Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp

MODERATE 124 reviews
#4 of 15 trails in

Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kekaha, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1620 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

old growth

over grown

scramble

Combining two of Kauai's best hikes take us from dramatic coastal cliffs to an exotic boardwalked swamp trail. Kauai, the oldest and westernmost inhabited Hawaiian island has a terrain and climate like nowhere else. This hike combines some of the best features of Kauai into an unforgettable hiking experience. Take a westerly drive around Kauai until you run out of road and you'll find yourself at the Pu'u O Kila Lookout marveling at the views of the plunging cliffs of Kalalau Valley on the fabled Na Pali Coast. Exploring beyond this point is achieved only on foot, so strap on those hiking boots. The trail starts at the end of Waimea Canyon Drive (550) at the Pu'u o Kila Lookout. Views of Kalalau Valley. Pihea Trail intersects Alakai Swamp Trail and continues to the Kilohana Lookout. Views of Ha'ena and the North Shore are visible from Kilohana, clouds permitting.

hiking
10 days ago

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.

hiking
24 days ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Done in September 2017

Really special hike, we felt all alone! Spooky atmosphere in the last part :-)

2 months ago

Loved it!

hiking
3 months ago

Great views early on the trail. Can be slippery at spots with wet mud. As you descend into the forest beautiful forest with a relaxing stream great for a rest spot before you continue the hike. A couple of short difficult spots but mostly easy to moderate hiking.

5 months ago

Incredible hike! I’ve done a lot of hiking in Kauai and this is probably my favorite trial. We were lucky enough to have a perfectly clear day with no rain and the views were breath taking.

I would not want to do this hike on the rain!

If you wan

hiking
5 months ago

Stream near the end was moving fast and 15 feet across. Ended up turning around. it rained the whole time and was muddy but fun. lots of walking on boards for hours. The beginning is very technical. Not a hike for young kids or people out of shape.

5 months ago

Nice hike. It was a different kind of hike with all the boards but still enjoyed it. Didn’t see too much the clouds were very low.

6 months ago

Go early, before the clouds settle in and you will be rewarded。

hiking
6 months ago

A beautiful hike, splendid views, an all around awesome time and time we'll spent!

hiking
6 months ago

We did this today on 11/12/17 and it took us 2,5 hours out and 2,5 hours back. Due to the rain it was very muddy on the first 1/3 of the trail. Slippery. Definitely bring hiking sticks and wear sturdy hiking boots. After that it is a never ending swamp land with boardwalk. Some are slippery and some are loose. Be careful not to fall in. At one point you have to pass a small river which has nice rocks to step on. Lots of wissen stairs as well. It was a long and you think you never get there. Finally at the lookout at 11:30. Not rewarded with a nice view due to the clouds and fog. We waited even 45 min. Nothing. We headed back. Bring lots of water, hat, sunscreen and food/snacks. You will be hungry for sure. Also start our early. Don't go to late because it can get rainy. I would never do this one again after some rainy days. Just very uncomfortable to hike/crawl through the steep and clay/mud part in the beginning. Not many people on the tail at all. Don't do this alone if you don't know hiking well and the weather is unpredictable up there. Also the swamp land didn't had much to offer as a look out at all. Nothing scenery on the hike. It's really the lookout in the end!

hiking
8 months ago

We were looking for a hike that was decently lengthy but didn't take all day. This one definitely fit the requirements. Once you make your way toward the swamp along the boardwalk, it seems as if there is no end in sight and you'll walk along the swamps for eternity. However, there is an end and the view overlooking hanalei bay is incredible. Be mindful of some of the boardwalk is a little loose. I stepped in water a couple times and soaked my whole foot, my shoes were not waterproof. We used a Garmin to track the distance and it was closer to 9 miles round trip.

hiking
9 months ago

The beginning of this trail has the best view you can see of the kalalau valley. This is at the end of the road at Waimea canyon state park and offers exponentially better views than the lookout point earlier down the road. You can go about half mile in to see the views, and as you go further, you get to where it becomes the swamp after about 2 miles in. Wear some grippy shoes.

hiking
9 months ago

Phenomenal. Best "Moderate" hike on Kauai so far! We loved the variation in geology and topography.

hiking
9 months ago

9 months ago

Absolutely unparalleled views of Napali Sea Cliffs! A must do on the island of Kauai. If it is cloudy when you first get there, wait a good 15 minutes for the clouds to clear to see the most pristine view of Napali valley. This is also such a unique hike because of all of the mud strewn over tree roots. You'll probably fall at least once!

10 months ago

It was more hard than moderate but beautiful, really muddy, don't wear good clothes.

10 months ago

Remember moderate in Hawaii may be rated hard at home. Some repairs have been taking place but still needs work. Bring food and lots of water. We were very lucky as it seems we hit all the views with very little fog. Did have rain and it was great to have raincoats. Not much mud in early July. Fun but very tiring for some of us.

hiking
10 months ago

Got on the trail at 7:15. Forgot to record the trip in ...
Saw no one on the trip in - had the place to ourselves. Chose the perfect day. Best possible view from the outlook, nearest cloud was miles away. One of the tougher "moderate" hikes we've done.

backpacking
11 months ago

You can also take the Alaka'i south and end up at a decent, underutilized campsite... makes a good stopover if you want to continue on and backpack the canyon.

11 months ago

fun but muddy

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The view was nice but i wouldn't come back to Kauai to do this trail. I liked Awa'awapuhi better

hiking
Sunday, April 09, 2017

Fortunately to have great weather, no rain and clear sky's . This trail would be extremely challenging in raining weather. But this trail is not a boardwalk or a stroll. It is moderate to hard. Bring lots of water! My husband, my 10 and 13 year old did this trail. If you are of short statue this trail is challenging, as my girls had a hard time. Don't miss the sign to go to the vista, we missed it and in total walked 9.6 miles. We did get to the vista....
My girls rock!!! We were never so glad to be off this trail. Again bring plenty of water!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Would anyone be able to post the current condition of the trail? In late 2015 it was going downhill sadly.

hiking
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If luck goes your way and the clouds lift you will be rewarded with some of the best views on the planet overlooking the Na Pali coast. Some portions of the hike are steep,slippery and very muddy. It's not for casual hikers.

hiking
Thursday, January 19, 2017

Amazing views of the Na Pali Coast, but we had to cut our hike because the trail was impassable. Often had to walk through mud or puddles on this trail. But it is one of the wettest spots in the world so that is to be expected.

hiking
Monday, January 16, 2017

Magnificent views of the canyon looking out to the Napali Coast. Did this hike while we were waiting for our late night flight and am so happy I did. The canyon is beautiful. The beginning of the hike is cool as the path is lined in red mud. Can be slippery in spots when you get more into the jungle.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

a fabulous hike!
the phea part of hike is terrible and muddy but the swamp is worth it
leave no later than 0800 so you will not be clouded in at the lookout

hiking
Saturday, January 07, 2017

Only did the first mile and back of this hike, on a windy and slightly rainy day. The trail is wet! Though that's probably to be expected on something with "swamp" in the title. The clouds managed to clear for a few minutes and we got some nice views. Towards the end of the first mile the trail gets pretty slippery with mud and some running water, and gets pretty steep (we were on hands and feet a few times taking it slow), so be careful! But if you have the time to take it slow and are comfortable, it's a nice hike along a beautiful ridge with some excellent views.

hiking
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Started at Pu'u O Kila look out total of 8.54 miles in and out! Beautiful and fun hike. we had a group of 12 total age ranging from 2-48! Bring LOTS of water .

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