There might not be anyone who doesn’t know about Hawaii. With its crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, tall palm, coconut trees, and various festivals, Hawaii is ideal for summer.
But what if I tell you that on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, you can enjoy magnificent hikes! Yes, you heard it right. In this article, you’ll get a list of the top 10 best hikes in Kauai.
The best hikes in Kauai mentioned below offer you the vast diversity of beautiful nature trails and treks ranging from cliffs to around three thousand tall ridges and the hikes which glide through the shores of NaPali.
As you might already know, there are treks and hikes for everyone. The difficulty level is measured on the hike’s steepness, height above sea level, and hike safety. Some hikes can be a bit risky, but some people love adventure.
In Hawaii, the best hikes in Kauai are so variable. Some trails will take you by the seashore, while some treks will take you up in the sky so high that the view below the cliff will blow your mind.
The 10 Best Hikes in Kauai:
1. Kalalau Trail
In the list of the top 10 best hikes in Kauai, Kalalau should certainly be in the first place. Kalalau trail is hardly 2 miles away from Hanakapiai beach, in western Kauai in Hawaii. As this trail is close to Hanakapiai beach, it is also known as the “Hanakapiai Trail.”
Kalalau trail includes two initial miles (one-sided) among the eleven-mile-long trail that goes along the coastline of NaPali, starting from Kee beach and ending on North Kauai.
Kalalau trail is one of the best hikes in Kauai, where most of the visitors go satisfied. It is an amazingly picturesque hike that hardly takes half of your day.
Of course, it offers a lot in less time, but at some points of the hike, you might feel a bit discomfort if you aren’t familiar with trekking due to the ascending and descending and rocky paths.
You might also feel difficulty while crossing the stream at Hanakapiai Beach, but all this hard work will pay off when you get to see glimpses of the splendid NaPali coastline.
2. Nualolo Trail
In the list of best hikes in Kauai, Nualolo comes second. It is situated in the west of Kauai. Nualolo trail has a lot to offer you!
The awesome scenes of the NaPali coast with close views to some of the beautiful valleys stretching along the shoreline. Nualolo trail is best when done as a loop paired with the Awa’awapuhi trail.
This is a full day hike, so it is strenuous. However, if you want to store the beauty of your final destination, make sure you push yourself and enjoy the trek, and have some amazing photographs to take home.
3. Honopu Ridge Trail
Honopu Ridge trail is also a west Kauai trail and easily falls in the third place among Kauai’s best hikes. Although it is a spectacular trail, it is not between those official trails anymore. The trail was partly destroyed due to several hurricanes in the region and got lost in Kauai’s forest.
Luckily, it is not that scary, and you can still complete the trek, of course, if you stay alert. The initial steps must have to be cautious.
Having a local guide for the Honopu Ridge Trail is highly suggested as they know the best ways to go the trail and what goes straight into the thick forests or hunting trails. Even if you don’t hire a guide, be on the ‘safe’ way; the guide is necessary.
4.Pihea & Alakai Swamp Trail
Pihea & Alakai Swamp trail is another west Kauai hike from our list of best hikes in Kauai. The PiheaT Trail’s beginnings beginning glides through Kalalau Valley’s rear, which offers an astounding view deep inside.
The trail starts with Alakai Swamp, later crisscrossing the Alakai Swamp Trail. It is recommended to trail down the Alakai Swamp till you finish the seafront, which may feel way longer and tiring than it actually is.
This trail will get you landed at the Kilohana watchtower. If the weather allows, you can even notice the way back to Hanalei.
5. Canyon Trail
Canyon Trail is among the best hikes in Kauai, which falls in the western region. This trail is exclusively for those who want to discover the inside of the Waimea Canyon.
This trail gives you magnificent sceneries from the perfect setting to the huge Waimea Canyon, which glosses over the main side.
Canyon trail will take you to the summit of the Waipoo falls, on which you turned the blind eye from the opposite side of the Canyon.
6. Kalalau Trail
Kalalau Trail is one of Kauai’s best hikes, situated two miles past the Hanakapiai beach in the Na Pali region.
You will need permission to hike after the Hanakapiai beach. If you start hiking early in the morning, say before sunrise, you can even make it to Hanakoa and come back in a day.
The sight on the far side of Hanakapiai is sheerly amazing. Especially from the gateway of Waiahuakua valley.
If you are planning to do Hanakoa, make sure to get enough time to get back. A night hike is not suggested as it is a forest area with little to no facilities; your adventure can cost you a lot.
7. Kuilau Ridge Trail
Kailua Ridge Trail is among the best hikes in Kauai, which is in Kauai’s eastern region. This trail is included as some of the easy trails, which make it ideal for beginners and for those who are hiking for the first time.
It is one of those great trails which hands you the experience of thick, green jungles and astounding views of the central Kauai, which goes to the Waialeale.
This hike won’t take much time as other Kauai hikes because it is an easy one. The easy level trek makes it a perfect family weekend hike even if you have got kids aboard.
You need to have an eye on the climate as the heavy rains and storms are pretty normal here, which result in the lush green jungles. All in all, this is a good trek in all aspects.
8. Nounou East ‘Sleeping Giant’ Trail
Nounou East ‘Sleeping Giant’ trail is another hike from Kauai’s best hikes on the Kauai’s Kauai’s eastern side.
This hike falls in the eastern or central area of Kauai. The east of Nounou or sleeping giant trek will make you go a thousand feet up, but the sight you will see after reaching the top will take away all the pain you feel.
You will get to witness glimpses of the eastern side of Kauai island and a good view inside of the Waialeale too. Try to start your hike early in the morning so that the scorching heat of the sun doesn’t blind you.
Stay cautious on the top as it is easy to slide down and drift off, but the views here are unique compared to the other hikes in the east of Kauai.
9. Makawehi Lithified Cliffs Trail
Makawehi Lithified Cliffs trail is one of the best hikes in its Kauai in the southern region. It doesn’t matter if you are an armchair geology expert or clearly adore the wonders of nature; you would love to see the amazing lithified cliffs of Makawehi on the south coast of Kauai.
Situated abutting the Shipwreck beach in south Kauai, these atavistic limestone sea cliffs have been sandblasted in effect with a combo of salt, wind, and water for over millions of years.
The trail ranges between a few miles of the shoreline of Kauai.
Makawehi lithified cliffs trail is a conglomeration and treasure trove of burial grounds, petroglyphs, rock carvings, and fossils.
10. Awa’awapuhi Trail, Kauai
The Awa’awapuhi is one of those best trails in Kauai in the west of Kauai island. Awa’awapuhi trail is the part of Kokee State Park.
This trail goes through the thick forest and withered countrysides, but this hard expedition turns out all worthy. In the end, the Awa’awapuhi gives astounding scenes of some canyons beside the Na Pali shoreline.
The Awa’awapuhi trail begins with a sluggish start but takes speed halfway. Starting of the trail is comparatively easy-going along the jungle.
Awa’awapuhi begins at nearly 4,12o ft. & finishes off at approximately 2,500 ft. hence, get ready for a good hike.
There are multiple ways to enjoy and explore in a fun way on the Garden Isle. One of the best ways to learn is through trails and hikes of the beautiful trails of the Kauai island.
Kauai is dwelling of various marvelous hiking trails in Hawaii. However, many hikers make their way to the state for the mail aim of hiking NaPali Coast of Kauai. The cliffs of the NaPali shoreline fall straight inside the sea and the bumpy landscape is a marvel to catch sight of.
Here on Kauai, beauty which cannot be described in mere words get stirred with lifestyle, culture and history.
The stupendous Kalalau Valley, at the ending of the trail of the NaPali shore, used to be hub of over 6,000 indigenous people pre-arrival of the western sphere of the world to the Hawaiian Islands.
Waimea Canyon, more popularly known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, and Kokee State Park inhabits some of the extinct ecosystems throughout a small region.
One of the most rewarding things of hiking on Kauai island is beginning your hike through a high-altitude forest and all of a sudden you see yourself on the verge of a cliff which peaks 3,000 feet below the ocean.
Luckily, the Garden Island has trails for hikers of all levels, leaving no reason behind for not stepping out and discover.