Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Hawaii with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike! One of my lifetime favorites! Beautiful, tropical scenery, clifftop views, gorgeous beach, big waterfall with a swimming hole - amazing! We did the 8 mile round trip hike to the falls and back, and it's tough, especially because the last two miles are two of the hardest, all up and down instead of just down, like most trails on the last two miles. (funny, though, they didn't seem so hard on the way in, when I was fresh!)

Any update on the trail opening? Is there another way to access the trail (kayak or another trail head?) Are there other long hikes on the island that you all like? My gf and I like to hike and booked a trip in August, but it looks like our luck has run thin...

Didn’t resort to crawling but absolutely pegged my adrenaline meter when I hiked this back in 1977

Trail totally overgrown. Made it in a little ways then totally lost the trail and gps didn’t help. Trail is gone.

Too bad it’s closed, it seems like that happens to all the best places. We hiked this on our honeymoon

Road after Hanalei closed till November at least

Road after Hanalei is closed till November at least. This hike is not happening.

Can only get through with permit.

Still closed-locals tell me it’s going to be closed almost a year

I was just there and told it won’t re-open til next season.

Has anyone hiked this trail in the past couple weeks? I’m here now and the road is closed to get there and the construction workers would only let residents through.

Muddy, mosquitoes, and no views for the first 2+ miles. Just not a lot to like for a while. Would be a very easy walk in the woods if not for the mud. As long as you keep moving at a quick pace the mosquitoes will leave you alone, but if you stop for 10-15 seconds they will be all over you.

Mud is bog like. Not too deep, but squishy. You have to go slow to keep from getting mud all over you.

Only the last 3/4 of a mile is somewhat challenging and interesting with views of the mountains, valleys, and ocean.

has there been any backpackers on this trail?? im trying to camp at Kalalau Beach but the permits are still not available since the beginning of this year. i just want to confirm


I've done this hike 4 times. It's incredible.

It’s very hard. Very steep. But the views are awesome

Has anyone hiked this trail in the past few weeks and is it still closed?

This is the hike to beat all hikes. The trail itself had so much variation in scenery, it seemed unreal even when doing it. One minute you’re hiking along the Nepali coast whale-watching, the next you’re at a serene beach; then you’re crossing river streams that look straight out of Tennessee. Next thing you know you’re walking through a bamboo forest and rain forest; and last but certainly not least, the falls. Magnificent does not do them justice. You can swim behind them and in the grotto area at the bottom. I agree with the other hikers about this hike being difficult after a big rain -the mud is very slippery. Some parts of the trail were pretty treacherous in wet conditions - one false move and you could plummet down the side of the mountain. There was a stretch where you had to scale a rock wall spiderman-style, not vertically or particularly steep, but a little nerve-wracking in wet conditions. Maybe it was just us but the trail didn’t seem very well marked at times and we managed to get almost two hours lost somewhere near the bamboo forest. But, there is no place I’d rather be lost, so it wasn’t really a big deal. I’m not sure the mileage is correct on All Trails - this hike was more than 6.7 miles - it was 8 according to the sign at the trail head. I’ve seen conflicting mileage for his hike elsewhere too. Regardless, Best. Hike. Ever.

My friend and I did this in a single day, 14 hours total including a 1 hour break at Kalalau beach. I wouldn't recommend this if you are only visiting Kauai - Kalalau beach is one of the nicest places you may ever get to on this planet and we wish we had stayed at least one night at this magical place.

-hiking sandals are the way to go. Shoes take on water early and you'll be sloshing around all day
-we carried all of our water in, next time I'd bring a filter or tablets to grab water on the way
-you can leave your stuff anywhere on the beach at Kalalau. Everyone is your friend here!

great hike to the falls. Make sure to go swimming back behind the falls. will do again for sure.

1 month ago

Great hike. Some views, but fantastic terrain

Beautiful hike with an awesome 360 degree view. Trail was a bit damp but I wouldn’t call it muddy. Take the little side trails/shortcuts if you want a little extra challenge and some climbing! Lots of people on this hike. Go early!

2 months ago

Waiau Ridge could be a really great trail IF it was cleared/hiked regularly. I hiked this trail with the HTMC in May 2018. This trail is on a very tall ridge allowing beautiful sunny views of both the North and South coasts of Oahu, plus rare views of the Central Valley. It’s a bit of a roller coaster at first, including the Big Dip around mile 4. After that the trail starts a serious ascent to the summit. As usual, HTMC did a fantastic job clearing the first 3-4 miles. After that, we were able to follow, with difficulty, a very feint trail for maybe a half mile. After that, the trail completely disappeared, and we ended up bushwhacking through the tall scratchy ulule and moss-covered trees, scrambling to find our way up the steep ridge in the misty rain to reach the summit. Not pleasant. Several times we stopped to question whether it was a good idea to continue. Eventually, we made it there after several false summits. The skies cleared just long enough for us to see the sandbar and turquoise blue coastline of the windward side. Worth it? Yes! Three of us crossed over the Ko’olau Summit Trail to the north and hiked back out the Waimano Ridge trail. Crossover took about 20 minutes. The three other people in our group went back down the Waiau Ridge trail. All in all, this hike is difficult, but rewarding, and should definitely satisfy your sense of adventure for awhile.

A must do! Love this hike. Went in ‘low season’ so not too crowded.

Does anyone know if there is flowing water/springs on this trail that you can use for purifying?

I backpacked the entire trail in the rainy season which made for some seriously sloppy terrain on the edge of some very sketchy goat paths about 5 miles in- IT WAS AWESOME. I also had a run in with some GIANT cockroaches (and bull frogs who were feasting on them)... don’t stay in the Forrest during rainy season if you want to avoid getting crawled on by these. One of the best trips I’ve taken ❤️

Great hike for people looking to go to the crater floor. We opted to turn back where the trail splits into a loop, which made the total hike 7.8 miles. This was a good alternative to 11-12 miles. The descent and ascent are gradual and the biggest obstacle is the weather. When I hiked it in late April the weather changed every few minutes from cloudy to windy to misty to downpour. Come prepared. There are no services along the trail. That said, weather permitting, there can be same great views of the barren landscape.

Very cool trail along coast of Kekaha Kai State Park. Start at the popular southern enterance (Mahai'ula Bay) and hike along the trail past the renowned Makalawena Beach, over Pu'u Kili, to the popular Kua Bay. Portions along this path are heavily visited, but the entire distance is seldom walked, as most people access Kua via car, or stop their hike at Makalawena for the sand. I saw no one on the trail north of Makalawena till the paved rd at Kua.

It’s closed for now according to locals

Great hike! And yes is was a bit muddy and slippery but unlike the previous review, (I hike it the same day) it was completely manageable. Quite honestly, the trail is probably always wet in certain parts. The interior was beautifully thick and lush and the bird songs were amazing. We too, saw a barefooted local who shared with us a handful of strawberry quavas she picked along hike. The approach to the summit was actually easier and footing better due to exposed solid rock. The views at the summit were breathtaking and rewarding and If you explore, you will find several keyholes in the rock. Yep, trekking poles would have been nice but light hiking shoes are all you need.

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