Explore the most popular trails in Ku‘ia Natural Area Reserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

Awesome hike! Gets pretty steep at times and can be muddy and slippery, so definitely bring hiking boots and maybe grab a walking stick along the way - especially if it's been raining! We got caught in a heavy rainstorm and the slopes became very slick, so would only recommend this to experienced hikers. Took about 5.5 hours round trip

hiking
muddy
9 days ago

Did this trail today 2/11. VERY muddy after the weekend storm. Would recommend letting it dry out some if you have the time. Amazing views at the end of the trail. Totally worth it to get out there.

hiking
muddy
over grown
10 days ago

We (stupidly) went the day after a major storm. There were downed trees all along the ridge part of the loop that connects the two trails. Tons of slippery mud, so much so that we didn't make it out to the lookout at the end of the Nu'alolo trail. Took me and my wife about 6 hours to do 9 miles. We hitched a ride back to our car.

hiking
muddy
12 days ago

Great to have this trail back open after a few years being closed. Wanted to trail run it, but muddy/steep areas made it mostly a hike. Views at the end are amazing! My only negative thing to say is that there was so many helicopters constantly coming in to view the Napali Coast. 5 stars for sure

hiking
muddy
13 days ago

there is a designated parking spot for this trail. not a difficult hike but can extremely muddy and will need some effort to cross the muck. the views are 100% rewarding. i was questioning myself if i was going the right way on the cliff trail, but then it opens up. unreal! the hike back is of course tiring with the climbs. well worth your time in kokee state park!

hiking
muddy
17 days ago

hiking
muddy
26 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

Loved this hike even though it kicked my butt!!! It was lightly trafficked today & the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Saw whales at the end while eating lunch & heard goats on the way but could never spot them. Not very muddy & well worth the effort!!

Well worth the effort. Took us about 6 hours. The views are spectacular! We started out at the head of the Nu’alolo trail and did the loop. The Nu’alolo trail had a lot less traffic than the Awa-awapuhi trail.

We did the hike on a weekend and did have to deal with some hunters...their dogs were running up and down the trail for the first 20 minutes. Otherwise, it was an awesome hike...felt very rewarding when we finished.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Between moderate and hard, it’s a reverse trail so way back is uphill. There are some challenging points but I actually had more trouble on the decline with the mud than on the way up. Boots or hiking shoes are a must.

Views are spectacular of the na’apali coast line.

Got there at 8:30 and was done by 12:30 pm.

To hike all the way to the farthest lookout you go through a grassy tree portion of the peak which is the only portion where the trail wasn’t completely clear. 5 stars! Have fun :)

This was a great trail to do. We did this loop in 5:30 hours. We parked a car at the head of each trail so we didnt have to walk back on the road. The day we went had great conditions. Not too slippery. The views for the vistas were unbelievable. Each one was a different view of the napali coast. They changed the cliff trail to be further in recently seeing they had a few rescues from the other one. That trail is 2 miles long and took about 1.25 hours. All in all a great day hike!!

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent views of the coast and Waimea valley, by far our favorite hike in Kauai. Trail wasn’t super muddy;however, last .75 miles to lookout are fairly technical. Our walking sticks helped quite a bit, plus good trail running shoes. Took us about 4 hrs with breaks for pics and snacks. IMO way better views than Awapuhi trail and less foot traffic. Go early in the day and you’ll have the trail to yourself.

That is an awesome trail! Don't settle with just one - do both! Try to have good weather for a great view :)
Can be muddy, but otherwise fairly easy - did it in about 5 hours I think.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, one of the best around! Do yourself a favor and do it as a loop along with Awa'awapuhi. Careful, can get muddy. Do when sunny or only partly cloudy to have the best view!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is actually 7.5 based on trail markers. Ignore what AllTrails is saying of 6.9.

Amazing views - of the canyon, the ocean, and the valley with the river running through with a waterfall. What more could you ask for? I only hike for a view - and this was definitely the best.

Warning: this is a reverse hike - you hike DOWN to the view and back UP to finish. So save your water for your second half. I always prefer hikes where I can hike back down - but the views were too beautiful to pass up.

Expect it to be muddy! There was a lot of slipping and sliding even with some pretty sturdy worn in hiking boots. We did this without poles, gaiters, or micro spikes - but I imagine they might be quite helpful. My boyfriend and I are pretty avid hikers and are reasonably fit. We completed trail in 4-5 hours - but took a nice long break at top for lunch and pictures. It definitely would’ve been faster if it wasn’t so muddy. Not ideal for trail running IMO.

There is trail parking - but I also imagine you can park at Koke’e Lodge and walk over (use bathrooms there too).

This is a review of the Nu'alolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop. If you want more details on those two individual trail experiences, look to the specific pages for them. I'll try to describe the loop itself.

Nu'alolo Trail: We decided to start our loop with the Nu'alolo Trail first, based on recommendation from AllTrails and other sources. I think this was a good decision. We went on a clear November day and the hike was still quite muddy and overgrown at the beginning. Nothing you can't get through, but if it's been raining recently (is it ever not?) you'll get dirty and I'm glad I didn't have to hike uphill through it. I personally prefer to go steep downhill through slick mud (not along the ridge), but YMMV. We started around 7:30AM on a Sunday and had the entire trail to ourselves. Parking was medium sized, 15ish spots. The first 2.5 miles are jungle but afterwards you start to get ridge views, and by 3.5 miles you're on the ridge looking over the Nu'alolo Valley and Napali Coast itself. You end with lots of panorama views of the coast and the Awa'awapuhi ridge; if you're here while the rest of the Napali Coast it still closed, this may be the best view you get.

Nu'alolo Cliffs Trail: This is the connection between the Nu'alolo and Awa'awapuhi Trails. Part of it on the Nu'alolo side was a washed out a year or so ago but has been fixed up by DNLR. Still, it was bit overgrown in places; not so much that you can't find the trail, but still a bit bushwack-y in places. You'll go through a quick descent at the new fork before meeting up with the old trail beyond where the old connection washed out. From there you'll hike through jungle before meeting up with Awa'awapuhi. There are a couple lookouts along the way but nothing spectacular. This is really just a connection between the two main attractions, do not do this thinking you're getting something amazingly different.

Awa'awapuhi Trail: I think this is the easier trail overall, which is why we chose to go up it in the end. Once connecting you should head down to the lookout, which is definitely the most stunning part of this loop; you'll have a huge panoramic view of the Nu'alolo ridge and it is simply spectacular (and probably crowded). Take your time, get your pictures and the head up the trail and home. It's still gonna be a struggle, but much easier than the Nu'alolo side.

When you get to the parking lot hopefully you'll have a ride waiting for you. If not, you'll have a couple miles downhill walk back to the Nu'alolo parking lot. Could be worse! Overall this is a great workout with 2 stunning views that I'm glad to have seen. It took us about 6 hours with lunch and plenty of dawdling for pictures. If due to time or length you had to choose one I'd go with Awa'awapuhi, but I still think both sides are awesome and worth the full day.

hiking
3 months ago

My wife and I hiked this trail yesterday. Slippery due to recent rains but the veiws of the Napali coast at the end were worth the slippery trail to get there. The hike out is uphill so it took a little more effort. We did the round trip in 4 hourd but if it were dry it would only take 3 hours. The trail is 3.8 miles each way and you can even explore a little further if you go past the railing at the end.

Great trail with incredible views.
It took us 5:30 hours with two food and picture break. Due to the heavy rain of the day before we decided to hike it backwards starting from the Awa’awapuhi. It was a good idea since the Nu’alolo is way steeper and very hard to hike down when covered in mud.
Just remember to bring water and some snacks. It is a long trail and might get difficult at some points. Be careful and you will be fine.

on Nu'alolo Trail

hiking
3 months ago

Randonnée magnifique avec, à l’arrivée, une vue splendide sur Napili Coast! La randonnée est composée de 3 parties bien distinctes (ombragé, peu ombragé et non ombragé). Il est vrai qu’elle a un dénivelé important, mais nous avions été surpris par la montée (moins hard que ce que l’on pensait). Pensez à garder au moins 1 litre d’eau pour le retour! Selon la météo cela vous sera utile!
4h pour les bons marcheurs: 1h30 allée - 2h30 retour

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this trail and it came out closer to 7.9 miles and approximately 2100 of vertical. Some sections Can slippery especially with a recent rainfall. Excellent hike would recommend. Those who are in good physical shape this is not a very challenging hike can easily be done without breaks. Those in moderate condition some breaks and closer to four hours. The way back is more challenging.

Amazing hike. For those who hike regularly, this trail is not very difficult. Two or three very steep parts but so worth it. Highly recommend. Oh, and whoever said "save water for the hike back" you are a lifesaver. Water on the way back and at the end is much needed.

Steep Hike, but well worth the sweeping views of the coast. We had hiking poles and I was very glad! It helped stabilize on the slick mud.

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely incredible view! Well worth it!

4 months ago

This trail is amazing, the hike back is very arduous, but the views are so worth it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at the end of the trail, it felt like we were on another planet.

This hike was really enjoyable. The first part of the hike is not all that spectacular but the second parts gets really interesting and the view at the end is simply breathtaking. We did a very interesting option which is to take the 2 mile connection trail to the Awa'awapuhi trail. Dont be surprised if the trail is unmaintaned at the beginning. Taking both trails allows you to make a 11 mile loop trail which takes about 6 hours.The views at Nu'alolo cliff trail are more impressive but Awa'awapuhi should still not be missed. Either you can park two cars at both trail heads or walk along the road back to the original car park.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike. On your way down, up to around mile 3 you start to wonder why this hike is labeled hard, then it kicks up the intensity. Unparalleled views at the end. Recommend hanging out down at the end for an hour or so before you tackle all that elevation on the way back. We went in at 12:30, hung out for an hour past the trail end (don’t stop at the end sign the best views are yet to come) and were back at the trailhead by 5:30. Save water for the hike back. Overall for an ‘Unmaintained’ trail the trail was in great shape. Would recommend pants though as there are some areas of thick brush.

Awesome hike that I would rate as "Moderate+". The first few miles are some hills, but nothing too bad and it's mixed with flat sections. The last half mile is pretty steep but the Nā Pali coastal view is the best I've seen yet! Wow! Coming back will, of course, be steep but nothing too bad. If muddy,this trail would have been more difficult because it gets slippery. A few parts are a little overgrown, but trail is well maintained and easy to follow.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike with big payout at the end, but you definitely work to get there. trail is a bit overgrown and thick at the start - you’re in trees and more mountainous trail terrain then it opens up to some epic views. Stair master like on the way back up and out of the trail, still worth it if you’re up for the workout.

The views at the end of the trail are just breathtaking...

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