Toughest Kauai Hikes

Koke'e State Park. Photo Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

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The Kauai Hike Challenge

If you love the outdoors, Kauai is the island for you. With beautiful cliffs, forests, ocean views and a smaller population, there is much more for you to explore. For those of you who love steep inclines, bushwhacking, extreme mud or extra long hikes, check these hikes out for a tough workout in the Hawaiian sun.

Kukui Trail – No Kauai trail list would be complete without a hike in Waimea Canyon! This hike is extremely steep going down and returning up so make sure your knees can take the pressure and that you come prepared.

Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail – The most famous of all the Na Pali trails. Usually done in two days, but it is possible to do this in one day if you are in great shape, travel light and move fast.

Okolehao Trail
Honopu Ridge Trail
Alakai Swamp Trail

Alakai Swamp Trail – Fun inland hike that will leave you covered in more mud than you can imagine. You’ll spend the whole day at this hike, but the view is breathtaking!

Extra tip: Avoid this hike during bad weather as it’s possible to get rained out.

First time Hawaii visitors often fall into the trap thinking that each island is similar to the next. But Kauai is fondly called the Garden Isle for a reason. Because it’s so much older than the other Hawaiian Islands, it’s had a lot of time create sheer cliffsides and crumble into deep valleys, canyons and rivers. There’s also a lot less people living here (and generally more wealthy). If you’re looking for a little more isolation, less people and a lot more variety in nature (not to mention higher prices), then Kauai is a good tropical destination for you.

Kauai Has A Different Kind Of Fun

  • There are a few things that are “must-see” activities when in Kauai. One is seeing the Na Pali cliffs up close. My absolute favorite way is on a private boat tour that includes a sunset dinner. The cliffs are breath-taking to the point where you’ll be glad to have time to relax and enjoy the view from every angle you drift to.
  • Another popular way is to ride a helicopter. On this flight, you’ll not only see the Na Pali cliffs, but also hidden waterfalls and the immense Waimea Canyon.
  • Another awesome way to explore the cliffs is on a snorkeling tour! You’ll sail along Na Pali to prime snorkeling areas where green sea turtles and spinner dolphins often hang out.
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