10 Best Hiking Trails In Kauai, Hawaii, USA

hiking in kauai

An island in the Central Pacific, Kauai in Hawaii features countless forested cliffs and natural waterfalls, and it is a renowned dream destination for people around the world. While here, you could check out the rain forests of Koke’s State Park, marvel at the unique beauty of the Sleeping Giant, or go hiking through the colorful canyons at Waimea Canyon. There are several famous attractions near the Na Pali coast that have remained a famous location for most of the big Hollywood films. So, amidst all this natural beauty, why not go on a blissful hike? To help you with that, follow this guide to learn more about the best hiking trails in Kauai, Hawaii, USA.

1. Hanakapiai Falls Trail

hanakapiai falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user paul bica used under CC BY 2.0

Hanakapiai Falls Trail starts from Kalalau trail, which traverses through Na Pali coast. After this, you will follow through the Hanakapiai Stream that ends up with a magnificent Hankapiai Waterfall, which is at a height of over 100 meters (328 feet). The start of the trail itself is sloped, and it traverses through the tree roots, muddy pathway, and the boulders. While here, be prepared for the challenging hike, but also for a thrilling experience when you take a dip in the emerald pools. This trail is also famous as one of the best hikes in Kauai because of its lush amphitheater setting.

Hanakapiai Falls Trail

Address: Hanakapiai Falls, Hawaii 96746, USA

Website: Hanakapiai Falls Trail

2. Awaawapuhi Trail

View from the Awaawapuhi Trail
Source: Photo by user Mia & Steve Mestdagh used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Situated in Koke’s State Park, Awaawapuhi Trail is renowned as one of the best one-day hikes of the island’s western coast. The trail winds up through a rocky ridge with drop-offs on either side, offering fantastic landscape and adrenaline-pumping experience. The climb is easily reachable, but as you get past the main viewpoint, the trail gets dangerous because of its steepness and high humidity.

Awaawapuhi Trail

Address: Awa'awapuhi Trail, Hawaii, USA

Website: Awaawapuhi Trail

3. Okolehao Trail

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located on the north shore of Kaui, close to Hanalei town, the Okolehao trail offers pristine views of the Hanalei Bay. To get here, one must go through a challenging and quite a steep trail. But, once past that, visitors will be rewarded with views of the Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanalei Valley, and Na Pali coastline. At the beginning of this trail, you will be going through lush vegetation, which opens itself to taro fields where you can marvel at the encompassing beauty. You can also pack snack items or lunch to have an impromptu picnic at the top, before heading back down.

Okolehao Trail

Address: 4726 Ohiki Rd, Princeville, HI 96722, United States

Website: Okolehao Trail

4. Honopu Ridge Trail

Drop-and-Dead Gorgeous View
Source: Photo by user Heath Cajandig used under CC BY 2.0

Offering stunning scenery of the Na Pali coast, Honopu Ridge Trail is loved by the crowd, and for a good reason. The trail features a narrow path that is lined with shrubbery, which can scratch you. Hence, long trousers and covered shirts are advised for protection against the shrubs. As you get to the top, you will forget about the sharp shrubs when you witness the picturesque views of the Honopu Valley waterfall and Na Pali ridges. And there is also a path where you will get to admire the Nualolo Trail.

Honopu Ridge Trail

Address: State Hwy 550, Waimea, HI 96796, United States

5. Kuamo'o Nounou Trail

View from the trail 7 (3270434405)
Source: Photo by user Christopher used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Renowned as the sleeping giant trail because of the hill formation that resembles a sleeping human body, Kuamo'o Nounou Trail is one of the most famous attractions in the city. The beginning of the trail is surrounded by giant trees and once you reach the top of the ridge, you can relax and soak in the tranquility of the beautiful scenery. The locals believe that there was once a giant who devoured a heavy feast at an event held in his honor. And later, he took a nice slumber of eternal sleep. The best time to visit the trail is at dusk when the gold-tinted views are quite a sight to behold.

Kuamo'o Nounou Trail

Address: 5750 Kuamoo Rd, Kapaʻa, HI 96746, United States

Website: Kuamo'o Nounou Trail

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

6. Nualolo Ridge Trail

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Taking you on a journey from the elevation point of 3,800 ft (1,158 meters) to 2,000 ft (609 meters), Nualolo Ridge Trail features impeccable views of the Nualolo Valley and Na Pali coast, which is downhill almost all the way. The trail begins at Keokuk Ranger Station, which is a slippery and a muddy pathway piercing through the encompassing dense forest, which will lead you to multiple viewpoints. This trail is mostly never used, which makes it quite a tranquil spot. Nualolo Ridge Trail is also home to ‘I’iwi honeycreeper.

Nualolo Ridge Trail

Address: Hanapepe, HI 96716, United States

7. Moalepe Trail

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

A trail located on the east side of Kauai, Moalepe Trail offers spectacular scenery of the lush green hills and the ocean views. The first part of the trail will have you enjoying the Kong and Anahola mountains, ocean views, and also Makaleha Mountain Ridge. The trail goes through Halelea Forest Reserve and traverses up through the dense vegetation of the Kuilau Ridge. This trail is a popular site among mountain bikers.

Moalepe Trail

Address: Kapaʻa, HI 96746, United States

Website: Moalepe Trail

8. Waipo’o Falls Trail

Way to Waipo'o Falls Jurassic Parc Kauai, Hawaii
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user dronepicr used under CC BY 2.0

Despite its name, Waipo’o Falls Trail does not necessarily take you through the mesmerizing waterfalls, but the trail itself is worth all the hike. The trail will give you up-close views of the fascinating Waimea Canyon, which opens up to the rugged rock formations. Along the way, visitors can go check out the two viewpoints, both of which overlook the canyon. This trail is quite a popular attraction among the visitors because of the easy access and the time that is taken to do the hike.

Waipo’o Falls Trail

Address: Waipo'o Falls Trail, Hawaii 96796, USA

Website: Waipo’o Falls Trail

9. Waimea Canyon Trail

Morning Hike
Source: Photo by user Heath Cajandig used under CC BY 2.0

Waimea Canyon Trail is popular among less-seasoned hikers. The trail takes you through yellow orchids and red torch gingers. Along with this trail, visitors can also check out Koke’s State Park. Although they are nestled within the same region, they are two completely different trails in nature. Koke’s Star Park is a lush forest, whereas the canyon trail features the scenic landscape of purple and red canyons.

Waimea Canyon Trail

Address: 779 Kokee Rd, Waimea, HI 96796, United States

Website: Waimea Canyon Trail

10. Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail, Napali Coast, Kapaa (502888)
Source: Photo by user Robert Linsdell used under CC BY 2.0

One of the most popular trails in Kauai, Kalalau Trail requires a permit, if you wish to visit it anytime soon. This permit must be booked way in advance. The trail begins at Ke’e Beach and traverses through the coastline which will take you to the secluded Kalalau Beach. Along the way, visitors hiking here go through five valleys and Hanakapiai Falls. As you get to the beach, ensure you take an overnight camp so that you get to live in tranquility for one night. The trail is also renowned as one of the most dangerous and beautiful hikes in the world.

Kalalau Trail

Address: Kalalau Trail, Hawaii 96746, USA

Website: Kalalau Trail

Have the time of your life in Kauai

Coast of Kauai, Hawaii
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Paul Bica used under CC BY 2.0

A beautiful paradise, Kauai in Hawaii is surrounded by natural beauty and raw wilderness. And walking through this tranquility and beauty is something one must revel in. And when you are planning this hiking adventure, make sure you have a safe yet enjoyable hike.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Born in Mumbai and brought up in Bangalore, India, Aarti is a full-time freelance writer by profession. She is a lover of everything the ‘blue dot’ offers—world cultures, off-the-beaten tracks,...Read more

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