s most stunning vistas can be found at the end of Awaawapuhi Trail in Kokee State Park. Beginning at an elevation of about 4,100 feet above sea level, the trail descends down to 2,500 feet on the rim of Nualolo and Awaawapuhi Valleys on the Na Pali Coast. The view from this narrow strip of land down into the two valleys from atop the steep seacliffs is something you won’t soon forget!

Another exceptional hiking trail in Kokee State Park is the Waipoo Falls Trail which starts atop the canyon rim and leads you to an 800-foot waterfall. This trail provides rainforest as well as canyon views and ends at a point perched high above the canyon where you can relax by the stream and enjoy the sweet fragrance of the Awapuhi ginger flowers growing all around the banks.

On Top of Kauai – Hiking the Alakai Swamp

Hiking atop boardwalk on the Alakai Swamp. Photo by Adrian Sear.

One of the ultimate Kauai adventures is hiking Pihea Trail in Kokee State Park. The trail takes you through the renowned Alakai Swamp, the world’s highest elevation swamp, and over a wooden boardwalk though the jungle where many rare forest birds live including the iiwi and elepaio. At the end of this hike you are rewarded with a remarkable view over Kauai’s north shore from Wainiha Valley to the valleys of Lumahai, Hanalei and beyond.

Kauai Vacation Accommodations and Real Estate Services

For the finest quality Kauai vacation rentals including luxury estates, condos, cottages and beach villas, see our Kauai Vacation Rental Galleries or use our new Map-Based Vacation Rental Search feature.

If you are considering buying a home on Kauai you can see some of the island’s best real estate by browsing through the Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty Kauai Real Estate Galleries, view Kauai Acreage for sale, or use the Map-Based Kauai Home Search.

Also please feel free to give us a call. The Bali Hai Realty staff will be happy to help you find the perfect Kauai property, home or vacation rental, and we can assist you in the process of buying or selling a Kauai home or land.

The view from Kilohana Vista. You can see Hanalei Bay and all the way to the Kilauea Lighthouse. Photo by Adrian Sear.

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