With its vast open spaces, abundant vegetation, and breathtaking scenery, Kauai was the perfect destination for a socially reclusive 2020 getaway. That is why it is called The Garden Island. A trip to Kauai might finally seem possible now that Hawaii plans to remove quarantine restrictions and resume travel on August 1.
During a recent trip, we explored all of the island’s top hikes and trails by crisscrossing it. The best trails we could find, these seven are all easily accessible, under 3 miles round trip, and classified as easy to moderate.
1. Kuilau Ridge
Easy for hikers of all skill levels, the 2-mile Kuilau Ridge Trail is an out-and-back route. This two-hour journey is ideal. If you’d like, you can continue and visit a neighboring waterfall (approximately 3.6 miles total). You’ll drive up a rather steep climb to reach the hiking trail at Kuilau Ridge. It’s not very long, and since you reach the trailhead at an already high elevation, it’s not too steep.
This trail is often fairly muddy, so wear waterproof hiking boots and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. We walked Kuilau Ridge the morning after a substantial downpour, which left us very muddy from the knees down. Kauai is extremely lush because it rains so often there.
2. Maha’ulepu Beach
Although Maha’ulepu is more of a walk down the coast than a trek, it doesn’t matter because of the breathtaking coastal vistas. Parking is available at the Maha’ulepu Trail parking lot or on the street next to the Grand Hyatt Kauai entrance. The walk heads east along the coast from Shipwreck’s Beach, which is close to the Grand Hyatt Kauai.
You can veer off at any time unless you intend to go to the Makauwahi Caves. The distance is just under two miles one way. The inside of the caves is said to be abundant with flora and fossils, but we didn’t hike to them. All we did was stroll down the coastal route and take in the beauty. To reach a few swimming holes and cracks, we even scaled the rocks. For the most part, this is a flat, lovely climb suitable for hikers of all skill levels.
3. Waimea Canyon Trails
The nicest views of Kauai can be had by taking a day trip drive through Waimea Canyon State Park and the other forest parks and reserves on the northwest side of the island. This isn’t necessarily a single hike.
At every chance you get, stop and park on the side of the road as you travel the one route up into the State Park. This route through Waimea Canyon offers a plethora of breathtaking views. For the best observation sight, make sure to stop at the Waimea Canyon Trailhead.
4. Kalalau Lookout and Kalepa Ridge Trail
The Kalalau Lookout offers unrivaled views of the Napali Coast and Kalepa Ridge without the high cost of a helicopter flight or catamaran excursion. This lookout is an excellent place to end your day journey through Waimea and the Napali National Park because it’s close to the very end of the roads that wind through the park.
Enjoy the views from the observation point after parking at the Kalalau trail parking lot. Subsequently, proceed along the Kalepa Ridge Trail, starting at the viewpoint point. Finding it shouldn’t be too hard because you’ll probably notice other people traveling along the same path.
5. Waipo’o Falls and the Canyon Trail in Koke’e State Park
Koke’e Canyon Trail is a fantastic option for anyone seeking a stunning hike during their journey through Waimea and the state parks and forest reserves in western Kauai. While driving through Waimea, we noticed a lot of hikers pulling over and starting this hike, so we decided to follow suit. We were really happy that we did!
You may reach this viewpoint overlooking the canyons and surrounding landscape after a comparatively easy 3-mile stroll. The vista is breathtaking. To admire the scenery or to take a dip, follow the trail that descends to the top of the waterfall.
6. The Sleeping Giant
On Kauai, the Nounou Mountain Trail is among the most well-liked hiking routes! Fans of Moana will love the vistas from Sleeping Giant Trail, where a ridge formation mimics a human body resting flat on its back. According to legend, after a feast held in his honor, a giant overate and promptly dozed off, never to wake up.
The day we were supposed to hike Sleeping Giant was quite rainy, so we didn’t go very far along the trail. Journey Era states that the Sleeping Giant Trail leads through pine forests and ends on a plateau. If you’re searching for a reasonably moderate hike after landing on the island, this almost 2-mile hike can take up to three hours, but it’s close to Kauai’s airport (LIH).
7. The Ho’opi’i Falls
Are you looking for treks near waterfalls on Kauai? Visit the Ho’opi’i Falls. Along the hiking trail at Ho’opi’i Falls are two waterfalls, the second of which is the Amber Mine scene from Jurassic Park. This is a two-mile out-and-back hike that is somewhat demanding. Go diving into the pools if you’re feeling very daring!