Off the Beaten Path: Nature Walks on Kauai

It takes little to no effort to experience nature’s grandeur on Kauai. Once you’ve stepped off the plane, you are immersed within breathtaking beauty. From there, driving along Kuhio Highway to your home-away-from-home, striking mountains and vast ocean vistas unravel from sky to sea.

There are hundreds of ways to enjoy Kauai’s natural beauty. For those that wish to gently venture into less-trafficked areas, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite nature trails.

Avoid the crowds and embark on a simple stroll through tropical nature. Some of these trails lead to indescribable gems at the end!

North Shore

Old Club Med (Princeville)

Easy to moderate with a slight change in elevation
2 miles round trip

A mysterious path leads you through open lawns and manicured ruins of an old resort to one of the best places to watch surfers on the north shore. In the 1960s and 70s, Hanalei Ridge was home to a gigantic, all-inclusive resort. After the resort failed economically, the land was purchased, excavated and still awaits building permits for the next phase. What you see now is one of Kauai’s most beautiful geographical features unadulterated by development. Locals advocate and fight for its preservation. The property is open for public use.

How to get there: From Princeville heading towards Hanalei, turn right on Hanalei Plantation Rd, just after the Hanalei Fire Station. Stay on Hanalei Plantation Rd until the road turns from paved to dirt and gets a little bumpy. When you come to a small public park (just a few picnic tables at an overlook), park your car here. Do not continue on the road to the left that heads down the hill- this is a private drive. Walk on the road to the right. You’ll come to a large iron gate with a pedestrian path on the left. Walk through and stroll along the path to the water!

The Rock Dam (Kilauea)

Easy and flat
2 miles round trip

Makauwahi Cave and Tortoise SanctuaryA section of the Waikoa Loop system, this path follows a straight dirt road most of the way. As you walk with the river on your left and horses on your right, the glorious Namahana Mountain Range bellows before you. This short, easy path leads you to a surprising vista overlooking an oasis of tropical plants and a picturesque waterfall. Follow the path down the hill to meander along the old irrigation canals until you reach the Rock Dam itself!

How to get there: Heading north on Kuhio Highway, turn left on Kuawa Rd (mountainside of Kilauea Town). Drive all the way back until you reach the recently purchased Common Ground facility. Park here near the yellow gate at the end of the road. Walk past the yellow gate and follow the dirt road until you reach the Rock Dam! Be sure to stop by Kauai Farmacy on your drive back down Kuawa Road for a boutique herbal garden experience and fresh brewed tea!