Just a short drive from the tropical paradise of Kaua‘i’s Coconut Coast – the 8 mile stretch of golden beaches above Līhu‘e and Kapa`a – you can find a peaceful escape into Kaua‘i’s lush tropical forests at the native gardens and quiet trails of the Keahua Arboretum. Located 6.5 miles up the mountain from the sleepy town of Wailua, this nature preserve features more than 30 acres of flowering meadows, lush forests, and scenic picnic areas fringed with the rugged Kaua‘i mountains. Walk amongst towering shower trees and groves of monkeypods, take in the relaxing scent of eucalyptus in the cool mountain air, and be sure to take the time to smell the exotic flowers like the yellow hibiscus and vibrant plumerias. Perfect for a short hike, a picnic, or a full day of exploring, the entire family will enjoy this scenic retreat that showcases the best of the Garden Isle.
The Grounds of the Keahua Arboretum
The 30+ scenic acres of the Keahua Arboretum in Kauai are encircled by a mile-long path that is an easy walk for all ages. Along the way you will pass exhibits of more than 20 native and endemic species, as well as numerous species introduced for controlled study by the local university. You’ll find many excellent spots for a picnic, either in the shade of majestic trees or in one of the many social pavilions where you will be serenaded by exotic birds lurking in the canopies above. Stroll along the Keahua stream and frolic in its cool and refreshing waters at one of two swimming holes, or hop aboard a high-flying rope swing and go for an epic plunge.
In addition to offering a quiet and relaxing way to experience Kaua‘i’s tropical forests, the Keahua Arboretum in Kauai is also the starting point for several excellent hikes. The Kuilau Ridge, a 4-mile loop hike, has its trailhead near the arboretum parking lot. It is an excellent day hike, with treks across flowering meadows, wooden footbridges over surging streams, switchback portions along jagged ridges, and stunning views of Mt. Waialeale, the extinct volcano that formed Kaua‘i eons ago. Scenic lookouts beckon at nearly every corner, and this is an excellent hike for most skill levels. NOTE: At the half-way point of the Kuilau Trail, you can either turn back or continue on the equally scenic Moalepe Trail for more mountain views.
The Powerline Trail is an advanced hike that follows a utility road from the arboretum through the island’s interior to the North Shore. It is 13 miles on way, and for advanced hikers only; however, the views are unrivalled.
To get to the Keahua Arboretum, take Highway 580 from Highway 56 at the Wailua River. The arboretum is 6.5 miles inland.