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Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp

MODERATE 100 reviews
#4 of 13 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.

7.7 miles
1620 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers




old growth

over grown


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.

6 days 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

13 days 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.

26 days 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.

27 days ago

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

1 month ago

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

1 month 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!

3 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.

4 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.

4 months ago

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

4 months ago

4 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!

5 months ago

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

5 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.

5 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.

6 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.

6 months ago

fun but muddy

7 months ago

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

8 months ago

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!

8 months ago

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

9 months ago

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.

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