Kalepa Ridge Trail

HARD 36 reviews
#5 of 13 trails in

Kalepa Ridge Trail is a 1.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kekaha, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
1.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
685 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

muddy

over grown

scramble

no dogs

Difficult trail along Kalepa Ridge above the Kalalau Valley in Kokee St. This park features spectacular views.

hiking
1 day ago

Absolutely amazing views from this trail! Seems a little difficult at first but the trail becomes a lot less steep the farther you go. It starts along the left side of kalalau lookout. Look for a little gate in the metal fence. It isnt marked very well, but it is pretty easy to find. First couple view points are great, but the view from the point is breathtaking. Definitely worth the hike! Took us a little under an hour each way.

6 days ago

Amazing ! We are beginner hikes in good shape (also in our twenties) and we found this trail very do-able. The way down offers more and more beautiful views. It's so rewarding !! Breathtaking ! And you go all the way down to the tip and then back up (which is much harder since it's pretty uphill and ours was wet). We wore running shoes which was great. But we saw 2 girls in flip flops do it with a guide.

Conclusion: absolutely incredible and worth it ! Go in the morning to have less clouds (we went in afternoon) and if worried bring someone with you! Pants are a good idea since there were a lot of bushes. Weather changed constantly but gave amazing views anyhow .

13 days ago

14 days ago

Best views of my life. Do it in the morning to beat the crowds! Trail starts at the Kaulalau lookout if you follow the chain fence around to the left. The weather changed constantly just while we were on the trail. Clouds blew in and out, perpetually changing the landscape so don't be discouraged if the weather isn't what you want at first.

The views are great right away and if you're not feeling up to the challenge of the whole thing, the first couple lookouts are a good example of what you'll see the rest of the way. However, I'd say it's worth getting out to the very tip and looking down at the beach. Keep going until you're very clearly at the end and meet just dirt drop offs on all sides- you'll know when you get there.

Might want to consider long pants: it's a little bush wack-y at parts and we got slightly scratched up. Nothing dangerous about the trail if you're smart and go in daylight and not when it's wet or slippery. It's pretty short, but the steep uphill coming back and the narrow nature of the path is probably why it's marked as "hard". It takes your breath away for sure (in more ways than one!) but it's not insanely challenging. Definitely my favorite spot in Kauai!

hiking
1 month ago

Spectacular views for sure. Not particularly difficult other than a few narrow/technical sections. I took a group of hikers ranging from beginner to experienced adventurers, and only a couple of them experienced difficulty with the trail. A few nearly scrambling steep sections, with short areas of gently sloping reprieve between.

The weather was great, and the trail was dry. I would definitely not attempt this trail in the rain. The trail is nearly all dirt, and if wet, I'm certain would spell disaster. There aren't any real razor edges, but close and if slippery would not be worth the risk. I would only hike this trail when dry.

The views were spectacular, and I will add this trail to my must complete next time I'm on Kauai. One of my new favorite hikes for sure. The view at the end overlooks Kalalau Beach.

hiking
1 month ago

Some of the best views you'll find on the island (and maybe the world).

First, if you're hiking this trail for the view (which you should), check the weather and go early. The consensus seemed to be that clouds liked to move into this region around 10am and beyond each day. We drove up to Waimea from Lihue one day around 10:30 and were greeted by showers and fog so we had to turn around and try again earlier the following day.

Next, this trail is not for the faint of heart. There's scarier hikes out there (I heard a lot about the perils of Oahu's Pu'u Manamana while I was there) but there's most definitely some exposed areas here that'll have a lot of folks reminding themselves not to look down. The good news is, contrary to some of the other ridges we hiked during our Hawaii stay, Kalepa often only has a drop off on one side, with some semblance of stable land usually along the other. We had no close calls or near misses and never really felt like we were in too much danger.

That said, as a visiting tourists who consider themselves experienced hikers but not exceptional ones, this trail gave us pause on account of it being a little unofficial. We weren't sure what to expect in terms of maintenance or safety assurances so while it appeared to be quite hike-able, we did so haltingly.

Semi-related, at one point we thought we'd reached the end of the trail because we found a fire pit and two photographers posted up getting their shots of a glorious overlook. We saw the trail continued onward but weren't sure if that was a portion beyond the real trail that we'd been warned not to continue on.

As it turns out, the part past the fire pit is still the regular trail. We followed it down another sharp decline and came across a sketchy looking ridge with dropoffs on both sides and ground that looked somewhat uneven (and with clouds rolling in). From watching videos later, it was probably pretty readily do-able but after a close call at Ka'au Crater a week earlier, and our uncertainty at the time as to whether it was still a part of the trail (felt like we'd gone beyond 0.8 miles at that point) we decided that maybe it wasn't time to push our luck again and returned to the stunning fire pit lookout.

Point being: Be adventurous but hike smart. Know your zone. If you have concerns but really want to hike this spot, I believe there are a lot of happy-go-lucky trail guides who'd be happy to lead the way (and probably laugh at the notion of that last portion being any sort of issue).

Go forth. With caution. Enjoy one of the greatest views of your life.

1 month ago

Beautiful and a great workout!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing views. There are a couple camping areas as well. Highly recommend this hike, however it does get fairly narrow with some erosion on parts of the trail.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

Vitals: I'm 32 years old, 5'10", 185 lbs. if I had to describe my hiking prowess, I would call myself a "vacation hiker." I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and Merrell All-Out Blaze water shoes for the hike.

Ok, enough about me, onto the hike. Showed up at 9:45 am on May 31st and could barely see my hand in front of my face the clouds/fog were so thick. It was also lightly drizzling. So we left and came back at 1 and could see for miles. Such is Kauai! So don't give up if you get there and the weather is poor, give it a few hours and try again. But absolutely wait for clear skies. Can't imagine this Trail being worthwhile when the fog has rolled in, also, you'd probably fall off a cliff with such poor visibility.

The Trail is fairly strenuous, but mostly on the way back out as it's primarily downhill going in and of course, uphill coming out. But the Trail is so short that even the really strenuous parts on the way out only last for so long. Trail is ridiculously easy to follow, never was there even a moment of wondering "which way do I go from here?" As is the case with many trails (including pretty much every national park in the US), there are opportunities to die if you don't exercise proper caution, just don't be a fool, and you'll be fine! Only one side at a time has a dropoff, hug the opposite side and you'll be ok. Ground was dry when we went, so that made things nice. The underbrush was the worst part of the hike, scraping and scratching my shins as we went, but no lasting marks. It mostly was terrible because I had a bit of sunburn on my shins.

Did the whole thing in about an hour and a half, 1 mile each way. As a side point, we passed two girls, one barefoot, along with their off-leash dog, at about the .90 mile mark. Not saying I recommend it, just saying the Trail isn't as dangerous/ominous/foreboding/impassible as some may make it out to be.

Oh ya, almost forgot to mention....THE VIEWS! Dear lord, the views! Never seen anything like it in all my life. Absolutely incredible and worth every ounce of effort. You will not regret it. Even if you can't go the full 1 mile in, just go until you aren't comfortable going on and you will still see some of the most incredible views of your life!

hiking
2 months ago

Low key but it has tons of potential. The weather wasn't ideal for us but the hike was sweet nonetheless. The few glimpses between the clouds to the valleys and coastline down below made it worthwhile. It was even raining on us but with trail runners most of the trail wasn't terribly treacherous. It would be cool to do it on a dry day as you could proceed past the end of the trail to get even better views.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

The trail was hard but well worth the effort. For a middle-aged pudgy guy who's done many expert trails in South Dakota and Maine this was probably one of the hardest. But all you had to do was take your time and the pictures are worth 1000 words. Novices can do the trail as long as you take your time watch your footing and use your brain. Plan on about two hours round-trip.

hiking
5 months ago

Not for the faint of heart, but amazing views! Very narrow trail with steep ledges. We started about 3:00 pm. It was clear when we started then the mist came in so that we could not see anything below the trail. Mist cleared right at the end to reveal some breathtaking views and stayed that way for our hike back up. Wore shorts and got a few scratches from the brush but totally worth it.

5 months ago

short but hard and worth the views.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail is a little crazy but it's well worth it if you're up for the adventure! You'll find the entrance behind the green fence at the Kalalau lookout. You'll descend through trees for a good amount of the trail - and thank goodness the trees are there because the trail is steep and muddy, you'll find yourself catching on to trees and roots to not fall. Be prepared to get dirty. It flattens out after a bit and the views are absolutely amazing. I would also recommend wearing pants because you have to hike through a thin path in brush which can scrape up your legs. Enjoy!!!

5 months ago

Incredible hike with the most Amazing views of the Napali Coast from above. Great cardio workout as it's mostly uphill when returning. Enjoyed the conversation with other hikers along the way. Aloha