Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Koke'e State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
5 days ago

The views from this trail are stunning and well worth it!You hike down into the Canyon on the Kukui trail. This was steep, and a that bright red mud/clay mix which I imagine would be treacherous when wet.
At the bottom of the Canyon the Kukui trail ends and you may either turn left and head up the Canyon to Lonomea campground, or right and follow the Canyon all the way out to the town of Waimea (around 8 miles). (...Or indeed you could turn around and hike the Kukui trail back up and out)
So, tips for IF YOU TURN LEFT AND INTEND TO CAMP: the campsite right at the bottom of the Kukui trail is called Williwilli (it's beautiful). Further up the trail and 3 river crossings later (which will definitely require you to get your feet wet) is Kaluahaulu campground, then Hipalau, and finally at the end of the trail is Lonomea. We had a permit for Lonomea campground, but did not actually make it there because the trail was SO overgrown, and ducked into Hipalau instead. We really were battling our way through dense overgrown thorny plants, which were often above head height, for sustained stretches. What's more there is a sharp drop off on one side (totally unproblematic if you can see the path, but a little treacherous if you can't see where you're putting your feet!). It's really just a shame that Hawaii State Parks rangers aren't doing a proper job and clearly haven't been up there in (at the very least) a few months. Camping at any campsite does require a permit. I will say, however, that although both Kaluahaulu and Hipalau were showing as fully booked on the State Parks website, the night we were there only one couple was at Kaluahaulu and we were the only couple at Hipalau (and the dreadfully overgrown state of the trail informed us that clearly no rangers go back there to check permits). A tip for if you are camping though - the mosquitos are swarming down there. I covered myself in bug spray and still got eaten alive... take DEET!
Tips for IF YOU TURN RIGHT TO HIKE THE CANYON OUT: It's very straight forward - it's essentially an 8 mile dis-used 4x4 trail, with multiple river crossings (I lost count, although I think it was around 11). The river crossings will definitely require you to get your feet/legs wet. Otherwise, though, it's very easy. It's not hugely scenic (especially the last 3 miles or so), but it is kind of cool to see how long the Canyon continues for.
Best thing about both these trails - hardly anyone else on them!

You really see the parts of the canyon you cant from the overlook. It takes you to the top of the falls seen from the Waimea Canyon Overlook. A couple cliffs here and there, but not bad enough someone afraid of heights couldn't make. Absolutely beautiful sights of the canyon from a unique side for a short hike.

Great, easy trail with the family. Although you can't see the waterfalls in all their splendor at the top, the views of the valley from the falls are amazing. Additionally, think about taking a swimsuit to swim in the small swimming hole and feeder waterfall that is just off the main trail to the top of the falls. It is a beautiful little spot and an pretty easy way in/out.

It took us 2 hours round trip from the main road. It was a nice stroll to the top of the waterfall. We didn’t have issues with mosquitoes.

hiking
9 days ago

We are covered in bug bites from our ankles to our faces and we DID use bug spray. The only waterfall you see is on the other side of the canyon. You hike to a river that is swarming in mosquitoes. There are so many other better hikes in the park and on the island. This one is not worth your time or energy. It is super slippery going down. Overall, not worth it.

This trail was pretty family friendly! Footing is definitely good enough to baby wear. The end at the falls has some fun boulders to scramble, and the falls view is from the top/start of the fall. We did drive the 4x4 path in a Jeep, which cut the hike distance in half, and was a fun and convenient alternative considering we had just completed the Kalepa Ridge Hike, and the sunset was upon us! There are definitely some loose footing /crumbling dirt slide places but you are able to get far enough away from the cliffs edge to feel comfortable taking a tumble or sliding on your booty!

Went on this hike yesterday afternoon with my family. Highly recommend! If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle you can drive through some of the forested part to the hiking trail, otherwise plenty of people (like us) park just off the main road and hike the whole way. This hike features beautiful forest vegetation, some open summit views of the canyon area, and a gorgeous waterfall at the end. We went in dry conditions, I would not recommend doing this hike in wet/recent rain conditions as there are several areas of loose gravel and slopes that can become quite slick.

Beautiful waterfall cascading out if canyon!

Enjoyed this hike!

Cannot get enough of Waimea Canyon

Loved this hike. Had lots of ups and down on the trail so it felt even paced! We went on a gorgeous sunny day and could see the whole canyon. We are not the most experienced hikers and didn’t have a problem on this trail.

One of my favorite hikes. Did it + Black Pipe with a 6 month old.

Beautiful views of the canyon! and not too difficult. We took breaks on the big rocks and went all the way to the falls which were just okay in my opinion. I didn't enjoy seeing folks getting so close to the top of the falls- very scary. The hike was worth it in my opinion just for a different and better view of the canyon than the lookout.

rough downhill 4x4 road leading from 550 down to main trail. using a jeep made it enjoyable but if traversing by foot, could be a tough chore coming back up at the end. views of canyon were incredible and worth it.

The first 1/4 mile of this hike affords incredible view of Kalalau valley. We were there around 2pm in late May 2018 and the mist and fog blew away for about 15 minutes to give us spectacular vistas. The rest of the time was completely foggy and sprinkling rain: hope you get lucky! The swamp in the last part is spooky but pretty short. Personally I didn't think the swamp was worth it, but I'm into vistas. Locals later told us their fave hike is Kalepa ridge trail, so consider doing that one or Awa'awapuhi instead.

Did this hike with my adult daughter. the day we went was not too muddy. Also did this hike a year and half ago - had an easier time of it this trip. Saw the people on the ridge from the lookout above and just had to do the hike.

This hike is about the journey, not the destination. The endless boardwalks through the swamps are unique - the experience is both exhilarating and miserable at the same time. Try to get to the end early so that the view will not be obscured by clouds, this happened to me unfortunately. Also plan to get muddy and bring plenty of water/food.

1 month ago

Wow! Stunningly beautiful hiking. Well worth the effort. The views are well worth the steep drop.

Beautiful hiking trail. We went to the falls, alongside the cliffs for astounding views into the canyon that you cannot get from the lookouts. We are in average shape, early 30’s and hiked this in about 3 hours with plenty of stops for pictures along the way.

Wife and I hiked starting from the main road as our rental car would probably not have made it down the two track in one piece. Probably want a Jeep or pickup truck for that. Hiking was mostly through dense forests until the end where you get spectacular views of the canyon! Overall pretty easy hike but the clay on the trail was slick in some areas

Most of this trail belongs to the Waimea Canyon Trail (from Puuhinahina lookout to Waio'po parking lot). About half of mile of this trail is on the main road in the park, Koke'e Road--potentially dangerous when visibility is low.

In addition, this trail while do-able for all ages, isn't "easy" by any means--requires crossing streams and drastic descent in elevation.

The start of the hike is enough to turn around most timid adventure seekers but to push on is so worth the price of admission. Once at the lookout, be patient. The clouds will soon blow by and the Kauai wonder will appear before you. Ocean, mountains, waterfalls, and all of God's splendor. Trekking poles will increase your enjoyment two-fold.

Did the hike today. Moderate Trail. Can be slippery and muddy. View into the canyon is great, standing on top of the waterfalls also. Trail is very highly trafficked. We started at the lookout. Trail was disappointing compared to other trails on the island.

Beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Stunning!!! And rather brutal and muddy.
It’s “only” five miles but the mud and rough trail make it take a while. The views about halfway down are stunning, though, and the forest is filled with frogs and goats and is also quite pretty. Also pack water and good shoes it is quite slick.

walking
2 months ago

Stunning. Not really a trail though, just a short path to a beautiful view.

Very nice hike. Did this with two kids and the in-laws. The canyon view was amazing! The falls were just ok, but we’re from Washington where waterfalls are amazing. We all had a great time though. The day was dry so the trail was fine. On a rainy day I could see how this could be a slippery hike.

Great trail. Great views at the end. Most of the trail is in dense forest but views at the falls are amazing. The trail is very well used and busy. If one drove down Halemanu Road the hike is only 2 miles round trip.

Enjoyable, moderate hike with variety - wooded, open cliff, and the top of a waterfall. Make sure your shoes have good traction, as the trail is muddy and steep in some spots.

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