Hiking in Koke’e State Park can be an unforgettable adventure and will afford some of the best views of the Na Pali. If you’ve never experienced the sight, photographs will highlight the imposing Na Pali cliffs, which stand as 4,000 foot spires dropping dramatically into the valleys and ocean below. Trekking the Awaawapuhi Trail is one of the best ways to explore the island on foot and will reward you with breathtaking panoramic views.
The Awaawapuhi Trail on Kauai is a 6.2 mile out-and-back route that starts at 4,120 feet in elevation and drops to 2,500 feet at the final lookout. While the first half is downhill, there is nothing but climbing on the way back to your car. Combined with the muddy terrain if there’s been recent rainfall and the uphill hike on the way back, this is a difficult hike for many. The start of the trail passes through the forest and gives way to desert-like terrain until the first glimpse of Awa’awapuhi Valley just under two miles in.
The trail ends abruptly on a ridgetop, showcasing panoramic views of both the Awa’awapuhi Valley and Nu’alolo Valley. Hikers should heed railings and warning signs, as the rocky ground crumbles easily and it’s not uncommon for tourists venturing off the trails to need rescue.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the grassy area and fuel up before tackling the uphill return hike on Awaawapuhi Trail. If you dislike backtracking, it’s possible to turn this into a loop route by linking with the Nu’alolo Cliffs Trail and Nu’alolo Trail. This increases the length to 10.7 miles, including the 1.5 mile walk down Waimea Canyon Drive, adding more spectacular views to the trek.
Planning Your Hike on Awaawapuhi Trail
As with any hike on Kauai, make a checklist to ensure you come prepared to Awaawapuhi Trail on Kauai. Bring sturdy hiking shoes, more water than you think you’ll need, and prepare for the possibility of rain. The trailhead is at a parking area along the left side of Waimea Canyon Drive near the highway 17 mile marker.
We have nearly 30 rental properties on Kauai’s north, east, and south shores. Staying at one of our south coast properties allows you to enjoy the sunny south side’s beaches and is a good base for exploring the trails in Koke’e. Contact us at 866-922-5642 or [email protected] to book your vacation rental and to learn about things to do on the island.