Discover Kauai's Top Hiking Trails

Posted by Alex Cortez R(B) on Thursday, December 20th, 2018 at 7:53pm.

From tropical rainforests to soaring cliffs to sanding shorelines, Kauai is truly a paradise for those who love the great outdoors. The Garden Isle offers some of Hawaii’s most diverse terrain without the crowds, showcasing some of the state’s best hikes and stunning scenery.

When traveling to Kauai, there are so many ways to explore the island that it can almost seem overwhelming. To make it easier on you, we made a list of some of our favorite hikes, some that you can accomplish within a hour or two and others that demand a backpack full of camping gear and an appetite for discovering Kauai's Aloha. Wherever you go, be sure to bring a camera to capture some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Kalalau Trail

Even though it’s one of the longest hikes on Kaua’i, the Kalalau Trail is perhaps the island’s most popular. The 22-mile roundtrip trail zigzags through some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, the soaring sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. Considered by most hikers as moderate to difficult, the trail often attracts backpackers who camp overnight before hiking 11 miles back to the start. 

Kalalau Trail Kauai
Photo credit: Max Pixel

Camping is well worth the effort. The Kalalau Valley campsite is nestled behind a beach that is only accessible to those who hike to get there, which is a well-earned reward for those willing to make the trek. To ensure compliance, purchase a Kalalau Trail permit before hiking. As of this publishing in late 2018, the trail is being repaired after being damaged by floods, but is expected to reopen in the first half of 2019.

Awaawapuhi Trail

For those looking for a trail that’s a bit shorter, this 6.2-mile roundtrip trek takes you through the magical wilderness and leads you to epic views of the Na Pali Coast. One of the most popular ridge trails in Koke’e State Park, the Awaawapuhi Trail snakes through forested paths, until you arrive at a breathtaking viewpoint — a grassy clearing overlooking lush, undeveloped valleys.

A plethora of native plant species thrive in the park, which is managed as a wilderness area. The trek, which takes about three hours round trip, is considered a moderately difficult trail. If you only have a few hours to explore Kaua’i’s western coast, the Awaawapuhi Trail is a must.

Waipoo Falls Trail

Journey across canyon rims and through rain forests until you arrive at the top of the trail, which ends atop of Waipoo Falls, an 800-foot waterfall in the Waimea Canyon. There, you will find spectacular views of the canyon and forests below, all while breathing in the sweet fragrance from Awapuhi Ginger nearby. 

Waimea Canyon Waipoo Falls Trail
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

A popular hike for families, the Waipoo Trail hike spans 3.2 miles roundtrip and is located off of Highway 550 between mile markers 14 and 15. Although you won’t see the waterfall up close, it’s well worth the hike to journey into the wilderness for the stunning and expansive vistas that you’ll find at the end. 
Hoopii Falls
One of the shortest yet most rewarding hikes on Kaua’i, the Ho’oip’i Falls Trail leads to two breathtaking waterfalls, one of which is so stunning that it became the scene of amber mine from Jurassic Park. After about 20 minutes of walking through lush flora including vines, ferns and other native plants, you’ll reach the first waterfall, which boasts some spots deep enough for cliff jumping. 

The trail can get muddy, so be sure to bring a bathing suit and take a dip once you get to the falls. When you get to the second falls, there’s also a rope swing, adding to the magical scenery that surrounds this breathtaking place.

With a well-earned reputation as one of the world's most pristine locations, yet within easy access to some of the best amenities in Hawaii, Kauai offers a perfect springboard to enjoy some of the most scenic and rewarding hiking trails in the Pacific. 

Have other suggestions or wish to discuss how to achieve your Kauai real estate goals, contact us today. 

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Specializing in Makena and Wailea real estate, Alex Cortez is fully dedicated to representing his clients ethically and diligently. Contact him at 808.385.5034 or Alex@MauiRealEstateSearch.com for more information.

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