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The magnificent terrain of Kauai provides a playground for exploration.

And it’s easy to experience. Epic views dominate the landscape and nature prevails even where man frequently treads.

Go ahead and play… Take a hike!

Traveling with small children or older members of your family? No problem. Kauai provides a wide range of hiking levels— from world-famous cliffside treks to leisurely strolls in the park. If you desire an intimate experience with Kauai’s natural splendor, but intend to take it easy, here’s a guide to short, simple and stunning family-friendly hikes on each side of the island.

Length – 2 miles or less round trip
Time – 2 hours or less
Access – Easy walk or drive to trailhead
Elevation change – 400 feet or less

Kapaa bike path

North Shore Hikes

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Wai Koa Stone Dam

Length – 1 mile roundtrip
Time – 0.5-1 hours, depending on pace
Access – drive to trailhead
Elevation change – none

The Wai Koa Stone Dam hike is a part of the larger Anaina Hou Community Park trail system (5 mile loop). However, this portion is a short, straight walk along a gravel path that leads to a beautifully-maintained Hawaiian oasis. The destination is a traditional palapa, overlooking a view too magical to spoil. The palapa was constructed in honor of the late Bill Porter, Kauai’s remembered philanthropist.

From Kuhio Hwy turn mountainside on Kuawa Rd. near Kīlauea Town. Drive all the way to the end of the road and park near the yellow gate. Walk past the gate, following the gravel road, all the way to the palapa! You can enter “Tours at Common Ground Kauai” into Google Maps for directions to the trailhead.

East Shore Hikes

Kuilau Ridge Hike

Kuilau Ridge Trail

Length – 2 miles roundtrip
Time – 1-3 hours, depending on pace
Access – drive to trailhead
Elevation change – a gradual, steady incline ~400 ft.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is a perfect hike to get you acclimated to Kauai’s jungles. The wide trail meanders through a Monkeypod forest up to a vista with spectacular views of layered ridge lines beyond. At the top you will find picnic tables and a small covered pavilion to rest, snack and revel in the beauty. Best done on a dry day, as the trail can get muddy after rain. 

From Kuhio Hwy turn mountainside on Hwy 580 near Wailua Beach Park. Drive approximately 6.6 miles to the trailhead parking lot. Park and begin! You can enter “Kuilau Ridge Trailhead” into google maps for directions.

East Kauai Bike Path

Kauai Bike Path

(an easier East Shore alternative)Length – as desired
Time – as desired
Access – drive to trailhead
Elevation change – none

A great go-to on the East Shore, the Kauai Bike Path provides the perfect way to experience a breathtaking coastline. The rolling paved path is walkable, bikable and wheel-chair accessible. You can access the Kauai Bike Path from multiple parking lots between Wailua and Kapaa.

South / West Shore Hikes

Kauai Vacation Rentals

Pu’u O Kila Lookout/Pihea Trailhead

(Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park)Length – 0.2 or longer as desired
Time – 5 minutes or longer as desired
Access – drive to trailhead
Elevation – none or sloping as desired

The drive to Pu’u O Kila Lookout is stunning in itself. The last lookout along Waimea Canyon, you’ll pass plenty of places to stop, stretch your legs and amaze your mind with the Napali Coastline. The Pu’u O Kila Lookout is also the trailhead for the Pihea hike. So, you can either walk the easy paved .2 miles from the parking lot to the official lookout, or venture as far as you desire along the rambling red clay ridge. 

From Kuhio Hwy in Waimea, follow signs for Koke’e State Park. Drive up the canyon and enjoy the ride. Official lookouts provide incredible views as you make your way to the end of the road. Enter “Pu’u O Kila Lookout” into google maps for directions.