Kukui Trail is a 5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Wainiha, Kauai, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Length5.0 miElevation gain2,162 ftRoute typeOut & back
CampingHikingNature tripsWalkingRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersBugsNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

An incredible experience of Waimea Canyon's west side, this Kokee State Park trail drops 2,000 feet to the canyon floor. Travel through a forest of Kukui and other upland trees stopping at viewpoints of the canyon and distant waterfalls along the way. River at the bottom. Camping by permit at Wiliw

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (262)
Photos (239)
Activities (200)
Completed (535)
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Jeffrey Shaw
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Hiking

I didn’t make it to the bottom, unfortunately... it was socked in with rain, which defeats the purpose and made the trail increasingly slick!

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Kevin T
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Hiking

Elevation is no joke! Strenuous but beautiful.

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Oliver B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 9, 2021
Hiking

Great hike with beautiful views. We went all the way down to the river bed but you could stop at the 1.5 mile marker to enjoy the greatest views.

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Ben Goldberger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2021
HikingGreat!

totally disagree with other advice on here to stop before the river. if you're goal is to see the best vista views, you can drive up the road to the lookout and skip this hike altogether getting to the bottom and seeing the rapids was a cool experience for me. make sure to hike a quarter mile in each direction from the picnic tables (stop at the river crossings) for some cool views of the canyon from below

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Jamie Liggett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 3, 2021
Hiking

Cool trail - just as it says: very steep down to the river then back up. Rocky in some areas. Slippery when wet though it was lightly raining on us the whole time and it was WONDERFUL because it was so cooling! Beautiful colorful canyon views and raging river below. Loved!

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jaimie puccinelli
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Hiking
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Leah Friedlander
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Hiking

This is a gorgeous trail, but after some rain it can be tricky to keep your footing. The views are amazing and I agree with others that going all the way to the river isn’t necessary. The hardest part is the return trip since it’s all up

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Robert Mclaren
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HikingGreat!Muddy

My wife and I absolutely loved this hike. The canyon views were out of this world. At one point you can see waterfalls in the distance 360 degrees around. We hiked to the river, but I agree with Sabrena that hiking just to the forest line would have sufficed.

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Sabrena Camp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 23, 2021
HikingRocky

I went in blind - so that’s on me - but the hike was very steep and an amazing workout. I do not think the river view at the end was worth the 2000+ elevation gain. I would recommend hiking to the start of the forest to see the amazing canyon views then heading back up if you are tired. Only think that got me in the forest was the large Agave plants. Lots of rainbows in the canyon so make sure to pick your head up! Completed 1/18/21

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Melody Chantel
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Hiking

Nice river at the bottom! Bring plenty water, stash some halfway down so no need carry all the whole way. Definitely need a hat, sunscreen, and hike poles (makes it way easier on the incline and decline). Took us 1hr 15m to go down and 1hr 40min to go back up.

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Marcio Garcia
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Hiking
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A Shukla
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Hiking

An incredible hike and a great way to explore the canyon. We did go all the way down to the river. Round trip approximately 3.5 hours. I can imagine it would get slippery when it rains but it was a clear day when we hiked so had no problems. Overall, its a great hike.

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Jenny Chang
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Beautiful canyon hike!

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Lauren G
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Hiking

Hiked 2/2020. Great hike with excellent canyon views- we only did the first part of hike to tree line as recommended by prior reviews as the main reason to do this hike is the views which disappear once you go to low into the canyon. No shade (since you are above treeline) so wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water! Takes longer to go down than back up

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Chris Rylander
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 29, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!MuddyRocky

My wife and I did this trail yesterday. We started around noon took us just under 4 hours with a lot of stops for pictures of the amazing vistas and the many rainbows we saw develop within the canyon as well as walking along the river at the bottom - and we did the short nature loop before returning to the car. It is a steep 2000+ foot decline with the obvious uphill hike back out.. It was a VERY good workout - quad burner on the way down and butt burner on the way up. Footing on the trail is pretty good with a few muddy areas, some gravel areas but with proper hiking shoes/sandals/boots it isn't a problem. It only sprinkled a few times so I could see how rainier days would require more careful foot placement. Definitely take a good amount of water. While it is beautiful along the river in the base of the canyon, the prize is the hike itself. Seeing the views change as you head down and then back up the canyon is epic. If you're an active person, ready for a good workout, willing to take breaks as needed without time constraints, bring plenty of water and have hiking footwear, then it's worth the views. Yeah, you can see the canyon from the top, but it doesn't compare to being in the middle of it - and the RAINBOWS! Don't forget to play with the echoes too!

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Madison Hart
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HikingBugsMuddyNo shadeOver grownRocky

My husband and I love to hike and are in good shape. We decided to do this trail as it had excellent reviews. Make sure you wear good hiking boots, as the trail is all downhill until the bottom, and then all uphill on the way back. The trail seems to be split into three distinct sections: up top, where there's a lot of gravel and loose dirt mixed with dry grasses and some occasional slick mud, the middle (which we deemed 'the hell strip' as it was tough to go down and even WORSE coming up) which is all red rock/dirt and is covered with loose dirt, which makes it slick no matter the season, and the bottom which is all wooded, shaded (which was nice) but home to slippery rocks and swarms of mosquitos that don't care if you have applied and reapplied bug spray. On the way down, my husband commented that this was the hardest hike he had ever endeavored as he felt he was constantly on edge and working to keep his balance. At this point, I didn't agree with him. We reached the bottom, only to find it was absolutely not worth it. You reach the bottom and it's a wooded flatland that leads to the river. There's a bathroom, a picnic shelter, a fire pit, lots of trash, and a limited view of the river. We walked to the edge and looked for a moment, had a snack, but it was not at all worth the hike. The way up was awful. We had to stop many times in order to catch breath. The incline is unrelenting. I am covered in mosquito bites, and the hell strip suddenly had full sun, so it was like walking in the desert. Thank goodness we had a camelbak! Take so much water! We ran into another couple on the trail who was equally displeased with the hike and said that they had also chosen it due to the reviews on all trails. Do NOT do this hike unless you are prepared for a vertical descent and climb with excellent hiking boots. My smart watch clocked this hike at 5 hours, not at the 3.5 that it claims to be. I have no idea what superhero could do it in 3.5. I burned 1900 calories and took 21330 steps. Know what you're in for before doing this hike!!

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Remy Grossi
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Hiking

Great Hike to the river!

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Han Yan
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Hiking
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Wayne Kinslow
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Hiking

Medidas

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Eric Schroeder
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Hiking

Excellent hike, beautiful views from top to bottom. There wasn’t any way to cross the river because it was flooded from heavy rains. Lots of mosquitoes so proper bug repellent is recommended. Definitely would do it again to make it past the river!

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david stormoen
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Hiking

Definitely hard but with no rain today it was pleasant.

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Ben Oliveri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!

Beautiful hike straight down into the canyon and then straight back up. Bring a lot more water than you think you need! Really nice little campground at the bottom to hang out at, and the views of the canyon are stunning on the way down. Totally different perspective looking up at all the peaks instead of down like most of the hikes here.

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