10 best Kauai trails for hiking with family, or solo

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  07.08.2021
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Kauai’s best hike trails

Sleeping Giant trail Kauai

Sleeping giant trail kauai

Why you ought to do it: Conveniently-located hill path near Kapaa uses remarkable sights of eastern Kauai.

Location: Wailua/Kapaa
Problem: Easy at reduced altitudes, coming to be Intermediate to Difficult at greater altitudes.

Resting Giant Trails (there are 3) on Nounou Mountain in Kauai transportations walkers via an instead typical woodland prior to heading upwards for significant sights of Kapaa, Mt. Waialeale, the Wailua River, the Makahela Mountains and also various other components of eastern Kauai. Situated near Kapaa and also the Wailua Homesteads, the tracks are a favored for neighborhood households along with much flung vacationers. The appeal of the routes remain in some component as a result of the main place near Kauai’s populace facilities. Family members, route joggers and also people looking for a fast trip to nature are commonly located on the tracks. Though the Sleeping Giant tracks have remarkable point of views in the process, the tracks do lack a few of the exotic beauty of various other tracks on Kauai.

The tracks obtain their name due to the fact that the account of Nounou Mountain appears like a resting titan. The titan’s head is to the left in the above image. There are numerous Hawaiian tales worrying the resting titan, consisting of one where the gigantic overate at a banquet in his honor, after that set to relax and also has yet to stir up.

Resting Giant Trails

The 3 routes are the East Trail, the West Trail as well as the Kuamoo-Nounou Trail. The Kuamoo-Nounou Trail finishes at the West Trail where the path leads up the hill with rows of Norfolk and also Cook Pines. The West Trail converges with the East Trail concerning.25 miles from the top. The East Trail is one of the most straight method to the top while the Kuamoo-Nounou route is the lengthiest.

Resting Giant Trail ranges (one method):

Kuamoo-Nounou Trail: 2 miles (to the crossway with the West Trail). West Trail: 1.9 miles. East Trail: 1.75 miles.

East Trail

The Nounou Mountain East Trail begins at a tiny parking lot on Haleilio Road. From Highway 56/Kuhio Highway take Haleilio Road to the parking lot (place at Google Maps). The East Trail has a fast altitude gain and also is one of the most straight method to the top of the hill.

West Trail

The West Trail begins at the end of Lokelani Road off Kamalu Road where there is a tiny parking lot for a number of automobiles (area at Google Maps). If auto parking is complete there is even more vehicle parking along Kamalu Road with a gain access to course to the path head.

Undergo the yellow gateway to start the walking.

Quickly you will certainly be directed the hill with rows of Norfolk and also Cook Pines grown by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

As you climb up greater there will certainly be rough protrusions along the route to be gone across. Workout care as there are unsafe problems from rainfall and also hazardous decline offs along the top components of the route. The path, ranked Easy to Intermediate in problem at the reduced altitudes, promptly transforms Difficult at the greater altitudes. People with a concern of elevations will specifically be worried on the top reaches of the route.

Near the top on the titan’s upper body is a protected outing location with extensive sights of the bordering countryside. An also much better sight can be discovered on the route past the outing location, yet any type of routes past the outing location are not formally component of the route.

Kuamoo-Nounou Trail

The Kuamoo-Nounou Trail starts on Kuamoo Road, regarding a fifty percent mile past Opeakaa Falls (place at Google Maps). Seek the environment-friendly field. There is auto parking for numerous cars along the roadway.

The Kuamoo-Nounou route is the lengthiest of the 3 routes on Nounou Mountain, skirting the hill under a cover of trees prior to finishing at the West Trail. If you’re looking for a stroll in the timbers without a considerable climb after that this route alone is the appropriate one for you. At the end of the Kuamoo-Nounou Trail, there is the chance to proceed up the hill on the attaching Wst Trail.

Over: The parking lot on the side of the roadway for the Kuamoo-Nounou Trail. For area referral the address for your home beside the path is 5750 Kuamoo Road, Kapaa, Hey There 96746.

Continue via the yellow gateway and also along the right-of-way under a passage of trees.

After the access you will certainly go across over Opeakaa Stream on a wood bridge.

The route is frequently unsafe from mud and also rainfall as well as there are unveiled origins along the route.

At.75 miles right into the walking you will certainly locate a protected outing table. On clear days you can see the Mt. Waialeale crater.

Thickets are located on the path after the protected outing table.

Somebody weaved an equipping for the bamboo. The length of time did it require to weaved? See the tag!

The route proceeds via a shaded woodland.

Completion of the Kuamoo-Nounou Trail at the West Trail.

At the end of the path take a throughout the line of trees to proceed up the hill on the West Trail.

Canyon Trail Kauai

Why you must do it: Popular walking takes you along the edge of Waimea Canyon and also to the top of Waipoo Falls Location: Waimea Canyon Route Length: 1.8 miles from the freeway (one method). Problem: Intermediate. Place at Google Maps.

Among the a lot more preferred tracks on the island of Kauai, the Canyon Trail takes walkers along the side of Waimea Canyon to the top of Waipoo Falls. The route provides significant sights of Waimea Canyon, though the huge draw of the route is the legendary experience on top of the drops.

Canyon Trail Photos

The journey starts at Halemanu Road at Koke’e State Park. There is car park nearby on HWY 550. Those with 4-wheel drive cars can take Halemanu Road to the real path head to conserve time and also strolling.

When completely dry, Halemanu Road remains in fairly excellent problem as well as we’ve seen greater than a couple of 2-wheel drive automobiles browse the roadway. Be recommended that the majority of rental automobile firms on the island forbid driving on dust roadways.

The real path running start at the end of Halemanu Road where there is a parking lot.

The very first component of the path is backwards and forwards with a light woodland. The route can be really unsafe when damp. In this initial component, you will certainly quickly see the Cliff Trail on the right. This will certainly take you to the Puu Hinahina Lookout.

After the Cliff Trail joint you will certainly see the Black Pipe Trail. This route loopholes back around to Halemanu Road.

Soon after the Black Pipe Trail joint you will certainly stroll along the canyon edge. Be additional mindful on this component as it can be unsafe with loosened dust when completely dry or mud problems when damp.

The path comes down when you reach completion of the revealed red dust location along the canyon edge. You are nearly to Waipoo Falls!

These uncommon rock developments are stated to be all-natural.

The canyon flooring.

After coming down from the edge the plant life comes to be thicker as a result of the water from Kokee Stream. Near the bottom, a route to the left causes the top, smaller sized falls. The path to the right results in the top of Waipoo Falls.

The top falls.

On top of Waipoo Falls!

The Canyon Trail and also the Cliff Trail are commonly overwhelmed as well as secondhand mutually. This map at the Kokee Museum reveals the real places of both routes. Essentially, the Cliff Trail leads below the Puu Hinahina Lookout and also is unneeded if the objective is to get to the drops. One of the most hassle-free means to go to the drops is to drive down Halemanu Road regarding you can most likely to the parking lot after that trek the remainder of the method. If you begin the walk at HWY 550 you will certainly be strolling down a dust roadway for regarding 3/4 of a mile, after that back up en route back.

Kuilau Ridge Trail Kauai

Why you must do it: A wonderful nature walking with gorgeous panoramas of Kauai’s numerous tones of environment-friendly as well as close-up sights of Mount Waialeale. Location: Wailua/ Kappa/ Lihue Path Length: 4.25 miles (one method). Trouble: Easy. Place at Google Maps

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is a beautiful as well as reasonably simple route that begins near the Keahua Arboretum. The path has incredible sights of rich exotic plant, the Makaleha Mountains as well as Mount Waialeale. The path range is 2 miles to where it links to the Moalepe Trail, after that proceeds for one more 2.25 miles where it finishes at Olohena Road. A round-trip walk completes 8.5 miles. The beginning altitude factor at the Kuilau Trailhead is 500 feet as well as ascends to 1,140 feet at the 1.5 mile pen (for an altitude gain of 640 feet). There is an outing sanctuary situated at regarding the one mile pen with sights of rich valleys as well as streams. Situated to the eastern is Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant) with sights of the sea. There are no bathroom centers along the path. The nearby centers go to the arboretum.

The path lies prior to you reach the Keahua Arboretum, near completion of Kuamo’o Road (Hwy 580), previous Opaeka’a Falls. There is car parking for regarding 3 automobiles. Added auto parking can be discovered at the arboretum.


Plenty of Water. Snacks. Rainfall equipment (as required). Proper shoes.

Lihue alternate route


Take a drive via a gorgeous edge of Kauai that very few tourists reach see. The Lihue Alternate Route, much better called the Kipu Bypass (Hulemalu Road), provides a beautiful detour in between Lihue as well as factors west of Lihue. Along with being a shortcut if web traffic is hefty on the major freeway (Route 50), the course offers sweeping sights of the Ha’upu Mountain array and also the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge. The prominent Kipu Ranch, where flicks such as Indiana Jones as well as Jurassic Park were shot, lies near Hulemalu Road. The picturesque and also fascinating Menehune Fish Pond is likewise on the path. If taking a trip on the bypass from the western component of Kauai, the path finishes at the rear of Nawiliwili Harbor. Not much from the eastern end of the course is Kalapaki Beach and also the Lihue Airport. We recommend if you’re remaining in Poipu, Waimea as well as relevant locations that you take this course when headed to the flight terminal at the end of your Kauai see. See the hills, the fishpond, and also come by Kalapaki Beach for one last rejuvenating dosage of Kauai.

Area at Google Maps The range of the course is about 5 miles with a 12-15 min driving time.

The two-lane roadway is generally gently trafficked.

Kipu Ranch Adventures

Does anybody climb this cliff?

The Menehune Fish Pond

Huleia Stream as seen from the Menehune Fish Pond Overlook.

Okolehao Trail Kauai

Why you ought to do it: Jungle/mountain walk with extraordinary sights of Hanalei Bay and also past.
Location: North Shore (Hanalei).
Route Length: 2.5 miles (one means).
Problem: Intermediate (arduous climb) to Difficult (last 1/2 mile).
Area at Google Maps


Rainfall equipment.
Suitable shoes.

If you’ve ever before remained in Hanalei as well as questioned what it resembled to be in the hills neglecting Hanalei, after that this is the path for you. The Okolehao Trail takes walkers right into a green forest and also hill heaven forgeting Hanalei Bay and also past. Though frequently low on the listing of Kauai walks, the Okolehao is just one of our faves. The route pleases every one of our yearnings for an unique journey right into a hilly as well as jungly atmosphere.

The path starts at the foot of Hanalei’s taro areas. Going, it is mostly all uphill. If it’s completely dry you will certainly have a much less-challenging time than if it’s sloppy. In either case, you will certainly be winded to some extent as you make the constant climb.

There are 2 major views along the path. The initial, concerning a mile right into the walk, uses panoramas of Hanalei’s taro areas as well as the Hanalei location. The 2nd view, concerning 2 miles right into the walk, manages sweeping sights of the whole Hanalei Valley as well as past. On a clear day you can see completely to the Kilauea Lighthouse.

After the 2nd panorama the path ends up being much more thick and also difficult. Just specialist walkers ought to tackle this section.

The path starts on a little footbridge on Ohiki Road near Hanalei’s well known taro areas. (There is auto parking for concerning 10 cars throughout from the route head.).

The really initial component of the route is fairly level however it quickly starts a constant slope. Component of the route is covered by a mesh which restricts disintegration and also gives grip.

The route is fairly broad with lots of color along the road. A range of plant can be located on the route.

The very first breathtaking perspective is near high-voltage line. Basically the whole Hanalei Valley is within sight, consisting of the community, coastline, river as well as taro areas.

Over as well as listed below: The 2nd beautiful factor, regarding 2 miles in, uses also much better views of the Hanalei location.

Over: The Hanalei River, Hanalei Pier and also Hanalei Bay as seen from the 2nd point of view.

Over: On clear days the Kilauea Lighthouse can be seen distant from the Okolehao Trail.

Over: Taking a just break at the 2nd beautiful perspective. (There is an additional bench behind this for “cinema” seating!).

After the 2nd point of view the route ends up being a lot more thick as well as much less taken a trip. There are numerous high sections of path prior to you get to completion as well as there are extra amazing panoramas to lay eyes on. Just seasoned walkers ought to handle this area of the route.

Along with sights of Hanalei Bay, the inside of Kauai can be seen from the top parts of the Okolehao Trail.

Over: A sight of the path location seen from listed below. The high-voltage line tower (white) from the very first ignore can plainly be seen.

Okolehao Trail Map

The trailhead of the Okolehao Trail begins on Ohiki Road in the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Ohiki Road is the slim roadway that begins at the Hanalei Bridge and also runs alongside the Hanalei taro areas.

Moloaa Bay Ranch Coastal Trail

Why you must do it: Nice seaside stroll with birdwatching possibilities and also spectacular sights of Moloa’a Bay.
Location: East side, in between Anahola and also Kilauea
Route Length: 1.4 miles (one method).
Problem: Easy.
Place at Google Maps.

Obscure Moloa’a Bay is a concealed treasure on Kauai, and also the bay has its very own obscure prize– the Moloa’a Bay Ranch Coastal Trail. There’s little written concerning the route, and also we do not recognize why, since it contrasts well with comparable seaside tracks such as the better-known Mahaulepu Trail near Poipu.

The path begins at the much left end of Moloa’a Beach and also slowly reaches expose sweeping sights of the bay. Adhering to the route even more exposes intriguing rock protrusions compared versus the raw sea. This windy location, with browns, reds and also environment-friendlies, might advise you even more of a legendary New Zealand landscape than Kauai. Throughout the route, there is the visibility of calmness as well as tranquility amidst the wind and also the waves.

The location is a nesting area for Wedge-tailed Sheerwater (Ua’u Kane) birds (April-December) as well as Laysan Albatross (October-July).

According to some records, there has actually been a conflict in between the surrounding homeowner as well as the State of Hawaii worrying the route so it’s possibly best to remain on the path (near the coast) as well as not endeavor as well much inland.

Walkers will certainly discover the route to be fairly very easy with simply a couple of areas that could call for hanging on to some rocks to browse the route.

Iliau Nature Loop Trail Kauai

Why you must do it: Short, very easy path uses good sights of Waimea Canyon as well as indigenous plants. Route Length: .3 miles Location: Waimea Canyon Problem: Easy Place at Google Maps

The brief Iliau Nature Loop Trail is a wonderful intro to the Waimea Canyon location. The route supplies stunning sights of Waimea and also Waialae canyons and also functions special plants native to the island to the island of Kauai. Well preserved, the broad path contains the red dust typical in the Waimea Canyon location. Altitude gain is much less than 50 feet.

The route is called after the Iliau plant (in blossom May-June), a varieties connected to the sunflower household. The plant abounds on the route because of secure fencing that secures versus feral goats that forage on the plant.

As the name suggests, the path is a loophole and also takes around 15-20 mins to trek.

The route go to the Kukui Trail, which comes down right into Waimea Canyon, gets on the loophole.

The Iliau Nature Loop Trail is found on Hwy 550 in between mile pens 8 as well as 9. There is vehicle parking alongside the roadway.

With stunning panoramas and also one-of-a-kind greenery, the calm path is advised for both the informal traveler and also for walkers headed to harder routes in the location.

The Kukui Trail begins right here on the Iliau Nature Loop.

Iliau plants are native to the island to Kauai. This indicator specifies that “Endemic plants advanced distinctly on the Hawaiian Islands as well as are located no where else on the planet.”

Iliau plants are bountiful on the loophole.

Alakai Swamp Trail, Kauai

Why you need to do it: Rain woodland trek with bountiful environment-friendlies and also brushes takes you right into the inside of Kauai.
Location: Kokee State Park
Path Length: 3.5 miles (one method).
Trouble: Intermediate to Difficult (depending upon the weather condition).
Place at Google Maps

The Alakai Swamp Trail takes you right into the inside of Kauai where you will certainly be dealt with to tranquility as well as privacy in a tropical rain forest loaded with brushes as well as environment-friendlies. It’s a wonderful walking for nature fans that have an eye for plant and also bird viewing.

The path starts where the Pihea Trail ends. Much of the path has boardwalk, producing a simple stroll on these sections. After regarding a mile you will certainly come across a four-way point. Take an entrusted to continue the Alakai Swamp Trail that will ultimately lead you to the Kilohana Lookout. After taking the left at the time, you will certainly come down boardwalk staircases to a stream. Ascend beyond of the stream to proceed your expedition to the hunt. (Do not try to go across the stream if the water is moving as well quick or the location is swamped.) The boardwalk grabs once more after you make the climb from the stream. The path proceeds via an open location plateau with little above greenery. This is truth overload location of the Alakai Swamp Trail. Otherwise for the boardwalk, you would certainly be grinding with knee deep mud. Workout care while strolling along the boardwalk as there are sections that are harmed. The route suddenly finishes at the Kilohana Lookout, with a spectacular sight of the Wainiha Valley as well as all the method to Hanalei Bay and also past if problems are clear. If problems are unclear, you will certainly be met a wall surface of clouds (nonetheless still an amazing view).

This is an extremely damp location with the possibility for rainfalls as well as mud. Clear days will certainly provide a lot easier expedition, as well as stormy days will certainly provide a lot more tough time grinding with the unsafe path as well as mud. Bring rainfall equipment nonetheless due to the fact that you can never ever make sure which you will certainly obtain.


Camera. Water. Snacks. Rainfall equipment (advised). Ideal shoes.

Much of the route gets on boardwalks over the marshy ground.

The path can be extremely unsafe as well as sloppy throughout as well as after rainfalls.

In the process are point of views of Kauai’s rich inside.

The initial component of the route complies with a fenceline.

Bountiful brushes and also mosses can be located along the route.

Is that a T-Rex?

Take a left at the four-way crossway (if you’re originating from the Pihea Trail).

You might discover your very first utility pole at the four-way crossway. Visit this site to learn exactly how utility pole wound up in the center of an overload.

After the four-way crossway you will certainly come down boardwalk stairways to the stream going across.

Swine seekers at the stream going across.

After the stream crossing you will certainly rise to an open plateau.

View your action. Sections of the boardwalk are harmed.

Proceed along the boardwalk up until you get to completion of the path at the Kilohana Lookout.

Alakai Swamp Telephone Poles

You’re grinding via the Alakai Swamp in Kauai, the globe’s greatest overload, as well as you search for and also see an utility pole out in the center of no place. After that along the road you observe numerous a lot more. You figure there’s a tale behind the posts. Possibly they became part of the task to construct a roadway throughout north Kauai, the residues which ended up being the Pihea Trail However the tale behind the Alakai Swamp Telephone posts is really far more intriguing. The posts are really from a supersecret World War 2 Army Signal Corps task in late 1943 to give a different interactions web link for the U.S. Military radar terminal at Koke’e in situation of Japanese strike at the landing strip.

The tough task of creating the web link was up to Robert Oelrich, a participant of the 443 Signal Construction and also Aviation Battalion, a system of the 7th Army Air Force Bomber device. Oelrich, a previous telephone male, was offered 5,000 timber risks to note the course, thousands of posts, miles of telephone wire, 30 burros as well as the about 50 guys of Company B.

Many individuals believed it was a difficult job, yet Oelrich was encouraged maybe done. The device relocated right into the neighboring Kokee Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) camp. Oelrich discussed with regional Japanese farmers for veggies to supplement the K-Rations to see to it his males had the additional gas required to operate in the severe atmosphere. A roadway, that still exists today, was constructed to the overload. The overload was not the very best location to plant posts and also job was. A stable convoy of heavily-laden burros transferred tools up until the bogs came to be unfathomable. The males needed to bring 65-pound packages of cable as well as drag the continuing to be utility pole for the last section.

While the job was recurring in the Alakai Swamp, an additional team was functioning from the Haena side. A business of guys, posted at Camp Naue, functioned their method up the Wainiha Valley. Both sides connected when Oelrich as well as his guys went down cable virtually directly below Kilohana, currently the popular search at the end of the Alakai Swamp Trail.

Today, simply a couple of posts continue to be. The posts that are no more there were not shed as a result of rot, yet were lowered by enthusiasts looking for the glass insulators.

Google Maps: Alakai Swamp Trail.

Over: A continuing to be post.

A post near the four-way junction.

Info at the Kokee Natural History Museum

A current image from Kilohana Lookout forgeting Wainiha Valley.

Today a boardwalk goes through the Alakai Swamp.

Is the Kalalau Trail Open or Closed?

Over picture: A DLNR authorities (in blue coat) shuts the Kalalau Route at Hanakapiai Coastline because of increasing waters.

Update: 4/18/18– The Kalalau Trail is shut forever as a result of harm to the path as well as damages to Kuhio Hwy (the just roadway that causes the path). Records suggest that parts of the route have actually been rinsed as well as will certainly require to be fixed by teams from Hawaii’s Division of Land as well as Natural Resources (DLNR). Kuhio Hwy is obstructed by countless landslides as well as parts might be rinsed, obstructing accessibility to the route. The Kalalau Trail can be shut for months according to lots of quotes. On top of that, a strategy to include added licenses for the route throughout the summer season has actually additionally been nixed. For those currently with Kalalau Trail allows, reimbursements (much less a 10% management charge) are readily available by calling 808-274-3444. You will certainly require your authorization number when you call.

Is the Kalalau Trail open or shut? That is the inquiry for lots of walkers that will certainly quickly be headed to Kauai’s many impressive path. The concern is particularly essential for those with a license treking the complete eleven miles to Kalalau Beach. Months of preparation and also prep work are included and also take a trip routines for the walk are in some cases limited. Generally, the route is open all year. However hefty rainfalls or various other risks such as rock slides will certainly occasionally shut the route. Usually there is really little or no notification of route closings. The choice to shut (as well as resume) the Kalalau Trail is made instant by employees with the Department of Land and also Natural Resources (DLNR). The closures can vary from a couple of hrs to a day or even more.

One of the most typical source of Kalalau Trail closings is climbing as well as harmful waters at Hanakapiai Stream at Hanakapiai Beach, around 2 miles right into the walk. The stream has to be gone across to proceed additionally on the route. Solid currents in the stream can move people down the tail end of the stream and also out right into the sea, never ever to be seen to life once again. A makeshift join the path near Hanakapiai Beach checks out “WARNING! DO NOT GO NEAR THE WATER– CURRENTS HAVE KILLED 83+ VISITORS.” Several of those eliminated were trying to go across the stream.

Just how to Determine if the Kalalau Trail is Open or Closed

There will certainly be indicators uploaded at the path head at Ke’e Beach if the Kalalau Trail is shut. Usually, the indications are the only authorities notice by the DLNR worrying the standing of the path. This is particularly real for closures lasting just a couple of hrs. If the closure is anticipated to be much longer, or proceeds over night, DLNR will typically reveal the closure in a red box near the top of the DLNR web site (instance listed below).

Various other areas to examine regarding the standing of the Kalalau Trail consists of the County of Kauai Facebook Page and also the Kalalau Trail Facebook Group.

Kalalau Trail Store


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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.