16 Stunning and Greatest Hikes in Kauai, Hawaii

With among the most spectacular mountaineering trails from Waimea Canyon to the Sleeping Big Path, Kauai mountaineering was made for the adventurous soul. The Hawaiian island’s huge north shore, the place the Na Pali Coast reigns supreme, harbors lots of the greatest hikes in Kauai and Hawaii. Hawaii is dwelling to world-class mountaineering. We’ve uncovered the most effective of them proper right here.

There are family-friendly Kauai hikes, however among the trekking right here isn’t for the faint of coronary heart. With muddy trails, dense forests, and dramatic cliffs, the island makes you’re employed for each mile. Carry alongside your hardest mountaineering sneakers, for a spot that rewards your effort tenfold. End up at spectacular waterfalls or soak within the inspiring vistas. Listed below are our high picks for the most effective hikes on Kauai.

Stunning Hikes in Kauai, Hawaii

Get your map of trailheads for the most effective mountaineering trails in Kauai right here

Mahaulepu Heritage Path

One of many best hikes to finish on Kauai is the Mahaulepu Heritage Path. With minimal elevation acquire, the trek is extra akin to an exquisite coastal stroll. Beginning at Shipwreck Seaside trek alongside the memorable limestone cliffs, go kiawe bushes earlier than reaching the Makauwahi caves. Spot extra fossilized marine life hidden among the many lush foliage.

The preliminary trek ends at Mahaulepu Seaside, a distant a part of the island’s southern shoreline. Remoted and fragile, benefit from the stunning scenes earlier than softly wandering again to the trailhead.

  • Trailhead: Shipwreck Seaside
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Acquire: 150ft

Sleeping Big Path (Nounou Mountain)

kauai hiking sleeping giant view

Trekking alongside the ridgeline of Nounou Mountain Path is without doubt one of the greatest hikes in Kauai. Native legend tells the story of an enormous who feasted at a celebration in his title earlier than drifting off to everlasting sleep. Naturally, the epic ridgeline resembles the define of the sleeping big and might be seen from varied components of the island. To begin, the hike guides you thru an immense plantation of bushes, earlier than the switchbacks take you up the ridge.

These bushes had been planted in unison within the Thirties by the Civilian Conservation Corps and have grown into giants themselves. When you’re above the treeline, you possibly can see ceaselessly. The ridgeline plateaus providing thrilling mountaineering to match the spectacular views. Arrive earlier than sundown to seize the golden hour from above!

  • Trailhead: East of Halelili Highway
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 948ft

Searching for extra hikes in Hawaii? Try these different locations to hike in Hawaii

Kalalau Path

Kalalau Trail in Kuaii

If you happen to solely have time to do one full day hike on Kauai Island, then why not do the most effective one? The Kalalau Path is an epic journey suited to extra superior hikers and might be cut up right into a multi-day journey. Starting at Ke’e Seaside, the path winds alongside the huge Na Pali Coast and eleven miles alongside you’ll arrive on the distant Kalalau Seaside. The secluded spot rewards beautiful views and the most effective spot to camp anyplace on the island.

Keep for an evening or two earlier than finishing the return journey again to Ke’e Seaside. The path’s size, together with some treacherous terrain, has not stopped it from turning into one of the vital well-liked hikes in Kauai. The truth is, you’ll want to use for a allow earlier than setting off. We suggest making use of round 4 months prematurely.

  • Trailhead: Ke’e Seaside
  • Distance: 22 miles
  • Issue: Tough
  • Elevation Acquire: 6177ft

Talking of fantastic hikes, Oahu has its fair proportion. You’ll be able to learn all about them right here.

Waipo’o Falls Path (Waimea Canyon Path)

Earlier than starting this hike, it’s greatest to test your expectation on the door. The Waipo’o Falls Path is among the greatest Kauai mountaineering, however not for the explanations you’d anticipate. The view in direction of the aforementioned falls is proscribed on this trek. The truth is, the path leads you to the highest of them.

That will result in an anti-climax for a lot of hikers, however not for you. Since you’re doing this hike to see the gorgeous views of Waimea Canyon. Typically in comparison with the Grand Canyon, textures, colours and rock patterns of the Waimea canyon promise to blow you away.

There are a number of fast detours that grant distinctive views, however the principle path results in an unlimited stretch of rock that overlooks a hair-raising drop into Waimea Canyon. The hike attracts respectable crowds due to easy accessibility and the transient journey.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 1600ft

Kuilau Ridge Path

kauai hiking trails kuilau ridge trail

If you happen to’re after brief but adventurous day hikes in Kauai, then contemplate trekking the Kuilau Ridge Path. From the Keahua Arboretum hikers have the built-in benefit of starting at elevation. So, from step one, you’re rewarded with prompt views.

Like loads of trails of Kauai, the trail might be muddy, particularly after rain. This may make the path a bit of laborious to observe at instances. Nonetheless, any navigational struggles are value it as you wander by historical forests with views of far-off mountain ranges. The path doesn’t result in an epic completion, with the journey right here being extra spectacular than the vacation spot. However the path is accessible and might be accomplished by younger and previous. Making for an ideal household day trip.

  • Trailhead: Keahua Arboretum
  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Acquire: 666ft

Kalepa Ridge Path

Brief and candy however epic nonetheless, Kalepa Ridge is without doubt one of the most adrenalin pumping mountaineering trails on the island. Relying on the climate, this path can range from average to troublesome. The slim path follows gnarly terrain and may typically be unsure underfoot. The Kalepa Ridge Path is an unofficial trek, so it sees much less foot visitors than different Kauai mountaineering trails. You’ll need to really feel assured mountaineering in a extra distant a part of the state park.

After the path begins, observe the ridge formation because the views clear and the pure magnificence turns into ever extra obvious. The ridge gives views of probably the most iconic a part of the Na Pali shoreline, the Kalalau Valley. Come right here for sundown to benefit from the colourful sky with simply your family and friends.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable/Tough
  • Elevation Acquire: 610ft

Nualolo Ridge Path

best hiking on kauai napali coast
The dramatic Na Pali coast of Kauai, Hawaii Islands

In case your hike alongside the Honopu Ridge Path wasn’t laborious sufficient in your legs, then problem your self on Nualolo Ridge Path. One of many hardest Kauai hikes begins with a pointy descent with even larger views of the Na Pali Coast. The difficulty? Properly, muddy downhill trails by the rainforest are powerful in your legs, however alongside the way in which you’ll encounter a number of unbelievable views. Cease right here to understand the colourful colours and relaxation your weary limbs.

Quickly rugged meadows take over, opening up the world round you. Chances are you’ll even spot the elusive I’iwi honeycreeper. The problem of the hike scares off many potential trekkers, leaving you to benefit from the paradise in peace. When you’ve reached the tip of the downhill, all that’s left is the stroll again up!

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park Ranger Station
  • Distance: 7.6 miles
  • Issue: Tough
  • Elevation Acquire: 2280ft

Okolehao Path

Switching our consideration to Kauai’s north shore, this trek is a mountaineering path that gives you one heck of a exercise. Muddy and never all the time nicely signposted, the Okolehao Path helps you neglect the battle with picturesque views of Hanalei Bay, the valley and the historic Kilauea Lighthouse.

The mountaineering path begins in dense forests earlier than the bushes depart, forsaking taro meadows and the prospect to see additional afield. The sharp climb is roughly 2.5 miles in size and at instances you’ll must make use of the chains to maintain your footing.

  • Trailhead: Ohiki Highway
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 1250ft

Honopu Ridge Path

An unforgettable strategy to expertise the gorgeous Na Pali Coast is on the Honopu Ridge Path. The five-mile out and again hike comes with superb coastal views together with the prospect to see the mountains shoot out of the Pacific Ocean up shut. The trick right here is to finish the hike on a transparent day. Whereas the path is all the time enjoyable, the superb views can simply be lined by wandering clouds. The skinny path is nicely marked and guides you alongside the breathtaking coast with dramatic drop offs to at least one aspect.

The one downside of this hike is the shrubs and branches that stay alongside the slim path. If you happen to can, convey alongside some trousers or leggings to keep away from scratches en masse. From the primary viewpoint, you’ll gaze upon the attractive Honopu Valley Waterfall. The second viewpoint gives long-range vistas so far as Nualolo Ridge.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 1595ft

Makawehi Lithified Cliffs Path

After exploring among the epic adventures available on Kauai mountaineering trails, let’s change tack for a minute. Climbing the Makawehi Lithified Cliffs is much less a trek and extra of an tour again in time.

The extraordinary cliffs on the east finish of Shipwreck Seaside are produced from sand dunes, slowly compacted by hovering winds and surf breaks over a millennia. The result’s spectacular rock caverns, various colors and several other fossilized fish and different marine life. One of the crucial well-liked hikes on Kaui for individuals of all ages, take the time to understand the historical past on show. However don’t neglect to lookup and benefit from the southern views alongside the ocean cliffs.

  • Distance: Hiker’s Alternative
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Acquire: Minimal
  • Trailhead: Poipu Highway/Shipwreck Seaside

Awaawapuhi Path

Awaawapuhi Trail Hawaii

The long-lasting Awaawapuhi Path is rated as the most effective mountaineering trails on Kauai for an all-day journey. Like loads of Kauai mountaineering trails, you’ll observe a ridgeline with steady views of the Na Pali Coast. After round 90 minutes of awe-inspiring and downhill mountaineering, the trek culminates on the official viewpoint. With stark drop-offs on both aspect, the ridge ends with a postcard-worthy view.

You’ll be able to proceed to enterprise down however could have to take action off-trail and the crumbling path might be troublesome to navigate. On the return journey, take your thoughts off the thigh-burning climb on the Awaawapuhi path with views in direction of the engulfing mountains on both aspect.

  • Trailhead: Koke’e State Park
  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 1945ft

Makaleha Falls Path

One of many nice hikes in Kauai, the Makaleha Falls hike, shall be remembered as a lot for the mud because the waterfalls. The mountaineering path follows the Makaleha Stream for its entirety, with a number of water crossings in your journey.

The spectacular falls could tempt individuals of all talents to strive the hike, but it surely’s rated troublesome for a cause. Count on some sections of bouldering mossy rocks and ducking by aimless branches, all of the whereas attempting to maintain monitor of the particular path. Ultimately you’ll spot the mesmerizing two-tiered falls. There’s a spot for cliff leaping and you may proceed on to Hidden Falls.

  • Trailhead: Kahuna Highway
  • Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Issue: Tough
  • Elevation Acquire: 849ft

Hanakapiai Falls Path

Hanakapiai Falls hike kauai

If you happen to hiked the Kalalau Path, you’ll additionally start the trek in direction of Hanankapiai Falls. For those who didn’t get a allow to finish Kalalau, you possibly can nonetheless trek the complete Hanakapiai Falls Path, which is an excellent different.

After following the spellbinding north shore shoreline and Hanakapiai Seaside, minimize inland to seize the 300ft waterfall surrounded by dense jungle. The hike to the falls is a climb that doesn’t let up, with the steep incline and tree roots being your largest nemeses. However the Hanakapiai Falls are the most effective on the island, the turquoise waters distinction with the dense inexperienced jungle surrounds. Whereas they’ll additionally reward you with a refreshing tumbling bathe.

  • Trailhead: Ke’e Seaside
  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 2664ft

Alaka’i Swamp Path

One of the crucial distinctive Kauai mountaineering trails is Alaka’i Swamp. AKA an alpine swamp, the path helps exhibit the various fascinating crops and animals that exist within the island’s excessive altitude areas. Though the path follows a raised boardwalk, don’t suppose you’re going to come back out of this clear. Beginning on the lookout, proceed on the Pihea Path for beautiful views of the Kalalau Valley.

The boardwalks will quickly take over and information you thru monstrous hapu’u ferns earlier than ending on the Kilohana Lookout. Full the fascinating expertise with vistas of Hanalei Bay.

  • Trailhead: Pu’u Kila Lookout
  • Distance: 7.7 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable/Tough
  • Elevation Acquire: 1332ft

Kauapea Seaside (Secret Seaside)

The preliminary steep descent could also be enjoyable for sort two hikers, however that’s not why the hike to Kauapea Seaside has made this listing. Right here, the vacation spot is extra vital than the journey. The hike merely delivers a distant and exquisite surroundings to you on a silver platter.

Secret Seaside is spacious, with comfortable sand that dances between your toes. The backdrop of greens, browns and ocean mist is sort of a view from a fairytale. Discover the tidal swimming pools, or if the ocean is calm, take pleasure in a swim.

  • Trailhead: Kialauea
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Issue: Straightforward
  • Elevation Acquire: 800ft

Ho’opi’i Falls Path

For action-packed day hikes on Kauai mountaineering trails, then don’t go up the trek to Ho’opi’i Falls. The brief two-mile trek to the falls is full of journey. Alongside the way in which, you’ll go two falls, the primary providing magnificent spots for cliff leaping. The second waterfall is the principle attraction and was a filming location in Jurassic Park.

The path is surrounded by hovering jungle that envelopes you in each route. However in these two spots, they disperse, opening up a magical world. Ho’opo’i Falls options a big swimming gap for a well-earned dip.

  • Trailhead: Ho’opi’i Falls Trailhead
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Issue: Reasonable
  • Elevation Acquire: 600ft

Frquently Requested Questions on Kauai Climbing Trails

With the most effective hikes in Kauai sorted, what else ought to you recognize in regards to the mountaineering trails right here? Let’s have a look.

What’s it prefer to hike on Kauai?

The sheer number of hikes on Kaui from the north shore to the south ought to make each adventurer giddy. However trekking on the Hawaiian island is not any straightforward feat.

The gorgeous nature that gives us with infinite vistas doesn’t come and not using a battle. The vast majority of the hikes right here will current a problem to trekkers, with mud, bushes, roots and not sure footing being the largest enemies. So remember to convey sturdy mountaineering boots and many endurance.

What’s the most effective straightforward hike on Kauai?

The most effective straightforward mountaineering trails on Kauai is the trek to Kauapea Seaside. The brief and candy trek leads you to a spectacular distant stretch of powder-like sand.

What’s the most effective laborious hike on Kauai?

For strenuous hikes, it doesn’t get any higher than the Kalalau Path. Ending on the secluded Kalalau Seaside, the 11-mile journey rewards you with distant tenting alternatives and the prospect to see the assorted distinctive landscapes discovered on the island.

When’s the most effective time to go to Kauai?

Briefly, there’s no dangerous time to go to Kauai. A few of you might be certain to benefit from the dry season, however others will battle with the humidity and warmth. The moist season begins in November and runs by to March. This a part of the yr brings decrease temperatures however the greater probability of muddy or broken trails. So convey alongside a light-weight rain jacket.

For that reason, spring and the primary half of fall present the most effective of each worlds. Whereas not as low-cost because the winter months, the shoulder seasons are cheap in comparison with the peak of the summer season’s tourism.

Wish to be taught extra about mountaineering on one other island? Learn our information to the most effective hikes in Maui.

Closing Ideas

Climbing in Hawaii will get the guts pounding, sweat dropping and the legs soiled. The backyard isle is a rugged, wild and alive panorama with steep descents and sharp climbs.

The island’s north shore, additionally dwelling to Koke’e Sate Park, has an unbelievable quantity of spectacular hikes in an in any other case small space. Together with the Awa’awapuhi Path and the Nualolo Valley.

Adventures don’t finish right here with the japanese coast dwelling to the Sleeping Big Path and the Kuilau Ridge Path. A number of days could not minimize it if you wish to do as many as attainable. Nevertheless it’s certain to offer you a lifetime of unbelievable recollections.

Has the most effective Kauai hikes piqued you interested by hikes within the US? Try our picks for the most effective treks in the US.

For extra info on touring to Hawai learn these articles:

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