ALAKAI SWAMP WILDERNESS PRESERVE (PART OF THE NA PALI-KONA FOREST RESERVE)
Accessible by trail only. 1/4 mile north of the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve Entrance. Kokee
Road (Hwy 550).
The once-fiery crater at the top of Mt. Waialeale is now the Alakai Swamp - a magnificent
bog located in a wet depression below Mt. Waialeale summit - a superior wildland that is the
highest and largest high-elevation swamp in the world. A trail leads across the swamp through
scrub native rain forest and shallow bogs. The swamp is home to seldom seen rare plants and
native birds and there are excellent opportunities for bird and botany observation. The trail
ends at a vista called "Kilohana" on the edge of Wainiha Pali. On a clear day, the
views of Wainiha and Hanalei Valleys provide for an unforgettable experience. If you hike this
route, be sure to wear appropriate clothing. There is boardwalk but the trail is often wet,
slippery and very muddy. The seven rivers that trail out from Alakai Swamp and down to the sea
include the Waimea River, Hawaii's longest river.
DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Division of Forestry and Wildlife
3060 Eiwa Street, Rm 306
Lihue, HI 96766
Tel. (808) 274-3433
Information on Kauai's Forest Reserves, Natural Area Reserves, Na Ala Hele Trails, and
Game Management Areas. Recreational Map of Kauai available for a fee. Persons wishing to receive
a map must sign in and date a register sheet at the Lihue office. For mail-in request, please
contact the above local office. Camping and biking pamphlets also available upon request.
HALELEA FOREST RESERVE
- POWERLINE TRAIL (13 miles) the trail starts at the end of the
paved Pooku Road at Princeville on the North Shore. It follows a 13-mile electric transmission
line maintenance route and ends near the Keahua Forestry Arboretum in the Lihue-Koloa Forest
Reserve on the East Side. This is a dry weather, all day hike. It is not for motor vehicle
travel beyond the paved road. Note: Access from the East Side is possible from the Keahua
Forestry Arboretum located at the end of Kuamoo Road (Wailua River State Park).
Located in the extreme northern part of Kapaa. The trail is at the end of the 0.2-mile dirt
extension of Kapihi Road. The Falls are about 100 feet downstream from the end of the 0.5-mile
A delightful waterfall in the midst of a beautiful rain forest - nearly always deserted
during the week.
Across from Mile Marker 3 on Kaumualii Highway (Hwy 50) is Kipu Road. Take the dirt road just
before the bridge on Kipu Road to the trail down to the top of the Falls.
A small waterfall pouring into a deep pool ringed halfway around by a 20-foot cliff -
a real gem. There's even a rope swing with a ladder.
KOKEE STATE PARK HIKING TRAILS
Note: For your safety, please sign in and out at Park Headquarters. (See
- BLACK PIPE TRAIL (0.4 mile) The trail serves as an
access to the Canyon. Native hibiscus and iliau are among the plants found in the koa forest.
- CANYON TRAIL (1.4 miles) A scenic trail spurring off
the Cliff Trail to follow the north rim of the Waimea Canyon. The trail ends at Kumuwela Lookout
with its beautiful view, which crosscuts the island through Waimea Canyon, from the mountain
to the ocean.
- CLIFF TRAIL (0.1 mile) A short trail leading to an
overlook of Waimea Canyon. Feral goats frequent the neighboring walls. A picnic table is provided
at the cliff lookout.
- DITCH TRAIL (3.5 miles) A trail, which gives one a
sampling of the mountainous, forested terrain. Vistas of the surrounding forest and the Poomau
River are spread out along the trail.
- HALEMANU-KOKEE TRAIL (1.2 miles) One of the better
recreational trails, easy hiking, and a good self-guiding nature trail. The koa and ohia lehua
dominate the Halemanu forest. Some of the other plants are the mokihana, maile, pukiawe, mountain
naupaka, halapepe, aalii, ukiuki, as well as the forest's pests, the blackberry and the banana
poka. Native forest birds seen along the trail include the iiwi, apapane, elepaio, and amakihi.
- KALUAPUHI TRAIL (2.0 miles) A forest trail leading
to a plum grove.
- KUMUWELA TRAIL (0.8 mile) A forest trail used primarily
as an access to the Canyon Trail and to the Ditch Trail.
- NATURE TRAIL (0.1 mile). A conveniently located, short
trail for those without the time and energy, but with the desire to see the forest.
- PUU KA OHELO - BERRY FLAT TRAILS (2.0 miles) An interesting
nature trail leading through a variety of trees including redwood, ohia lehua, sugi pine and
- WAININIUA TRAIL (0.4 mile) A forest trail connecting
Kumuwela Road with the Camp Sloggett area.
LIHUE-KOLOA FOREST RESERVE
Day Use Only
- KEAHUA FORESTRY ARBORETUM The arboretum is located
two miles beyond the University of Hawaii Wailua Experiment Station on Hwy 580, and consists
of a wayside picnic and stream pool swimming area. It was developed as an outdoor nature classroom
that illustrates the benefits of forest management, including examples of both native and
introduced tree species.
- KUILAU-RIDGE TRAIL (2.1 miles) The trail starts on
Highway 580 about 100 yards before the Keahua Forestry Arboretum. This scenic trail ends at
the Moalepe Trail. This trail, combined with the Moalepe Trail, is a popular equestrian route.
The total length from its start to the start of the Moalepe Trail at Olohena Road is 4.25
- MOALEPE TRAIL (2.25 miles) The trail starts in the
Wailua Homesteads at the end of the pavement on Olohena Road. It begins as a right-of-way
crossing a pasture lease within the Wailua Game Management Area. The trail enters the forest
reserve at about a mile. It joins the Kuilau Trail at 2.15 miles.
NA PALI COAST STATE PARK
Trailhead for Kalalau Trail is at the end of Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) in Haena State Park on
the North Shore; Kalalau Valley also accessible by commercial boats from May 15 through September
15; Milolii (May 15 through Labor Day) and Nualolo Kai accessible by boat.
Exceptionally scenic sea cliffs and valleys that can be viewed from land along the coastal
Kalalau Trail or by air and sea with commercial operators. Primitive recreational experience
with choice of a day hike to Hanakapiai (2 miles one-way) or an 11-mile backpacking trip to
a primitive camp at Kalalau and overnight stopovers at Hanakapiai and Hanakoa. Trail traverses
high sea cliffs and lush valleys with plunging waterfalls and is strenuous. The trail to the
falls and beyond Hanakapiai is recommended for experienced hikers only. Primitive camping provided
at Milolii also. Knowledge and skills of primitive outdoor living required for backpacking and
camping along this coast. Day expeditions to Nualolo Kai by commercial boats. Shore fishing
and seasonal goat hunting. Ocean conditions are unpredictable and can be dangerous - swimming
and wading are not recommended. Day use permits required on Kalalau Trail beyond Hanakapiai
Valley. Boat landing restrictions - inquire at district office. No drinking water available
- all water must be treated. 6,175.0 acres. (See also Camping.)
NA PALI-KONA FOREST RESERVE
For access West of Highway 550 - Kokee Road. Day use only.
- AWAAWAPUHI TRAIL (3.25 miles) The trail starts at
a parking area near the highway 17 Mile Marker. This forest reserve area is managed as wilderness
because of the rich variety of native dryland plant species thriving in it (a plant guide
is available). The trail ends abruptly on the ridge top, at 2,500 ft. elevation, affording
spectacular views down sheer palis (cliffs) into Awaawapuhi and Nualolo Valleys overlooking
the Pacific Ocean. The grassy area at the end of the trail provides an excellent place to
picnic. DANGER: Do not venture beyond the safety railing at the end of the trail! The footing
is extremely unstable, and the drop to the valley floor below is over 2,000 feet.
- NUALOLO TRAIL (3.75 miles) The trail starts near Kokee
State Park Headquarters. The trail goes through the Kuia Natural Area Reserve before reach
the forest reserve. The trail ends at 2,234 ft. elevation at a USGS survey marker titled "Lolo
No.2". This trail is used mostly as an access route for hunters but also serves as an
alternate route to the cross over Nualolo Cliff Trail to Awaawapuhi Trail.
- NUALOLO CLIFF TRAIL (2.0 miles) The trail starts near
the 3.0 mile point on the Awaawapuhi Trail and meets the Nualolo Trail between the 3 mile
and 3.25 mile markers. The trail skirts the upper rim of the precipitous Nualolo Valley and
permits a "loop" route from the head of Awaawapuhi Trail to Kokee Park Headquarters
or vice versa.
NA PALI-KONA FOREST RESERVE
For access East of Highway 550 - Kokee Road. Unless otherwise noted, for day use only.
- ALAKAI SWAMP TRAIL (3.5 miles) The trail starts at
a parking and turnaround area 0.25 mile north of the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve entrance
sign. The trail leads across the Alakai Swamp through scrub native rain forest and shallow
bogs. There are excellent opportunities for bird and botany observation. It ends at a vista
called "Kilohana" on the edge of Wainiha Pali. On a clear day, the views of Wainiha
and Hanalei Valleys provide for an unforgettable experience. if you hike this route, be sure
to wear appropriate clothing. There is boardwalk but the trail is often wet, slippery and
- KAWAIKOI STREAM TRAIL (1.75 miles) The trail starts
0.75 mile beyond the Forest Reserve entrance sign on the Mohihi-Camp 10 Road, and upstream
from 'Sugi Grove'. This is likely the most scenic mountain stream side trail in Hawaii. Total
length is about 1.75 miles. The first half follows the southern side of the stream. The upper
portion makes a loop, first going inland, then returning on the north side of the stream to
reconnect with the first section. The stream provides for trout fishing in season.
- KOHUA RIDGE TRAIL (2.5 miles est.) This trail starts
approximately 2 miles beyond the Forest Reserve entrance sign on the Mohihi-Camp 10 Road.
It serves primarily as a hunter access route for pig and goat hunting but also provides views
of Waimea Canyon and dryland koa forest. DANGER: Do not venture past the safety railing at
the end of the trail.
- MOHIHI TRAIL (4.0 miles est.) the trail starts at
the Mohihi-Camp 10 Road. It crosses Mohihi Stream and follows Kohua Ridge into the "Alakai
Wilderness Preserve". The occasionally maintained trail ends at Koaie Stream. Camping
is allowed by permit only at Koaie stream gorge. The rivers get dangerously high during rainy
weather. The trail serves mostly as a hunter access route.
- MOHIHI-CAMP 10 ROAD (4.0 miles est.) The road starts
100 yards past Kokee State Park headquarters along Highway 550. This unpaved road provides
access to many of the trails in this section. Vehicular travel: 4 wheel drive only - and recommended
only during dry conditions because of steep and exceedingly slippery soil conditions. DANGER:
Do not ford stream crossings during rainy or threatening rainy weather. Streams can quickly
become dangerous torrents. If caught stranded, wait until the stream subsides. It may take
time, but be patient. Camping is allowed by permit at Kawaikoi Camp and at Sugi Grove Camp
(see Camping). Both are located about 0.75 mile beyond
the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve boundary.
- PIHEA TRAIL (3.75 miles) The trail begins at Puu O
Kila Lookout at the end of Highway 550. The Pihea Trail is a recommended forest reserve trail
for scenic views, observing Kauai's native forest birds and sampling the Alakai Wilderness'
terrain and vegetation. This is an alternate route to the Alakai Swamp trail, which intersects
the Pihea Trail just before 1.75 mile point. There is a short spur that ends at the Pihea
Overlook, the highest point on the rim of Kalalau Valley. Caution: do not go beyond the Pihea
Overlook. The terrain gets very steep beyond this point. The Pihea Trail follows the northwestern
bank of Kawaikoi Stream and ends at Kawaikoi Camp. While there is some boardwalk construction
underway, ports of the trail are often wet, slippery and muddy.
- POOMAU CANYON LOOK OUT TRAIL (0.3 mile) This short
trail starts 1.5 mile beyond the Forest Reserve entrance sign on the Mohihi-Camp 10 Road,
and leads to a grand view of Poomau and Waimea Canyon.
NOUNOU FOREST RESERVE (SLEEPING GIANT) TRAILS
Day Use Only
- KUAMOO-NOUNOU TRAIL (2.0 mile est.) The trail starts
approximately 0.5 mile beyond Opaekaa Falls on Kuamoo Road (Hwy 580) and connects with the
Nounou Mt. (West Side) Trail. It is routed laterally along the west side of Nounou Forest
Reserve through groves of trees planted in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
- NOUNOU MOUNTAIN TRAIL-EAST SIDE (1.75 mile) The trail
starts at a parking area adjacent to the Department of Water pump site beside Haleilio Road
in Wailua Houselots. The trail ends at a picnic shelter on the "chest" of the Sleeping
giant where there are vistas of the ocean coastline, as well as inland to the Wailua river
and Mount Waialeale. The west side trail joins this trail near the 1.5 mile post.
- NOUNOU MOUNTAIN TRAIL-WEST SIDE (1.5 mile). The trail
begins along Kamalu Road (Hwy 581) in the Wailua Homesteads at telephone pole #11. It starts
along a right-of-way, and then climbs up the mountain to join with the East Side Trail. The
trail is routed through forests planted in the 1930's and is quite steep.
WAIMEA CANYON AREA
Overnight camping at designated campsites is regulated by permit - this is a wildland area.
Access is via the Kukui Trail. Please pack out all food containers and rubbish. (See Camping
- Puu Ka Pele Forest Reserve.)
- ILIAU NATURE LOOP (0.25 mile) Located at the start
of Kukui Trail, this is a short roadside loop trail on the western edge of Waimea Canyon.
Native upland scrub vegetation plants are identified. The trail also affords excellent vistas
of Waimea and Waialae Canyons.
- KOAIE CANYON TRAIL (3.0 mile) This trail starts about
a half mile up the Waimea River from the bottom of Kukui Trail. It takes you on a route along
the south side of Koaie Canyon, with good scenery and swimming holes. DANGER: Do not access
this trail during stormy weather in the mountains due to dangers related to flash-flood storm
run-off over the Waimea River crossings. There are two backpack campsites (by permit only)
on this trail, Hipalau and Lonomea.
- KUKUI TRAIL (2.5 mile) The trail starts along Highway
550, about 0.75 mile beyond Mile Marker 8. It is a steep but scenic trail down the west side
of Waimea that drops 2000 ft. in elevation, ending at Wiliwili campsite on the canyon floor.
- WAIMEA CANYON TRAIL (8.0 mile est.) Proceeding from
the bottom of the Kukui Trail, this is a route that leads to the town of Waimea. This trail
fords the Waimea River several times. No camping south of Waialae Stream is allowed due to
private ownership agreements. An entry permit is required from a self-serve box at the Kukui
POIPU: JOGGING & BIKE TRAIL
Beginning at Hapa Rd., which starts next to Kiahuna Tennis Courts in Poipu, a graded pathway has
been created expressly for pedestrian and bike traffic. The 1.2 mile route provides a car-free
environment for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
MOUNTAIN BIKING IN KAUAI'S FOREST RESERVES - TRAILS AND ROADS
Respect, Enjoy, and Conserve our Forest Resources
Here are some ways to show that you care about your sport.
The trails listed below are trails and roads that are permitted for mountain
bike use in the State Forest Reserves. All other trails in the State Forest Reserves are closed
to all wheeled vehicles.
- Stay on the designated trails and roads. Riding off the trail/road destroys
vegetation and can cause erosion.
- Know where you're permitted to ride and where you're not. Respect private
property and closed areas.
- Always be courteous when you pass hikers and hunters on the trail or
other vehicles on dirt roads. If hunters have dogs with them, stop your bike and let the hunters
gather their dogs before you proceed.
- When you meet a horseback rider, go slowly and stop on the outside of
the trail. Take off your helmet and say hello. Speak in a calm, normal voice. The horse needs
to recognize you as a human. Avoid any sudden movements.
- It is recommended that riders stay on the designated roads, rather than
riding on foot trails. Listed trails are open to bikes but should not be ridden when the trail
is wet. Bicycle tires can cause serious soil erosion and deteriorate the ecosystem. Some listed
trails are steep and can be very dangerous to both the rider and hikers.
- When biking on weekends and State holidays, you should wear bright colored
clothing. You are sharing the area with hunters.
- For more information, please contact:
Department of Land & Natural Resources
Division of Forestry & Wildlife
3060 Eiwa Street, Room 306
Lihue, Hawaii 96766
Tel. (808) 274-3433
Wailua Forest Mgt. Road
Waimea Canyon Trail
Papaalai Road to Contour Road
Lapa Loop Road
Haeleele Ridge Road
Kepapa Spring Road
Polihale Ridge Road
Kaaweiki Ridge Road
Kauhao Ridge Road
Pine Forest Drive
Milolii Ridge Road
KAUAI ECO TOURS
P. O. Box 1254
Kilauea, HI 96754
(Island of Kauai)
Tel. (808) 652-3390
Fax (808) 828-0262
Experience true Hawaii on hiking tours conducted by knowledgeable and friendly guides. The
tours are nature oriented - emphasizing island sustainability. Photo