Nu'alolo Trail

HARD 108 reviews

Nu'alolo Trail is a 6.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kekaha, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is best used from March until December. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,368 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

views

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.

4 days ago

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
9 days ago

Absolutely incredible view! Well worth it!

20 days 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.

21 days ago

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
21 days 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.

23 days ago

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
28 days 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.

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

this was my first hike in kauai....defintely hard. slippery and muddy. dont wear any runners or slippers, must wear hiking shoes or just go bare foot to get better control. I was wearing my hiking shoes, was so tiref after but definitely worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

what an epic trail. Unfortunately, we couldn't see anything the last 2 miles out because of the clouds and rain. a very tough trail when wet. one of the hardest trails I have done but happy to have finished. if we had the views at the end, it would have made it a million times better... positive point is, it was my first time in the middle of a cloud on kauai

hiking
2 months ago

My son and I had not originally planned on doing this trail. We started with the Awaawapuhi Trail. While admiring the amazing views at the end, another hiker told us that as good as these views were, those at the end of the Nualolo were better. We took the connector trail to decide for ourselves. He was right. The views were incredible, but it came with a price. Soaring sandstone cliffs jut out at impossible angles to the sea thousands of feet below. Punishing winds rip sand across the landscape while helicopters fly past. This hike was extremely hard. While the way out was fine, the hike back (which made our total hike 11 miles) was mostly uphill and very tough. At times shade is sparse as well. We forced ourselves to stop often to rest and drink lots of water as it was the heat of the day. In the end, this may have been the most spectacular hike we've ever done. It was definitely the hardest. Had we planned to do this hike, we would have done it the opposite direction we did. Many people said we were nuts for doing it the way we did. I don't disagree. Also, since we started at a different trailhead, we successfully hitched a ride from the Museum Shop back to our car.

hiking
2 months ago

Less traffic than Awa with a few more steep sections. Overall I’d call the terrain intermediate. Most of the trail is shaded in the trees without view but the last 1/4 makes up for it the monotony of the beginning. The trail “ended” at the overlook with a metal guardrail but the trail continues another 1/2 mile (or as far as you feel safe).

hiking
2 months ago

Un très beau trail le début dans la forêt est agréable quant à la fin elle est splendide la vue sur la Napali Cost ...
Il ne faut pas avoir trop le vertige sur la fin....

2 months ago

Awesome! Wonderful views. It’s a bit steep at the end but an easy hike in for the most part. Coming outs fairly easy to moderate.

walking
2 months ago

Quand on commence à marcher ce sentier, on se rend vite compte que l’on descend, descend, descend. Comme je le dis toujours, tout ce qui descend doit être remonté. Bref la remontée est difficile pour le cardio. Mais quelle fin de trail spectaculaire avec sa vue incroyable sur le Na Pali.a plus belle trail de Kauai est fermé pour un bon moment dû aux inndations, rabattez vous sur le Nu’Alolo... superbe!

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing trail. Well maintained. A little muddy the first two miles or so but then perfect. We connected it with Cliffs connector trail and onto the Awaawapuhi trail and did an epic 13 mile hike with 4,000 feet of elevation gain. My 9 year old daughter and 16 year old son loved every minute of it. We hiked the last 2 easy miles on the road to get the full 13 miles. You can easily hitch hike too.

hiking
4 months ago

The distance quoted for this hike is about right, but not the elevations change (it is definitely less than 2368 feet...). The views from the end of the trail are spectacular, but note: you HAVE to go all the way to the end!! The trail doesn't reward you with the views until you've done the full distance!
On the way back we took the Nu'alolo Cliff Trail which links up to the Awa'Awapuhi Trail - You can then hike this all the way to the end (to the viewpoint) and then back to the road. The views from both lookouts are very different, so I really recommend doing both trails if you can.
You can then either walk along the road back to your car parked at the start of the Nu'alolo trail, or just hitchhike - you'll probably be picked up within a minute by one of the many friendly tourist cars going past.

4 months ago

The view makes every bit of the climb up worthwhile. Being terrified of heights, the cliffs got to me a bit, but bearing through the cliffy parts led to an extremely rewarding view of the Na Pali coast. The trail from the parking lot all the way to the railing overlooking the sea seemed to be more than 6.9 miles, closer to 7.7, but my watch died halfway through, so I apologize for interpolated data. The cliffs seemed like they would be deadly on a rainy day, and the trail nearly impassible. We lucked out on a gorgeous and dry morning. It was fairly lightly hiked, we arrived at 0750 and didn't see anyone until we were hiking back out. It took us 4.2 hours out and in.

hiking
4 months ago

A nice downhill treck through jungle, vallies, and coniferous areas to a beautiful view point at the end of the trail. The difficulty begins with the treck back up. We began the trail at 8am and didn't experience much mud. I would suggest starting slightly earlier so you have more time without cloud coverage at the end. We packed in 2L of water each and I think we should have brought slightly more or at least cameled up at the beginning of the hike. Along the trail there were wild blackberries and a ton of guava plants (unfortunately we only found two plants on the entire trail with ripe guavas, hike this trail in August if guava foraging is your cup of tea).
The changing environments through the hike was pretty enough for a 3 star review, but the view of the Na'pali coast is worth 6 stars.

hiking
4 months ago

We set out early from the trail head around 7 based on some recommendations that clouds are more likely later in the day. It paid off, and my wife and I enjoyed a nice trailmix brunch overlooking one of the best views I have ever hiked to. Clouds rolled in about an hour after we arrived.

As you've probably read in many of these reviews, the trail is pretty muddy during the first mile and a half. I'd recommend packing hiking boots to Kauai if you're visiting from out of state for this trail and any of the other trails on the island. My wife brought trail running shoes and had a much harder time. Cleaning red clay out of hiking clothes is not that easy.

Also, it is possible to do this trail as part of a loop with the Awa Awapuhi trail by taking the Nu'alolo cliff trail, now that the cliff trail has reopened, which is what we did. The cliff trail provides some nice new perspectives of the valley and some waterfalls. Once you connect with the Awa'Awapuhi trail it's possible to hike out to the other vista point. However, the loop does end with a very boring hike alongside a winding road with no shoulder. Loops are great, but you might just want to stick with hiking this trail as an out & back.

4 months ago

The nature is changing throughout the trail - and at a certain point you can see a beautiful view on the sea. The views are just improving until the end - when you have a breathtaking view on the Napali coast.
I would suggest going both to the Nualolo and Awa'awapuhi trails, as views from both trails are amazing, but different.

hiking
4 months ago

Steady decline throughout most of the trail, but you get to see a bunch of different landscapes. The view at the end of the trail is amazing. Takes you closer to the coast than most, if not all, of the other trails in the park. Once you reach the end, you have a phenomenal view of the Napali coastline and look back into the Nualolo Valley. On the Koke'e park map, it looks like the Awaawapuhi Trail takes you further but it doesn't. You actually look back towards that trail ending once you're at the end of the Nualolo. Go past the vista at the end. This trail is a must do.

5 months ago

Spectacular hike although it was a little muddy in sections. Trekking poles would have been nice. The views at the terminus were amazing. Great alternative to the Kalalau lookout trail. I would highly recommend it!

hiking
6 months ago

Did the trail on a sunny day after weeks of rain before. It was still very wet especially in the morning. As others have mentioned it is very slippery and the descent is steep. Fell once and had many close calls in first 2 miles that are in the in jungle. It took us significantly longer to go down than come back up because of how slick it was. The last mile or so towards the lookout opens up and is dryer but still steep. The views are incredible and saw a total of 10 people, we were the 2nd car in the lot, arriving just after 8am. I would suggest waiting for the trail to dry out to avoid mud and slippery slopes.

hiking
8 months ago

This would get 5 stars were it not for the saturated ground from 5 days of rain. The first 2 miles are basically jungle decent. In the rain there are some steep downs. I slipped twice. Thank God for the roots on the sides! I would wear better grips shoes and having poles next time. I had to climb on all 4s uphill a few times.

The last 2 miles follows the ridge line through smaller upland trees and brush. Not as wet and some good views start to emerge. There is a slightly technical decent for about 200 feet and then it’s basically all beautiful. The 1 mile views across the canyon are incredible. Totally worth the jungle wetness of the first part. I was first to the trail at 8 and saw no one until the way back then I saw about 8 people.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike with amazing views at the end. Views look across to the Awa’awapuhi ridge and along the Nāpali coast. Some steep sections that would be very difficult in the mud at the top and bottom of the trail. Middle section is fairly easy but also quite wet due to the gully’s that the track passes through, all safe though. It appears the middle of the track has recently been cleared and widened. The climb out has some steep sections that would be very difficult to navigate when wet, in moderate to dry conditions they are fine though. Enjoy!

8 months ago

Love this hike! Best hike on the island

hiking
10 months ago

To set the stage....I am in decent physical condition... average...but carrying about 30 pounds extra and am 53 years old. I enjoyed this hike and found it challenging but not for the fitness aspect as much as the trail condition. As other reviews notedit is wet, muddy and steep...I found the descents much more frightening than the climb. I would highly recommend trekking poles for folls in average shape and those who are not descended from mountain goats....lol! I bought one walking stick at the Kokee Museam and it saved me a dozen times on the hike.

It was wet and mucky for much of the hike but no surprise as you are walking through the rain forest. Best part? No possibility of a chance encounter with a snake.. 'Why not?' you ask.....'Kauai has NO snakes!'...Yep...true....tropical rainforest, sand, sea, and zero snakes....it truly is paradise!

I stopped at 3 miles and turned back due to dense fog and only saw 8 people the entire trek...felt 100% safe hiking solo...but was aware and attentive...

11 months ago

One of the most exhilarating hikes on the island. The view of NaPali cost from. 2200 ft ridge is not to be missed! Hike in morning before PM clouds and/or rain move in. Recommend trekking poles for steep pitches of mud

11 months ago

Awesome hike. For added fun, trail run down but be prepared to slow down for the slippery sections. You’ll get muddy on this one.

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