Kauai’s Kapaa Bike Path Guide – Exploring the East Side
Ke Ala Hele Makalae or “the path that goes by the coast” describes the scenic multi-use path that runs along the beautiful east side of Kauai and will eventually follow the Kauai east coast from Nawiliwili to Anahola. Currently, this newly opened Kauai bike path offers breathtaking ocean and coastline views starting in South Kapaa and winding North past downtown up to Kealia Beach.
As of summer 2013, there are 7-8 completed miles of the Kapaa Bike Path:
- One segment connects Lydgate State Park to Wailua Beach Park (2.5 miles)
- One segment links South Kapaa to Ahihi Point/Kealia Beach (4.5 miles)
- Wailua Beach segment was just recently completed & newly opened in June 2013 (0.25+ mile)
The Kapaa Bike Path is a family-friendly Kauai activity that is free and open to the public. Visit popular Kapaa restaurants, eclectic shops, and many amazing east side beaches on this self-guided path along Kauai’s Coconut Coast. This beautiful Kauai path is used by walkers, runners, and cyclists. Dogs are welcome on the path as long as they are kept on a leash and cleaned up after. (See a complete list of the Kapaa Bike Path Rules & Guidelines below.)
Estimated Time for Completion (Round Trip)
You can begin the Kapaa Bike Path at several access points along the way, like at the Waipouli Beach Resort, but can also start from either Kealia Beach or Lydgate Beach Park to travel the full length and bike path distance. The below times for completing the Kapaa Bike Path are based on a bike path length of 7-8 completed miles. Times are also based on an average and may vary:
- Bicycling: 1 hour
- Running: 1.5 hours
- Walking: 2 hours
The Kapaa Bike Path is a good way to get around Kauai’s east side and Kapaa town if you don’t have transportation and is also a good way to explore this side of the island. Once the bike path is completed (no announced date yet) this will prove to be especially true.
Parking & Access
Parking and access for Kauai’s East Side Bike Path is available at several points along Kuhio Hwy. for both the northern and southern bike path segments. A few of the designated Kapaa Bike Path parking lots and access points include:
- Off Nalu Road by the beach at Lydgate Beach Park.
- Off Kuhio Highway at Wailua Beach Park.
- By the Kapaa boat launch across from the Kapaa Burger King (turn east off Kuhio Hwy. onto Kaloloku Rd.) at the end of Niu Street at the beach.
- Parking is available in several places along Kuhio Hwy. North of Kapaa Beach Park.
- Parking is also available at Kealia Beach.
Note: There is no official parking north of where Cane Haul Road and Kuhio Hwy. intersect.
Rules & Recommended Etiquette
- Be Courteous – All path users should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode of travel, speed, or skill level.
- Keep Path Clear – Use no more than one-half of the path when in a group.
- Be Predictable – Travel in a consistent manner. Look behind you before changing position on the path.
- Keep Right – Stay to the right of the path except when passing. Move back or to the right once safely past.
- Respect Private Property – Stay on designated paths or roadways. Avoid shortcutting switchbacks.
- Signal When Passing – Give a clear warning by voice, bell, or horn before passing.
- Yield to Slower Traffic – Cyclists yield to pedestrians – just remember, “wheels yield to heels.”
- Respect the Path and ‘Aina (Land) – Keep litter in trash receptacles; observe and protect wildlife from a distance.
Rules For Bringing a Dog on the Kapaa Bike Path
Dogs are welcome on the pathway except for the small portion of pathway in Lydgate Park between the Morgan Swimming Ponds south to the intersection of pathway connecting to the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Sports Park area. (Current County ordinances prohibit bringing animals into County parks in general.)
In May 2010, the Kauai County Council passed amended animal control ordinances and the key points are:
- Handler must be in control of dog at all times
- No minimum age requirement for dog handler
- Two dogs per handler (max)
- Must have poop bag in evidence
- Dog owner must remove and dispose of dog’s feces
- Dog must be licensed
- Maximum leash length 6 ft. (non-retractable)
- Must remove dog from the area if it gets aggressive
- Fenced off-leash dog park to be created in Wailua Homesteads Park
Motorized Vehicles on the Kapaa Bike Path
Only maintenance and emergency vehicles are allowed on the paths, with the only exception being mobility carts for genuinely disabled persons. No other motorized vehicles allowed on the path.
Projected Completion of Kapaa-Wailua-Lihue Bike Path Sections
The present status (see map below) of the County of Kauai’s ‘Ke Ala Hele Makalae’ Bike Path Project is a six phase undertaking:
Phase I (2.5 miles) is complete in Lydgate Park and was open for public use in 2003.
Phase 2 (4.5 miles) extends along the coast from Lihi Park in central Kapaa 4.5 miles north to Ahihi Point in Kealia. This Phase was completed and opened for public enjoyment June 26, 2009.
Phase 3 (2.1 miles) extends from Lydgate Beach Park to Lihi Boat Ramp, plus a spur to the Kapaa Elementary School/Kawaihau Rd. area. Consultant Kimura Associates International has completed the Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been approved by the Federal Highways Administration. The Wailua Beach & Wailua River section was recently completed and opened for public use in June 2013.
Phase 4 (Preferred alignment 4 miles, no completion date announced for this Phase) extends from Ahukini Landing State Park to Lydgate Park. Consultant R.M. Towill is expected to complete the Environmental Assessment in late 2011/early 2012.
Phase 5 (No preferred alignment or completion date announced for this Phase) extends from Ahihi Point in Kealia to the Anahola Beach Park and is envisioned to be built on land owned by the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands. The first of three Community Input meetings was held on December 12, 2006, conducted by SSFM, the consultant preparing that Phase’s Environmental Assessment. At least two more Community Input meetings will be held, dates to be determined.
Phase 6 (No preferred alignment or completion date announced for this Phase) extends from Ahukini Point to Lihue to Nawiliwili and is in the Environmental Assessment process. Consulting firm R.M. Towill is preparing the EA, and as of January 2008, two community informational meetings had been conducted. A third community informational meeting is yet to be scheduled.
The Future of the Kapaa Bike Path
The connection of Ke Ala Hele Makalae between Lydgate Beach Park (~4 miles of path meandering within Lydgate Park, crossing the Wailua River, running North along Wailua Beach, and along Papaloa Road stubbing out at the Coconut Marketplace) and the contiguous 4.2 mile section (from Lihi Park in central Kapaa along the coast North to Kuna Bay) is currently still under construction and/or planning. The Wailua Beach & Wailua River section was just recently completed and opened for public use this past June (2013).
(Kapaa Bike Path Map Credit: KauaiPath.org)
In short, there is not yet a contiguous ~9 mile long multi-use path all the way from Lydgate Park to Kuna Bay. The resolute walker, runner, or cyclist should be able to traverse the incomplete portion of that alignment.
The completed sections of Kapaa Bike Path are in constant use, are very attractive, and the interpretive signage was installed along the Kapaa – Kuna Bay corridor and completely in place by September 2013.
Additionally, there should be a new section of path completed that will climb the hill between the coast and the residential neighborhood along Kawaihau Road at the North end of Kapaa town. That section now has finished concrete on the ground at the base and at the crest of the rise, but the elevated above-grade center section is planned for construction in the summer of 2013.
Bicycle & Stroller Rentals
When you’re staying at your Waipoui Beach Resort rental in Kapaa, the convenient location to the Kapaa Bike Path means there are many companies to choose from when deciding where to rent bicycles and strollers to use on the path. Most bike rental companies provide helmets and locks with rentals, and offer a wide variety of rental options and attachments for kids. Most businesses rent bikes by the hour, day, or week.
1. Coconut Coasters Beach Bike Rentals is located behind the Chicken in a Barrel Restaurant in North Kapaa. This bike shop offers a full selection of TREK brand classic cruisers, 3 speed cruiseliners, Tandems for two, and trailer bikes for kids. Helmets and bike locks are included in rental prices. Picnic lunches are available upon request. Stroller rentals also available.
- Address: 4-1586 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai, Hi. 96746
- Phone: (808) 822-7368 (808-822-RENT)
- Yelp Review
2. Kapaa Beach Shop: Conveniently located in front of the Kauai Bike Path in North Kapaa, renting from the Kapaa Beach Shop is a breeze. They provide you with quality Trek and Specialized bikes in beach cruiser styles, or mountain bikes and three speed cruisers. They also have attachments for kids and kid bikes. Prices start at just $5.00 and top out at $15.00 for the best bikes for the entire day!
- Address: 4-1592 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI. 96746
- Phone: (808) 212-8615
- Hours: Sun.-Fri. 8am-6pm
3. Kauai Cycle offers cruisers, road, and mountain bikes as rental bikes. They are also a good source for Kauai riding: maps, trail information, guide books, pictures, and rentals starting at just $20/day including a helmet and a lock. Multi-day rates are available as well as car racks! Kauai Cycle is the island dealer for Specialized, Haro and Yakima and carry a full line of clothing and accessories, and offer a fully equipped certified repair shop for any cycling need.
- Address: 934 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, Hi. 96746
- Phone: (808) 821-2115
- Hours: M-F 9am-6pm, Sat. 9am-4pm, Closed Sundays
Note: Of the three listed bike rental companies above, the closest Kapaa bike rental shop to Waipouli Beach Resort is Kauai Cycle. Turn right when walking out of the Waipouli Beach Resort onto the sidewalk and Kauai Cycle is about a five minute (or less) walk toward Downtown Kapaa.