Kauai

In late January 2018, my girlfriend and I spent a week hiking on Kauai. We jammed a lot into 7 days and had a great time. We were amazed at the varied landscapes on such a small island, including towering sea cliffs, deep canyons, forested mountains, huge beaches, dry grass fields and lush rainforest. I found it interesting how the climate and vegetation could vary so much over such a small distance, with the north side being lush and wet, while the south side is drier and sparser.

On our first day, we explored the south coast of the island and hiked the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, which followed the coast along some interesting cliffs and beaches.

After that, we drove up towards Waimea Canyon and car camped for a few nights at Koke’e State Park. There is lot of room for tents in a few designated spots as well as a large grassy field. The facilities are basic, with a toilet block, change room and only cold showers. There is a covered picnic area and a nearby restaurant, basic shop and small museum. It’s not luxurious but made for a convenient base for hiking these great day hikes:

  • Awa’awapuhi-Nualolo Trail
  • Waimea Canyon Trail (down into the canyon)
  • Rim Trail on Waimea Canyon
  • Alakai Swamp Trail

We also indulged and went on a sunset dinner cruise to gawk at the incredible sea cliffs on the Na Pali Coast. We had hiked the Awa’awapuhi-Nualolo Trail on the top of the cliffs, so it was really neat to see them from sea level. It was a rough ride due to the waves (apparently it’s a lot calmer in the summer) but we had a great time despite the nausea. The boat tour was with Captain Andy’s (https://www.napali.com/), who did a great job and served up delicious food. I highly recommend them.

We wanted to hike the Kalalau Trail but unfortunately it was closed due to flooding. Oh well, now we have an excuse to go back! Instead of day hiking, we relaxed on the beach at Ke’e Beach, a beautiful spot that a partial view of the Napali Coast.

 

 

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