Location: Kauai, HI
Distance from Poipu: 35mi (~1hr, 10min) ♡ ♡
Hike: ~6.5mi RT ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Moderate ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Small lot + Street Parking (on the upside, there are usually not THAT many people here because of the distance) ♡ ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
Good morning, everyone! We are so incredibly thrilled to share this amazing hike with you today! It is called the “Awa’awapuhi Trail”, which roughly translated means “eel valley.” According to legend, it was named this because there was an eel named Kuna who swam along these cliffs in search for a new home on Kauai!
One of our valet friends at our resort recommended this hike, and he is a local, so you know that you’re in for a treat. He warned us that it was pretty long, but we didn’t realize it was six miles long until we were well on the hike…..this was totally my bad! He had given us a little sheet with the description of the hike and I saw it said 3 miles - not realizing it was one way, rather than round trip! *face palm*
Brandon, being the amazing trooper that he is, came along and didn’t complain at all! We have a few key suggestions for this hike:
wear shoes with good traction…I can’t tell you the number of people in flip flops or flimsy sandals!
either bring walking poles with you, or pick up a stick from the plethora of wooden sticks at the start of the trail to help stabilize you
have plenty of water with you! We only planned for a 3miler so we were pretty thirsty on the way back
try to go earlier in the day (~9-10am). The trail is usually muddy, but at least in the morning you can avoid it being both muddy and slippery after everyone has walked through it and smeared the mud
dress in layers, or ideally bring a windbreaker! It gets cold in the forest, but hot near the end as you are exposed to the glorious Hawaiian sunshine
As you can see, the majority of the trail is within the forest. This means that the rain that falls doesn’t have a chance to dry and so it leaves a ton of muddy puddles along the trail. It’s slow going any time you go, but we suggest trying to be one of the first to start hiking so that you can avoid the “slip n slide” that’s created as everyone walks through the mud and smears it everywhere!! That makes it 1000X harder! Keep in mind that getting to the viewpoint is majority downhill, so you have to engage your core to keep your momentum in check.
About halfway to the viewpoint, the forest opens up for a brief minute and you can glimpse the nearby Honopu Ridge Trail, which is an extremely difficult, bushwacking, 4 mile RT adventure. We actually saw people on the ridge - so incredible! - but we will stick to the more well-used Awa’awapuhi Trail, thank-you-very-much.
The last half mile or so opens up, so your view looks like the picture above. At this point, you can hear the helicopters are they circle the Na Pali Coast so you know that you are near the end! However, because this is Kauai, there is one last pretty steep climb down that you need to make before getting to where everyone was congregating.
Just take your time, keep your core engaged, and you’ll be fine!! Because once you get there, the views are absolutely stunning! There is a little ledge that you can climb to (Brandon is pictured below on it), but we don’t recommend this because you have to crawl on all fours across a narrow strip of land to get there. Brandon confirmed that the views are not much better from the rock.
We recommend that you bring lunch & enjoy the views after all your hard work getting here (and for the three miles of uphill that awaits you on the way back)! It truly has been one of our favorite hikes to date because it combines both the mountains and the ocean that we love so much!
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