Kauai, the oldest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, is also known as the Garden Isle (and for good reason). This lush, green, tropical paradise is known for its staggering land formations, blue ocean water, and pristine beaches. When on the island, one of the best ways to explore it is by foot! There are so many gorgeous trails that you can hike, and we've highlighted 5 epic ones for you to try on your next trip to Kauai!
#1. Kalalau Trail (Na'Pali Coast)
Direction: North Kauai
The Na'Pali Coast of Kauai is probably the most stretch of land/sea on the entire island. Staggering mountains and lush forest contrasting against the deep blue sea, this is somewhere you definitely want to experience with your own eyes. The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile hike from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach along the Na'Pali Coast, located within the Na'Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.
To hike the trail, you need to have a reservation from this website, and you should make the reservation well in advance. Another important thing to note is that if you wish to trek past the 2 mile marker, you will need a camping permit, even if you do not plan on spending the night. Find more information about the permit here. Most people choose to do the 2 mile hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakāpīʻai Beach, which is still a remarkable journey to make and will not leave you disappointed.
#2. Pihea Trail (Koke'e State Park)
Direction: West Kauai
The Pihea Trail begins at the Pu'u o Kila overlook (the end of Highway 550), and you can clearly see the Kalalau Valley through the wonderful, tropical vegetation. 2 miles in length (one way), this trail can lead you to many other hikes in Koke'e State Park, but starting with this one is perfect as it is moderate and has amazing views. If you want to see the view in the picture above, go to the Pihea lookout which will appear on the trail. You can see many native birds on the trail, along with enjoying the scenic Hawaiian wilderness.
#3. Waimea Canyon Trail to Waipo'o Falls
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult Direction: West
Waimea Canyon Trail to Waipo'o Falls will offer seriously stunning views over Waimea Canyon and is not too muddy of a hike in the summer months. The trail is 2 miles each way, so give yourself a couple of hours to complete the hike. Get the great shot as seen above at the starting point of the trail. When you get to Waipo'o Falls, you will be at the top of it, so you will not be able to see the falls from below but you may be able to dip your feet in the water and cool off. Fun fact: mountain goats make these cliffs their home so you may be lucky in spotting one.
#4. Awa'awapuhi Trail (Koke'e State Park)
If you're looking for amazing views, this is the trail for you! Awa'awapuhi Trail is spectacular because of the jaw-dropping cliffs and nature you will see the whole way through. Descending from the Koke'e State Park to the Nualolo and Awa’awapuhi valleys, this 3 mile hike will leave you wanting more! Keep in mind that on the way back, you will be climbing back up to where you started so bring lots of water and proper hiking shoes.
#5. Kuilau Ridge Trail
Kuilau Ridge Trail is the perfect example of showing why Kauai is named the Garden Isle. Lush, green, and full of life, this trail allows you to set foot in the deep jungle of the island and explore. This 6 mile hike (both ways) features a waterfall and stunning views, and you'll be mesmerized by the gigantic flora that you will see along the entire trail. With amazing panoramas of the Makaleha Mountains, birds chirping, and oxygen to fill your lungs, this will be a highlight of your trip that you didn't expect.
Those are 5 of the best hikes Kauai has to offer. Let us know in the comments if you know of any other great trails or if you've hiked these and have any advice.
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