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

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forest

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Took us 7.5 hours / 6.5 miles, although we did take our time in the beginning, and we had our 2.5 year old.

I DO NOT recommend doing the forest. Until then, it was a pleasant uphill climb on green pastureland with beautiful scenery of 3 volcanoes. Moderate difficulty, with a few steep parts.

Once in the forest, though, it quickly got more difficult. Narrow, rocky, muddy trail not maintained well. We pushed forward, wanting to reach the destination / turn-around point provided by Alltrails. It got even worse, more muddy (even though it's been a relatively dry winter and no rain recently), and we lost the trail a few times. My wife even fell backward into a deep puddle and was soaked with mud. We finally got to the destination -- and there was nothing there! No lookout point, just more forest. We did enjoy sitting in the cushy moss having lunch in the shade, but it was underwhelming to say the least, especially given how hard we worked.

We tried to take the trail going down, and it veered northwest, which was ok with us, as long as we were on a trail and ideally not the one we came up on. But we eventually lost it, which meant lots of bushwacking through dense brush. Fortunately, we had my GPS to navigate back out of the forest to a hole in the fence to the pastureland, took some ladders over barbed wire fence, and all the way back down (well, actually, we were lucky to hitch a ride in the back of a pick-up for much of it).

While it was scenic and quite an adventure, I do not recommend going into the forest or spending much time there. I wish this was clearer to us.

Great hike to the small water fall...very cold in Jan. The views along the way are fantastic. Stop at the cliffs overlook on the way to the water fall. It’s about 4 miles round trip.

hiking
10 days ago

An amazing adventure! A difficult but worthwhile hike. I would recommend long pants because there are at least 15 briar patches (pin needle dried ferns) to walk through which left my legs bloody and sore. my family of four made this trip and had a fantastic day. We noticed a lot of helicopters going into the canyon where they filmed Jurassic park below us. Trail is a bit muddy and slippery. walking stick would of been helpful.

hiking
10 days ago

Very disappointing to read about all the car break ins that occur. This seems to happen at just about every hike I have read about.

The only reason I'm marking this one at 1 star is because we didn't actually take the hike outlined. There is a spot where the road forks and you either climb over a gate to the right or duck under a flag-marked line to the left. TAKE THE LEFT FORK. We accidentally took the right fork and ended up a good 6 miles out away from where we wanted to be. It's an easy mistake to make if you don't have a good map, because both forks look very well travelled and like they could be a hiking trail.

The Canyon trail his great! You can reach a small waterfall in which you can swim. The back pipe trail is not really interesting except if you want to be out of the crowd.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike! Trail defiantly is overgrown and wore shorts in which my legs got pretty chewed up. Completed in 3.5 hours but was moving and didn’t see anyone on the trail the entire time. The views at the end are incredible and great change of scenery throughout the hike.

We sooooo enjoyed the views from this Trail. Some challenging mud slides but a rope to pull you up. Thanks Waimea Canyon for showing us your beauty - Mahalo!

Well worth the pain of up and down. the Vistas at the top were spectacular and the waterfall was literally "Kool" so if you take the hike make sure you enjoy a refreshing dip to cool you down for the hike back to the road. This is one of our favorite hikes on Kauai. Thanks Mother Nature for such breathtaking views.

hiking
2 months ago

Overall, excellent hike for a family. We took our 5 year old daughter and 7 year old son and they made it the whole way...in the rain. However, we had 4 pig hunting dogs come up behind us on the trail which scared me a tad considering I had my kids with me. But they didn’t bother us. Maybe not the best place to hunt for pigs and this is a fairly well trekked hike.

2 months ago

Feels like you’re in heaven.

Very good hike with great views and two waterfalls. Better with the Black Pipe loop than just an out and back.

Went up on a super clear morning which was nice for a view 100% of the time but somewhat scorching hot as the breeze was minimal and no shade for about 2 hours hiking up the hill. (I was training with a large backpack which slowed me down some and I suspect most people without a heavy pack on would make it up faster).

Once we made it to the tree line, my big black pooch, and I saw a boar and a few hunters. We didn't want to get caught in the middle of anything and quickly got away from the area back down the hill. So beware of that, especially if you have a dog that could be mistaken for a black boar or that gets lost on hikes chasing after pigs or their smells. I'd do this again, maybe without the dog and earlier in the day to avoid the heat. Didn't make it to a waterfall or anything other than the tree line. Great views.

hiking
3 months ago

We crossed paths with a gentleman named Issac on his way down the Phantom Road. He was a civil engineer that worked on it. They built the road only 8 years ago and it took two and a half years to build. Built for the military and "possibly" as an emergency access or escape to/from the north shore. Never planned to be open to the public. Road washed out three years ago and they closed it. That's only 1.5 years of use. The whole road is 19 mikes long.

hiking
3 months ago

The road portion is 2.5 miles from the boy scout camp. Look for a clearing on the right immediately after a bridge. This will take you to Koolau Summit and Trail. Once you reach Black Juction marked by two wooden signs, veer left if you want to go an old helipad with a view. Veer right to continue on the summit trail which will take you to Pu'u Hina in about 1.5 miles. At Pu'u Hina , you can turn around or continue to hike along the Koolau Summit. Very overgrown and muddy. If you miss the critical junction, the road will take you all the way to Kahuku. So, remember to look for the junction off the road at 2.5 miles from the camp. This is not the state maintained Kaunala trail I am talking about. The complete loop as depicted on the map is the Kaunala Loop trail. The actual Pupukea Summit Trail goes to the helipad and ends there.

hiking
4 months ago

Reading these reviews I think that most of the posters have this trail mixed up with the Kaunala Loop trail. Both park at the same spot, both begin on the same paved army road, but the Loop Trail is the "real" state trail. This "summit" trail is supposed to be just a long slog uphill on the old Army training area roads. Unfortunately looks like a lot of posts here are describing the Kaunala Loop Trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Just as others have said.
By my reckoning though, it is 5.06 miles INCLUDING that non-trail proper access road stretch from where you park to the actual trail head; total distance walked from car back to car again is 5.06.
That "phantom" road that some speak of is (I think - I'm pretty sure) an Army road dating from the early 21st century for the Stryker vehicles to get up into the Kahuku Training Area. Since the stryker brigade have given up their heavy vehicles and converted to foot infantry, I don't think the Army (definitely not the State) will anymore pay for that road's upkeep. I walk the K-loop in mid Sept 2017 and at least four spots the paved section was washed away at least halfway. It won't be but a few more storms/years and the road will be cut completely in several places. Should still be trafficable by foot when that happens, but may entail a significant down-then-back-up to cross the forming gulches.

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Very cute and pleasant trail. Very interesting.

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