Explore the most popular river 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.

hiking
3 hours ago

This was one of the coolest hikes I've ever done. Every waterfall is amazing and the second half through the bamboo forest was surreal! 100% would recommend for anyone in Maui

This trail is gorgeous, long, challenging - my favorite kine :) Make sure you have waterproof shoes as there are 17 streams. We ended up doing this on a whim with 5 people as we *ahem* got turned away by the popo's at 3am on Saturday from the Stairs so we decided to go the legal way. This meant my shoes were not waterproof but lightweight trail runners. I got sick in the ensuring days from hiking 9 hours in wet shoes but it was WORTH IT! The trail is quite overgrown at some parts (I'm pretty short and the grass was taller than me). It takes you through the valley then up along the ridge to the back part of the stairs. Thankfully I packed a windproof jacket, which was necessary once we made it up about 6 miles, the last 2-3 miles have strong winds. I should also note that one of the girls with us stepped on a bush on one of the ridges and dropped down the side. Thankfully she hung on and the ridge wasn't razorback so it was sloped and we pulled her back but please, please stick to the trail and make sure your footing is solid. Now that you've read all the cautionary parts, GO HIKE THIS TRAIL! It's breathtaking early in the morning when the sun is just coming up and the views at the top are insane. Insane. Can't wait to do this one again as soon as I find people who are down for 10 hour hikes lol

Not very long, the beginning is the hardest because of some very steep stairs, but after that well worth it. Probably wouldn't spend more than an hour on the trail, including stopping for pictures.

hiking
13 hours ago

A short trail that everyone can enjoy. Good for kids and old people. The youngest (2) and oldest (72) in our party walked the whole way without issues. Great views of the lush, green valley, rushing water and the Iao Needle of course. Path can be muddy or slippery with the moisture from rain and there are steps to navigate, so I would suggest a sturdy shoe or, better yet, a hiking shoe.

Beautiful hike and the waterfall. We went with the tour guide and kayaks, highly recommended to use both. Our teenagers and 10yr old loved it

13 hours ago

This hike was awesome if.... you like trail blazing. My family loves getting muddy, walking creeks, and breaking bamboo. We went with no water or snacks (only 2.5 miles), but we regret that. It takes longer then you think because you are constantly trying to decide which trail to take. You will usually have three options: left side of creek, right side of creek, or creek walking. There is usually a fastest route, but in the end they all work out.

Not writing a review. I’m heading to oahu on July 30 to August 6. If anyone is doing this hike on the dates I’m there please contact me and let me join your adventure. Been visiting the island for quite some years and always wanted to do this hike. Email is chefvito671@gmail.com. Subject it as hiking stairway to heaven so I know what to look for.

Wanting to do this hike within the next few weeks while I’m in town for work. Has anyone done this route for sunrise? Is it possible to hike in the dark considering the narrow ridges?

My fiancé and I just completed this climb. We loved it. The trail is marked pretty well, which was a huge plus. The trail starts out easy; a mix between paved, gravel and dirt. Then comes a more muddy section. After that you come to a point with an arrow and H painted in green on a rock. At this point the trail will level up in difficulty. The trail is marked with pink ribbons. When you come to a tree with two pick ribbons on it you’ll notice the left trail has a dramatic increase in incline. At this point you’ve reached the final and most difficult portion of the climb. 70 degree incline with ropes, mud and drop offs if you lose your balance. The path is incredibly narrow as you are literally following a ridge to the top; on most of this route you can’t even put your feet side by side. At the top you’ll see a sign that tells you it’s the end of trail with one of the most amazing views. Definitely a hard climb but the pay off is worth it. Never seen a view like that in my life.

I will climb the Haʻikū Stairs, aka Stairway to Heaven, Saturday, July 21st for the 274rd time.

The most recent post on my Instagram @Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt will give you an idea for an impactful photo perspective.

5 things you should know about the hike:

(1) It is the safest way to reach that elevation on Oahu. Over the last 70+ years, no one has ever died falling on the stairs.

(2) There is a ton of trash at the top. Bring a folded heavy-duty trash bag to help with that.

(3) No matter what, don’t go near homes!

Think: when is the last time you woke up at 3am and whispered: "Honey I think there's someone outside the house!"

Most neighbors are friendly, but some are aggressive and even violent. Tourist blood has spilled in the neighborhood more than once in the past year.

(4) The back way is less safe, but worth considering.

A ticket on the stairs is common and the judges have gotten tired of the case. The charge is Second Degree Criminal Trespass with these components:

(1) $1,000 fine
(1) Three dates, each about two months apart at the Kaneohe Courthouse
(2) Jail, no longer than 6 months. (incarnation is rare, averaging 1.6 out of 100 tickets)
(3) Legal fees (a defense attorney charges $800 - $1,500 for the case)
(4) Usually 60 hours of community service.
(5) Legal fees for expungement after some years of a clean record.
(6) Visa/Immigration hurdles.
(7) Impact on professional life.
(8) Return travel and accommodations to attend court, community service, etc.

The financial setback ranges from $3,000 for an average local, up into the hundreds of thousands over the length of a career for military members reduced in rank, professional licenses affected, working visas denied, etc.

Public record shows hundreds of tickets a month, but I suppose everyone standing in court started their morning hike knowing they had done the research.

There are techniques, but to be fair, everything posted online is a bit comical.

Two tips:
⁃ The guard is usually friendly and does not have the power to give anyone a ticket.
⁃ The police have internet also and are good at what they do all day every day.

(5) This is the real Hawai’i!

When I go, I approach peacefully and respectfully.

As we climb we are immersed, perhaps because we step “into” the experience 3,922 times. The activity melts our physical senses, and opens us to sense spirit. We rise from civilization to magic.

At the top, we savor hot foods and reflect for a couple hours in comfort, allowing the memory of the feeling to become part of us before the senses of civilization erase the nuances of that raw truth from our attention.

People think I go for the epic view, but along the way they recognize their own reflection in nature. They discover that they share an energetic blueprint with a land so majestic and find new appreciation for the landscape of their own soul.

They find that they climbed a mountain to see themselves in new light, so that the sunrise was the second, third or forth best part of the day.

They alway say: “I had no idea it was going to be this good.” Always with smiles, sometimes in tears.

I might skip a week or go twice a day, but even after so many times, once I start I’m lost on it again.

Aloha
@Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt

My wife and I enjoyed this hike. Our shoes got a bit muddy. I tried hard to keep them clean and dry. One slipped into the creek and got wet. It was our first hike in Hawaii and I felt like i really got a feel for the tropical terrain. The falls were beautiful.

Aloha! I will be hiking almost every day this week and this weekend too! Had an awesome time hiking this past weekend and last week as well. I have hiked most of the hikes on this island many many times! It is often windy and/or rainy but we never have issues as we always have the right gear when we go. If you're looking to hike and want to link up or get some ideas of what this trail looks like feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram @mike.karas or mikekarasphotography@gmail.com. Bring plenty of water for this hike and other hikes out here in Hawaii.

Went with a group of friends, loved the hike..... but definitely not for the faint of heart. This is the most difficult hike I have done on island, and I feel it the next day. Do it when it isn’t raining

Hey everyone I just completed this hike today on the legal side with my brother in law and one of my best friends. And let me tell you I still got to see everything I wanted to see on this hike and it was well worth it...overall the trails weren’t to bad however... there is a lot of climbing up I would recommend bringing gloves as well as a lot of water and of course food. For the most part the trails were pretty clear today a few muddy spots but overall nothing to crazy. I definitely recommend this hike if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime view as well as challenging yourself. And if you don’t want a fine the legal way is the best way to go! - Michael

Great hike and challenging. What makes it hard is the steep decline with the muddy wet areas. However retiring was faster, but more strenuous due to using leg muscles allot. The water fall was great and there are cliffs where you can jump into the pond.

I would describe this as a muddy obstacle course.
Nice little waterfall and swimming hole at the end and pretty creek that runs along side part of the trail which you must cross a few times. Not really hard in terms of steepness but it is very muddy and slippery with some rocky and uneven ground to cross. We did find out as we were leaving that the road you enter on is an easier 3 mile hike up through the forest to a different area but is not as challenging.

hiking
2 days ago

A family friendly hike, super easy walk. Very lush and green, waterfall is breath taking.

I liked this trail. For trail running it was good and not muddy or covered in roots. There are views of Honolulu every mile or so.

Amazing!!!! This is a really hard and strenuous hike but the views are so beautiful. We hiked to the river and there is a nice swimming hole. So beautiful

Great hike. Easy for the first few miles. Then an immediate uphill climb up the finger of the mountain. You get to the top and then walk along the ridge to get to the stairs. Very challenging. Bring food and water. Very stretchy going back down the mountain. Overall solid adventure. You will be smoked at the end of this hike.

Beautiful hike! Very muddy, and part of the trail is closed due construction but it’s still very doable. Follow the gravel road straight down instead of veering left and it will take you around to the trailhead. Would recommend going early, as the falls get crowded.

hiking
4 days ago

Short and beautiful. No rain .

Plan on attempting this on Tuesday morning July 17. If anyone cares to join hit me up at dleible@satx.rr.com.

beautiful rainforest, flowers and waterfalls, no crowds!! love this hike. be sure and and go to the ruins and the waterfalls. it took us about 2 hours. but we stopped to take many pictures.

unique in that you are hiking down to a waterfall. moderately steep decline over many roots but there are plenty of ropes and trees you can hold to help you down(and back up).there's only one part that opens up for a view but mostly it's thru narrow paths with alot of tree cover and mud. we ran into a hunting party with 6 dogs who just killed a boar. pretty awesome. don't forget to bring a swimsuit to swim at the waterfall.

great hike. very muddy but totally worth it. besides the start of the trail where you have to enter thru a hole in a fence off of Pali highway, you have to get around 2 other fences. take the first trail directly on the left and you will get to the first fence, go right along the fence and duck thru a few trees to get to a wide open field with breathtaking views. after walking across the field and up to the gravel road you will approach a dead end with another short fence. make your way around that fence also to the right and climb the short muddy hill where most of the hike begins. you will ultimately follow the stream up to the waterfall. you will have to cross the stream 2 or 3 times but it's great fun. waterfall is beautiful. round trip it takes about an hour. highly recommended. just be prepared for both feet to be completely drenched in water and mud.

Love this hike! Little sad that construction has made it harder to get to the main trail but still completely worth it. A lot of people we met on the way seem to have gotten lost on the way. Think I’ll bring some ribbon to mark the trail next time I go.

great hike to the falls ! highly recommend!

Great day paddle/hike into the island on the East side of Kauai. This area isn't as rainy as the Northern side around the Na'Pali Coast area but its still pretty wet. Rainy season is December so plan accordingly. It is very highly trafficked so expect to see a good amount of people en route to the waterfall and back. The top of the hike at the waterfall can get crowded as well but if you're patient the large groups will leave together and you can spend some time at the waterfall, swim, get photos, etc...

Kauai gets hit with an average of 460 inches of rain every year so be prepared for damp if not wet and muddy conditions when hiking. Plan and bring old clothes/shoes that can get dirty and enjoy the experience! We hiked this in July and had mostly dry conditions on the trail with some muddy parts towards the end and around the waterfall. There is one large river crossing that has a fairly strong current and is about 2.5 ft deep at the deepest. There is a rope to hold on too but it can still be difficult as there are usually multiple people on the rope at one time.

We chose to go unguided with paddle boards as they were more readily available last-minute than the rental kayaks. We didn't have any issues finding our way as the guided tours are all over and you can just follow them. Be prepared to spend about 45 minutes paddling in and 60-90 minutes paddling out as the wind becomes a factor. There is no current on the river. For those of you wanting a list of what to bring/wear I recommend shoes or water-shoes, not flip-flops (Keen, Teva, etc...) for both paddling and hiking, a hat, wear swimwear and bring a pair of dry clothes to leave in the car. Finally bring some snacks and a camelback with water otherwise various members of your party will probably end up hangry and thirsty on the way back.

As always take necessary precautions when hiking anywhere new - do your research before hiking. Flash flooding seems to be the biggest danger on these trails aside from the typical hiking perils so just be cautions and have fun!

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