Top Hiking Trails on Kauai
With trails leading to waterfalls, coastlines, cliffs, and rainforest, Kauai is a hiker’s paradise. Discover the best of Kauai’s natural wonders by following these trails:
Kalalau Trail (Na Pali Coast Trail) - 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) one-way
The Kalalau Trail is Kauai’s most popular trail, and for good reason—it stretches along the Na Pali coastline, traverses steep cliffs and lush valleys, and provides dramatic coastal scenery at every turn. A permit is required to hike the full trail, but day hikers can enjoy a shorter route that leads to Hanakapiai Beach.
Nounou East Mountain Trail (Sleeping Giant)—4 miles (6.4 kilometers) round-trip
Accessible from Wailua, the Nounou East Mountain Trail climbs through dense forest and across a ridgeline that resembles a Sleeping Giant. It culminates with views of Kauai’s east coast.
Kuilau Ridge Trail—4 miles (6.4 kilometers) round-trip
A former road, this trail is one of the easier hikes on the list, making it perfect for families. The trail takes you through lush eucalyptus forest and provides views of the Makaleha Mountains and Kauai’s interior.
Ho’opi’i Falls Trail—4 miles (6.4 kilometers) round-trip
The short Ho’opi’i Falls hike leads to two waterfalls, the second of which you may recognize from the film Jurassic Park. The trail can get quite muddy and be difficult to follow in places, but traversing the dense rainforest terrain is quite the adventure.
The Waimea Canyon Trail—3.4 miles round-trip (5.5 kilometers)
The Waimea Canyon Trail is the most popular trail in Waimea Canyon and leads hikers to Waipo’o Falls, an 800-foot (224-meter) cascading waterfall. The trail offers incredible views into Waimea Canyon and ocean views from the Kumuweka Lookout.
Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail—4 miles (6.4 kilometers) round-trip
One of the easier hikes on Kauai, the The Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail follows the coast from Shipwrecks Beach to the Makauwahi Caves, famed for their abundance of fossils.