Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp

MODERATE 24 reviews
#4 of 13 trails in

Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kekaha, HI that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.4 miles 1547 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

old growth

over grown

Combining two of Kauai's best hikes take us from dramatic coastal cliffs to an exotic boardwalked swamp trail. Kauai, the oldest and westernmost inhabited Hawaiian island has a terrain and climate like nowhere else. This hike combines some of the best features of Kauai into an unforgettable hiking experience. Take a westerly drive around Kauai until you run out of road and you'll find yourself at the Pu'u O Kila Lookout marveling at the views of the plunging cliffs of Kalalau Valley on the fabled Na Pali Coast. Exploring beyond this point is achieved only on foot, so strap on those hiking boots. The trail starts at the end of Waimea Canyon Drive (550) at the Pu'u o Kila Lookout. Views of Kalalau Valley. Pihea Trail intersects Alakai Swamp Trail and continues to the Kilohana Lookout. Views of Ha'ena and the North Shore are visible from Kilohana, clouds permitting. Elevation gain: - 2,000ft (from 3,750 - 4,400ft)

13 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

Started at Pu'u O Kila look out total of 8.54 miles in and out! Beautiful and fun hike. we had a group of 12 total age ranging from 2-48! Bring LOTS of water .

7 months ago

Hike it before noon...clouds roll in after lunch. Great views of the valley. Don't be afraid of getting dirty :)

hiking
7 months ago

Fog was rolling in just as we left the trail head so we caught a quick glimpse of the coastline before getting to far down the trail. We had fun anyways and embraced the mud as we went. The terrain was interesting & even w/out the view it was a morning well spent.

11 months ago

Great views of the Ana Poli Coast and valley. Nice and muddy. Admired the hard work to build it all

hiking
1 year ago

Insanely muddy, unique Flora, wild experience. The fog prevented us from seeing any of the amazing views, and still worth it!

hiking
1 year ago

Hiking on the highest swamp in the world is a unique experience you won't want to miss, but don't be surprised if you don't see the amazing view at the end. When we arrived at the "scenic" overlook, we saw a wall of fog. We spoke to another hiker who said he'd been there 8 times and had never seen the view! The trail itself is filled with stairs and boards, which sometimes prevent you from traipsing through the mud, and sometimes not so much. Still well worth the experience!

cross country skiing
1 year ago

It was more of a moderate to HARD trail due to rain and tons of missing boards through the swamp. Hikers will definitely get muddy up to your calf in some areas. There are 6 elevation climbs if you make it to the Hanalei Lookout. It's definitely worth it!!

hiking
1 year ago

A long hike with a swamps beauty and lush greenery. Boards creek and slosh into the swamp and a few are missing. Be sure and go early on a clear day. It was fogged over by the time we reached the vista

hiking
1 year ago

We spent most of our day hiking around Waimea Canyon trails, so we only hiked to the lookout. Spectacular views! Next time I would like to make it to Alakai Swamp. I have heard that the views can be finicky from the Pihea Trail lookout depending on cloud coverage, but if you can wait for the clouds to move (which can be within minutes, or maybe an hour) the views are breathtaking!

hiking
1 year ago

1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

Hike this trail and it was a beautiful day to start. Made it in about 2 miles and it clouded over and started to sprinkle. Made it all the way out to the lookout and it started to down pour. It was slippery and wet the whole way back. We were covered in mud. Going to try it again next vacation and hoping for no rain!

2 years ago

Definitely a must hike when on Kauai. Bring hiking sticks as the trail can be very slick and footing is already difficult in spots. The swamp area can't be compared to anything I've seen in my life.

2 years ago

We loved this hike! We did it in about 5 hours with a few breaks for lunch and snacks. for us it was not very muddy... but I can see how it can be an issue after rain. we took our 2 1/2 month old with us in his sling carrier all the way to the end with no problems, but I really don't recommend it. We didn't see another kid the whole day except for a few teens. we also carried sandwiches and drank 9 bottles of water between the 2 of us. I had to drink a lot since it was hot and I was breastfeeding.

hiking
2 years ago

We planned to hike to the swamp, but only went to the lookout. The only view was white fog. If the weather were clear this would easily be a 5 star hike. Just be sure to go on a day less cloudy.

hiking
3 years ago

Like no other hike we have been on. So many cool views and things to see. Most pictures ever taking because of the beauty and amazement. 2nd favorite hike ever, after the Napoli coast water fall one.

hiking
3 years ago

Check the weather and pick the day least likely to be cloudy. The views of Napali Coast at the beginning are amazing. Be sure to take walking sticks as the trial is slick and muddy and has ruts. You pass through brushy vegetation and wonder if that is what the swamp is, but when you get to the swamp, you know it. It is really otherworldly. If you can see down to the beach at the end, take a picture immediately because the clouds can swirl around, and you can lose the chance in a nano second.

hiking
4 years ago

Fun trail. Depending on rainfall, could be very muddy. There's boardwalk on a good portion of this hike making it simple to traverse but the elevation changes prompted steps to be built. In some spots they seem like they go on forever. This is moderate to difficult. Be prepared to get a little dirty, expend some energy climbingstairs and small hills. 50/50 chance you'll have some light rain and dense clouds towards the end of the trail at the Kilohana Lookout. Beautiful none the less....

hiking
4 years ago

Such a foreign terrain but when you reach Kilohana Vista it's all worth it.