4 Scenic Kauai Day Hikes to Experience on Your Hawaiian Vacation

Hiking on Kauai while on your Hawaiian vacation can be a rewarding experience. Take time to explore the trails and come back newly refreshed from your tropical adventures.
Hiking on Kauai while on your Hawaiian vacation can be a rewarding experience. Take time to explore the trails and come back newly refreshed from your tropical adventures.

For breathtaking views on your next Hawaiian vacation, consider taking a day hike on the Garden Island, Kauai. Though you may not be ready to hike up the side of a mountain, stretching your legs and admiring Kauai's natural beauty may be just what you need from an excursion on the island of Kauai. Here are four unforgettable hikes that are short, easy to moderate in skill level, and offer beautiful vistas worthy of a really long postcard.

Mahaulepu Heritage Trail

Starting at Keoneloa Bay (known locally as Shipwrecks), which is along the western boundary of the Grand Hyatt Kauai, follow the coast north along the water's edge for this four-mile round-trip hike along the last accessible undeveloped stretch of coastline on the south shore. Along the way, immerse yourself in the rich history of this ancient trail that boasts ruins, lithified sand dunes, a cave, and beautiful sea cliffs. The trail is easy — just watch your footing for uneven ground and roots. It shouldn't take you more than a few hours to complete, unless you decide to spend some time on Mahaulepu Beach.

Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast

The Kalalau Trail, in its entirety, is a 22-mile round-trip trail for experienced hikers. Don't be intimidated by this, though, as there are several shorter trails, which are part of the main trail, that provide stunning views of the Na Pali Coast. Ambitious hikers can do the four-mile round-trip journey to Hanakapi'ai Beach. It's best to get to the trail head, located at the parking lot for Ke'e Beach, early in the day to take in the best views of the island. If it has been raining a lot, take extreme caution, as the trail can be very slippery. In addition, remember that you shouldn't cross the creek if the water level is too high, or if it's raining, as flash flooding can occur.

Wai Koa Loop Hike

This private five-mile loop hike starts at Kauai Mini-Golf and Botanical Garden in Kilauea, along the Kuhio highway. This easy hike winds through farm fields and groves, and has a lovely detour to an old dam that offers a quiet place for contemplation. Enjoy the panoramic vistas of the mountains on this one-and-a-half-hour hike.

Kauai Biking and Walking Path

Starting in Kapaa, follow the coast north along the bike path with view of the cliffs and bays of the east side. The path is 4.1 miles one way, so it can be up to an 8 mile round-trip journey. The terrain is flat, so the trail is appropriate for most abilities and is heavily traveled by locals and visitors alike. Please note that bicycles use this trail, too, so be aware of passing cyclists.

Enjoy one of these day hikes on your next excursion to Kauai, and always remember to bring water, wear appropriate footwear, and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun (and occasional rain).

Interested in a Hawaiian vacation? Booking a cruise is the perfect way to explore beaches and trails alike.