Kauai Hiking Trails

Kauai Hiking Trails

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From lush rainforests to rugged coastlines, Kauai offers hiking trails for every adventurer.

Kauai, often referred to as the “Garden Isle,” is a premier destination for hiking enthusiasts, offering a rich tapestry of trails that cater to a range of experience levels and interests. The trails include accessible walks that allow nearly any visitor to experience the island’s natural beauty up close, as well as challenging treks that reward the more adventurous with solitude and spectacular views. From the lush, verdant landscapes of the Na Pali Coast to the breathtaking vistas of Waimea Canyon, Kauai’s many trails provide an unparalleled hiking experience.

What to Know Before You Go

Safety First

First and foremost, know your abilities and limitations. Do not attempt a hike that is beyond your capabilities. Rescues are regularly made on the island for individuals who attempted to do too much on a Kauai hiking trail.

The weather on Kauai can change rapidly. Heavy rains can make trails slippery and dangerous, especially those with steep drop-offs like the Kalalau Trail. Always check the weather forecast before heading out and prepare with appropriate gear, including sturdy hiking shoes and rain protection.

Lush vegetation along trail edges can mask steep drop-offs, so watch out. Also watch out for tripping hazards such as exposed roots. And don’t forget to watch for overhead branches on some of the more densely-vegetated trails.

Permits and Regulations

Some trails such as the Kalalau Trail in Haena State Park and trails in the Waimea Canyon/Kokee State Park areas require advance permits and/or access fees. See our Kauai North Shore Permits Information page about permits for the Kalalau Trail/Hanakapiai Trail and our Entry Fees for Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park Explained page for access information about these two parks.

Respect the Environment

Kauai’s ecosystems are delicate. Stay on marked trails to avoid damaging native flora and do not leave any trash behind. It’s also important to respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance, particularly from marine animals like seals and turtles on coastal hikes.

Kauai Hiking Tips

Hydration: Always carry more water than you think you will need. Dehydration can be a serious risk on sunnier trails.

Snacks: Bring food and snacks for extra energy to power you through the trails.

Start Early: Especially on popular trails, starting early can help you avoid the crowds and the midday heat.

Cultural Sensitivity: Be aware that many trails pass through lands important to Native Hawaiian culture. Treat these areas with respect, as you are a guest in these sacred spaces.

Kauai Hiking Trails

Below is a definitive list of hiking trails on Kauai. The trails are grouped by region, starting with the North Shore and going clockwise around the island.

North Shore Trails

Kalalau Trail
Hanakoa Falls Trail
Hanakapiai Trail (1st two miles of the Kalalau Trail)
Hanakapiai Falls Trail
Club Med Trail
Okolehao Trail: Moderate | 2.5 miles (out and back)
Hihimanu Trail
Powerline Trail (North)
Wai Koa Loop Trail
Mokolea Point Trail: Easy | 2.75 miles (out and back)
Kauapea “Secret Beach” Trail

East Kauai Trails

Papaa Bay Beach Trail
Uluwehi Secret Falls Trail
Makaleha Falls Trail
Hoopi Falls Trail
Moalepe Trail: Easy | 5 miles (out and back)
Kuilau Ridge Trail
Jurassic Park Gate Trail (Jungle Trail)
Powerline Trail (South)
Secret Tunnels Trail
Blue Hole Hike
Sleeping Giant Trail
Kalepa Hill Trail

South Shore Trails

Mahaulepu Trail

Waimea Canyon Trails

Iliau Nature Loop Trail: Easy | .03 miles
Kukui Trail
Koai’e Canyon Trail
Waimea Canyon Trail

Kokee State Park Trails

Berry Flats Trail
Water Tank Trail
Waininiua Trail
Kumuwela Trail
Cliff Trail
Canyon Trail
Kokee State Park Nature Trail: Easy | . 10 miles
Black Pipe Trail
Halemanu – Kokee Trail
Faye Trail
Kalepa Ridge Trail: Closed
Kaluapuhi Trail
Awa’awapuhi Trail
Nu’alolo Trail
Honopu Ridge Trail
Mohihi – Camp 10 Road
Kawaikoi Stream Trail
Poomau Canyon “Ditch” Trail
Kohua Ridge Trail
Mohihi-Wai’alae Trail
Pihea Trail
Alakai Swamp Trail