Nu'alolo Trail is a 12.1 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 12.1 km Elevation Gain: 786 m Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

Directions from Waimea: Take either Highway 55 0r 550 to the highway's junctiom above the Waimea Canyon. Continue up the hill towards Kokee State Park. Drive along the highway past the Halemanu Valley Road for around 11/2 miles. This will place you at the turnoff for the Kokee State Park Headquaters. Travel along a short paved broad meadow into the Kokee Lodge parking lot.

hiking
1 hour ago

Like most trails on Kauai the difficulty depends a bit upon how much rain we’ve had and much of the trail is mud. It was a beautiful blue sky day so the trail was in good shape. A few overgrown and muddy stretches for the first mile but nothing too difficult. With a lot of rain this would be a tough trek even for experienced hikers. The views of the Napali coast at the very end of the trail are spectacular. Truly some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The trail is a little too long and too steep in a few spots for young kids.

hiking
over grown
22 days ago

Definitely has overgrown spots but still enough people hike it that you can follow the trampled spot to find you way along the overgrown path. Beautiful view and worth the prickles from the sticker bushes.

hiking
over grown
22 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
22 days ago

The views through the last mile (and really near the end) are breathtaking and some of the most amazing I've ever seen. Definitely worth the trek back uphill on the back half for sure. As others have mentioned, the first 30% of the hike has sections that are very overgrown and portions fully cover the trail, though you can still see where others trekked through. I uploaded a picture showing a portion with bigger leaves, but that was good compared to some of the 6' tall grassy areas where the annoying pricker bushes go right across the trail for 100s of feet. I wore long sleeves and long pants (which I would recommend), but still got a few minor scratches on my hands. I started the hike at 7:30am from a suggestion from a local to make sure the canyon want covered in clouds. It was cloudy (high) and there was a lot of moisture on the ground and on the leaves which made some of the first portion of the trail muddy and slippery and soaked my clothes and shoes. It has rained a bit 2 days before, just keep that in mind. I had trekking poles which helped a lot, as the entire trail is dirt and downed/dead leaves (which is really what was super slippery). Once you get to the ridgeline (~2.7 miles in), the views put you into high gear. There are some pretty large drop-offs, and toward the end there was one section about 4' long where the width of the crossing was about 2' wide with big drops on both sides. I couldn't imagine crossing that or some of the narrow sections further up in the rain comfortably, and I've done Knife's Edge on Katahdin in high winds. You come to a metal structure at one of the lookout points which seems to be the end, but there is a better view and cool ledge to sit on another few hundred feet further. I went even further up the trail to see what else there was to see and besides seeing one of the cliffs on the left (which is beautiful) and a slightly better view of the water, I probably would have skipped that and stayed at the lookout longer just enjoying the beauty. That part of the trail is weird and not very obvious, so I ended up walking on the sloped edge. I would have liked to see the canyon with the sun shining on it, but that only happens later in the day and I didn't want to risk the weather - rain and clouds rolling into the whole canyon. It was partly sunny. The trek back has a pretty high grade right off the bat and will wind you at times, but honestly was more comfortable for me because it was less "slippery" and I could just put my head down, rock out to some Van Halen and climb. I brought three 20 oz bottles of water and that was enough for me. I saved 2.25 bottles for the way back. I only saw 4 other groups come through - 1 before me and 3 later in the hike, but that was it. So for a solo-hike it was really nice and peaceful other than the helicopters constantly flying overhead toward the end - thankfully I had noise-dampening headphones cranking Van Halen ;). For those looking to do the Cliff Trail to Awa'awapuhi loop, the group ahead of me (David and Heather) said that connector was beyond overgrown, way worse than this trail in the beginning, and it had a fence and "closed" sign. Though from what I learned from locals, that actually means it is a good hike ;). I would absolutely do this hike again, though ideally the full loop including the cliff trail. The way out took about 1:20 or so with a half dozen picture breaks, stayed at the lookout for about 45 minutes, and the way back took about 1:35 or so with a couple of water breaks. I would never do this trail in the rain or mist where the ground hasn't had the chance to dry somewhat. I just couldn't imagine that being fun or safe. I think the extra day in between of no rain helped most of the hike be fairly dry and made it enjoyable. Have fun!

hiking
over grown
28 days ago

Nice hike. In-and-out. Downhill in, uphill out. Beautiful views once your out of the trees (2.5 miles in or so). Easy getting there, strenuous moments back. Saw about 3 or 4 parties (two were solo). Breathing was easy if you’re from higher elevation (I’m from CO)! Overall, a beaut. If I had one comment, it’s that I wish it were more scenic throughout. Doesn’t get scenic until the later part of the decent.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Ok so...totally worth it but come prepared. I was walking down very steep inclines through slippery mud. A walking pole or microspikes might have helped. Then the trail basically disappears into tall lily grasses. I mean you can walk through but it’s very overgrown. I was in a tank top and my arms got a bit scraped up from the tall grasses so I would bring a thin long sleeve shirt to throw on for this part. It gets better in about half a mile once you get to the overgrown part. All in all totally worth it for the adventure and the incredible views so stick with it but come prepared for adventure!

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Get ready to walk long uphill distances, bring "enhance" water to avoid dehydration, and snacks to picnic at end of the trail and recharge for your way back. Trail is amazing and enjoyable. Path is well defined and easy to follow. Start early to have enough time to stop and take pictures.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Hiked this trail in late March 2019 -- it was quite the adventure! /Lots/ of mud, areas where you have no choice but to ford swampy mud puddles, some steep inclines that turned into slides because of the rain, and a foggy exposed lookout point. That said, it was so much fun. Truly felt like a challenge, and there wasnt a boring second. And the view when the clouds parted... amazing. Bring LOTS of water and waterproof gear if you go during wet season.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
1 month ago

About 3 miles before seeing a first viewpoint. Otherwise, vegetation and earthy. Fortunately, we did not have rain so it was not muddy, but if it had been the case it would have been very slippery. The Lolo Vista is breathtaking. We stayed there for over an hour. Almost no cloud. Many helicopters passing.

hiking
muddy
over grown
2 months ago

We started at 7:30AM. Snagged one of the communal walking sticks. So glad I did. It was 60°, and we had the entire first half to ourselves. Saw three couples on the way back out. The first mile or so is up and some down in the woods. Then you cross a thick, overgrown area (flat, but oh, so thorny!!). This part drenched my shorts, socks, and shoes. We think it was dew on the leaves, not rain. This is where I’d recommend pants and long sleeves. Then more forest and lots of descent down slick trails. The slick trails were, in my opinion, more difficult going down. The last 1.8 miles is in and out of forest. You start seeing the exposed ridge and the ocean. The last mile or so, you’re mostly exposed, and this was the hottest part on the way back. Glad we did this early. The lookout is incredible. I think the valley colors would be more vibrant in the afternoon, but we didn’t want to deal with the heat or more people. Took us about 2 hours each way.

hiking
2 months ago

I did this hike alone, but it was no issue! The path is clearly worn the whole time which was nice. Some parts were really muddy, and even with my hiking shoes I found myself slipping here and there. There’s a pile of walking sticks at the beginning if you need one which I liked as well. I didn’t start until 9:30, and it took me about 4 hours to do (this included staying out at the end for a good 30 min) and I only came across a handful of people the whole time. The view at the end of this is worth every slip and struggle. Simply breathtaking! I got lucky with it being mid morning and the sun was still out when I got to the end. Only thing I didn’t like was all the helicopters that flew overhead interrupting the peace, but that’s out of my control. Overall, an excellent hike.

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

Very wet, very steep, which means very slippery. The beginning has lots of berry bushes with thorns so be prepared for a few scrapes. We left around 10:00 and finished at 4:00. By the time we got to the lookout the clouds had rolled in and socked in the view completely which was kinda a letdown. Overall, good hike but be prepared with water, good shoes, and some snacks.

hiking
3 months ago

Not for everyone. It took about 4 hours, with 3 people. It was leisurely going down, but the hard part was obviously going back up. We all had trail running/hiking shoes, so slipping was not a problem. The trail does narrow quite a bit as you’re almost done, so be careful. I would do this again, but early, really early, like before 7am. The view is the payoff....

hiking
3 months ago

I wish that the waterfall that this trail features would be running. But, I guess the trail would also be slippery. I say this is a MODERATE rate for experienced hikers. Shady path, light trafficked, and the view at the end of the trail, simply amazing.

hiking
3 months ago

BE VERY CAUTIOUS IF WET. It started to rain in our last mile on the way back, and the conditions became slick really quickly. Outside of that, this hike was amazing! Amazing trail, absolutely fantastic views.

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty tough hike, definitely recommend starting the day early. Doable without hiking poles but was very glad to have them for the last mile or so towards the trail end. Was dry for our hike, but this would be a pain to do in muddy conditions. Be prepared for a more difficult hike out as you’ll be gaining altitude for the majority of the way back. Took just over 4 hours for us, in our 30’s in okay shape.

hiking
4 months ago

Such a beautiful trail with amazing views. I did this as a loop starting with at the Awaawapuhi trailhead. There is an amazing overlook on the traverse between the trails and a waterfall! At the end I grabbed a burger, ate with chickens chilling at the park and easily hitched a ride back up to my car!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

I hiked this trail with my brother on May 23, 2019. We started around 8:00 am and ended back at the car around 4pm. So what do you need to know? This trail is very steep! It will be muddy in places and if it's raining this will make even more difficult if not nearly impossible. You will go through 80% forested area with lots of shade. Towards end of the trail it dries out and is not as muddy. I do recommend hiking boots and trekking poles. Bring lots of water, I went through 3+ liters of water. There is a section if you are afraid of heights you will probably will not be able to cross. The path is down to 6 inches wide in a section that is a foot in length. If you mess this up it’s a 2000+ feet drop straight to the bottom if you fall to your right. If you make there the views are epic. This hike was a blast, I would rate it difficult as I'm 44.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike. Worth it. It was dry when we went, wouldn’t recommend going after a heavy rain. The trail gets steep towards the end so I could see it becoming insanely tough if it gets rainy and muddy. As for the trail, awesome! Sweet skinny trail, awesome vegetation, and stunning views at the end. Downhill almost all the way there, the last mile or so the steepest. Walking bad was a bitch but we loved the hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Highly recommended this hike. Challenging for a couple of 50 somethings that are sometime hikers but well worth the effort in the end. Hardest part is the return trip. Lots of up and the first part with little shade. Would not recommend this hike after rain!

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail with great view at the end

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful hike. The views at the end are truly second to none and completely worth it. The first roughly 2 miles are through the woods, but after reaching mile two you will have views of the coast through the end of the hike. I got lucky when I went and found the trail to be fairly dry and not slippery, but I can definitely see how after some rain this would not be the case. I was wearing hiking shoes but did not have any poles, and still found the trail to be doable. Definitely grab sticks if you have the chance (I didn't see any when I was there - think I looked in the wrong spot) and save a good amount of water for the return hike!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Yes, it is absolutely worth it. We got to the trail head at 8:45 am, made it to the point at 11:30, headed back at 12:00 and made it back to the car by 2:00 Here is what you need to know, from a gym goer but not entirely hike experienced person: 1. Wear hiking shoes. I did it in gym shoes but would not do it again in them. The trail was significantly drier on the way back but I did slip on the way down. 2. We made better time on the way back because the trail was drier but it is HARD going in several areas due to the steep incline. 3. Use the hiking sticks at the trail head. We met a couple people along the way who regretted not grabbing one. It definitely helped me. Beautiful view at the point. Well worth the hike back up!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Absolutely stunning views await at the end of this trail, what a reward. We started our hike around 7:45am and only saw one person on the trail, had the entire mountain top to ourselves. We were the first car to park, when we returned around noon the lot was full. Took us about 2 hours each way due to steep hills and very muddy stretches. The hike back was a genuine workout. Make sure to grab one of the community hiking poles at the start, you will need it. All of it is worth it for the view at the end of this trail. Make sure to stick it out!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

This was a great trail. It rained the day before so it was fairly muddy going down. The start of the trail was easy, the only challenge was the mud. The way back was a workout!

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