Explore the most popular forest 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.

Beautiful hiking trail. We went to the falls, alongside the cliffs for astounding views into the canyon that you cannot get from the lookouts. We are in average shape, early 30’s and hiked this in about 3 hours with plenty of stops for pictures along the way.

hiking
21 days ago

Being a former Boy Scout, I consider myself a amateur hiker. During a recent trip to Kauai, my wife (5 months pregnant) and I joined two other couples on a hike of Honopu Ridge, on a whim. Long sleeves and long pants are A MUST if you value your skin. I highly recommend at least 1-2 L of water, and a healthy supply of carved snacks for fuel along the way (mainly for the trip back).

The trip to the end of the trail was not much of a beat down, but the return trip is when you really start to feel it. You are met by a few, small "steep" grade changes while still in the foliage, so be mindful of roots and other foot holds to make use of when ascending/descending, ESPECIALLY when it's slick. The ferns can get quite thick at about the 0.75-1.5 mile mark, coupled with a few low hanging brush/trees.

Once you make it to the actual Honopu valley, the trail starts to follow the ridge, with some more difficult climbs (6:1 up to 9:1 slopes). You'll want to be careful about your footing in some areas because there isn't anything stopping you from a long fall down. Once you get to the ridge, but before the trail ends, you will have plenty of spots for pictures and taking in the breathtaking views if the cloud cover cooperates.

When you reach the official end of the trail, you will be standing on a section of the ridge composed of red dirt/rock/clay overlooking the Honopu Arch (distinguished by beach on both sides). The area is just flat enough to take a break, throw out a blanket, and just soak in the views that most people only see from a helicopter.

Overall, I feel the trail is hard because of the elevation and it's length. The return trip is when you really start to feel the tiredness set in. But when you get as your reward is well worth the sore legs.

Most of this trail belongs to the Waimea Canyon Trail (from Puuhinahina lookout to Waio'po parking lot). About half of mile of this trail is on the main road in the park, Koke'e Road--potentially dangerous when visibility is low.

In addition, this trail while do-able for all ages, isn't "easy" by any means--requires crossing streams and drastic descent in elevation.

hiking
1 month ago

Views were amazing- totally worth the effort! Trail crazy muddy and slick! Other reviewers weren't kidding about long sleeves and pants. While there is a narrow trail, the brush is thick!!

1 month ago

I’m from Washington state so I hike for elevation gains and views. This hike is one of the most breathtaking I’ve ever been on - even being from Washington. It’s what people pay $250 for a helicopter tour to see... you can look over all of the kalalau trail and even see a little bit of ke’e beach. I was delighted. STUNNING. please do not go when it’s muddy unless you’re used to Hawaii’s mud, the rocks become slippery and even with backpacking boots it wouldn’t be smart. You almost need crampons, haha. Elevation was great, it is a hard hike but honestly I felt the hardest part was the thorns on the trail. Lots of overgrown foliage, I felt like it was all the more wild because of it but I am scratched up. The app tracking helped at the start of the trail but I didn’t need it after the first .3 miles.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is absolutely awesome. Be ready for lots of mud in spots, and if you have trail shoes you’ll be fine. It felt like we went through several different climates along this trail. It starts out in a beautiful forest, turns into brush with steep climbs and descents (not the most fun part- you will get scratched by bushes), then the dryer areas toward the end which is mostly clay but there are random patches of grassy areas with some trees. You’re hiking mostly down on the way out, mostly up on the way back. Make it to the end because the view is the best I’ve ever seen. There is nothing like it!!

Great views. We went to the falls with lots of stops, about 3hrs. We had to reschedule a lot of activities due to flash flood warnings. Trail was muddy but for any experienced hiker totally doable in wet weather. although we only had some light rain while on trail. Do not miss the views of deep in Waimea canyon! Wether this hike or another.

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
4 months 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
4 months 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 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
5 months 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.

6 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
8 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
8 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.

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Very cute and pleasant trail. Very interesting.

hiking
9 months ago

Very interesting place. Nice hike.

Gorgeous views.

Wow just wow. All the good things in the other reviews are true!

hiking
10 months ago

Probably the best hike I've ever been on. Be prepared for lots of overgrowth and unclear trail markings, mostly near the trailhead. Long pants are a must. Even a long sleeved shirt for certain portions. Absolutely worth it as the view was stunning and the trail was completely ours. Didn't pass anyone on the way out or the way back in. Humidity, the unmaintained trail, and the elevation loss/gain make this not for the first time hiker. Expect 4-5 hours at a moderate effort with time for viewing.

10 months ago

Completed twice, 2011 and 2013. One of our favorite hikes. Wear long pants if you do not want to get your legs cut up as others have mentioned. On a clear day you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the coast. Watch for helicopters below when you near the end. Watch weather prior to leaving as coming back in the rain is not fun (from experience. Do not think you can just walk up and complete; not for beginners. Start early end early and go get a drink.

10 months ago

Completed twice, 2011 and 2013. One of our favorite hikes. Wear long pants if you do not want to get your legs cut up as others have mentioned. On a clear day you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the coast. Watch for helicopters below when you near the end. Watch weather prior to leaving as coming back in the rain is not fun (from experience. Do not think you can just walk up and complete; not for beginners. Start early end early and go get a drink.

There are more trails in this area than Alltrails is showing us. I did a larger loop that included the Kumuwela Trail, which I started by Camp Slogget. Take a snapshot of the trail map at the park lodge (or buy one) for better details. Be sure to hit up the vistas just southeast of the waterfall!

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