Hiking Kauai

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If you want an adventure, filled with amazing sightseeing, exercises, and a chance to see remote parts of the island, make time for a hike. Because Kauai is known as the Garden Isle, hiking trails are very unique to the island and a fun way to explore. If you decide to brave the trails, make sure you bring plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, sunglasses, and wear proper foot gear. Check the weather ahead of time and properly evaluate your fitness levels to make sure you will have a good time and stay safe. It’s always a good idea to bring a light sweater as well as rain gear if possible rain showers are in the forecast. We will detail several hikes around the island, so you can choose the best one for your vacation.

Kalalau Trail

Location: North

11 miles one way

Hike is rated at Strenuous

This hike is one of the best on the island, however it is extremely strenuous, the trail gets very narrow at times, especially along the coastline, and is ranked by the Sierra Club at a 9 out of 10 on degrees of difficulty. There is no water on the trail so bring a water filter or plenty of water with you.  Permits are required unless you want to hike just the 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai. Camping permits are available as well. If you decide to embark on this hike, PLAN AHEAD. Do your research, make the necessary arrangements, check with park service, and be prepared with your packing. The Na Pali Coast is arguably the prettiest coastline in the world, making this a great hike for those who are physically fit and prepared for its demands.

Hanakapai’ai Trail

Location: North

4 miles one way

Hike is rated at Strenuous

As mentioned above, the 2 mile hike to Hanakapi’ai is to the beach, however, there is another 2 mile trail that leads you to the falls. This trail contains extreme inclines and declines, uneven and narrow pathways, loose rocks and little shade. Again, this hike is absolutely gorgeous and smaller version of the above trail, but is meant for travelers who are physically fit.

Kuilau Trail

Location: East

2.1 miles one way

Hike is rated at Moderate

Begin your hike at the Keahua Arboretum and travel up to catch views of lush landscape, Mt. Waialeale and the ocean. There are picnic areas at the lookout point; however the trail has no water or restroom facilities. The trail contains inclines and declines as well as winding terrain.


Location: South

2 miles one way

Hike is rated at Easy

Travel on a coastline that is millions of years old and undeveloped, with beautiful natural flora and fauna. The hike begins at Shipwrecks and ends at Keoneloa Bay. Trail can be rocky at times and opens up to beautiful beaches. Check the surf reports before you swim, the water can be rough and dangerous to swimmers.

Overall, choose a hike that will fit your needs. Be prepared for your hike with plenty of water. Bringing a water filter is important to replenish your water supply with safe drinking water. Bringing a first aid kit as well as map of the trail is a good idea, especially for more remote hikes. As long as you are prepared, you will have fun and see amazing Kauai countryside.