Kauai has a range of places to hike – from swamps (don’t knock it until you see it!) to the popular Napali Coast. Let’s explore some of the best Kauai hikes.
Koke’e State Park has seven trails to choose from. The Alakai Swamp Trail is an amazing rainforest/swamp area due to the runoff of the slopes of the mountain/volcano. Hiking the world’s highest swamp can be a bit of work, due to the wet conditions, however, the payoff at the end is worth trudging for. It is recommended to head out early as the clouds and fog obstruct the views, later in the morning.
Awa’awapuhi Trail, also located in Koke’e State Park, is more difficult, as it is over six miles round trip, and takes about 2 1/2 hours, not counting stops to rest and view the scenery. If you can endure this long of a hike, the view at the turn around point is spectacular.
Another beautiful trail in Koke’e State Park is the Kawaikoi Stream Trail which is only about 1 3/4 miles. The best part is you can cool off by the stream, as most of the trail is along the stream.
The Nu’alolo Trail is an approximately 11-mile loop. It is not extremely difficult but can be slippery and you will get scratches from the overgrowth and sticker vines, so wear long sleeves and good hiking boots. Take lots of water and save energy for the trek back as it is all uphill. The Nuʻalolo Trail much like the cliffs trail is all uphill on the way back and is about 3.8 miles. There are some steep cliffs you will have to be careful on. The Pihea Trail, and Poomau Canyon Lookout Trail are also in this state park and offer spectacular views of waterfalls. The latter one is only 3/110 of a mile, so it is a bit easier.
Napali Coast State Park only has one trail, known as the Kalalau Trail. However, it is an all-day hike that requires a camping permit, as it takes all day one way. It is recommended only for experienced hikers who don’t mind the long trek for stunning views and great exercise. It does bring you down to the beach at the end of the day to relax and swim if so desired.
Waimea Canyon State Park has several different trails, which can be quite difficult, due to the terrain. It is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, due to the erosion caused by the Waimea River. The trails are beautifully dotted with waterfalls, and rainbows caused by the waterfalls and reflections.