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.
The Kapaa Bike Path is a great place for evening strolls, sunsets, and whale watching
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.
Map of the Kauai Bike Path Route from Anahola to Nawiliwili
12 Good Kauai Restaurants to Eat at Along the Kapaa Bike Path
Located at reasonable intervals along the Kapaa Bike Path are several clean, well maintained, and covered oceanfront picnic areas, bike racks, and comfort stations. Ke Ala Hele Makalae provides a great atmosphere for eating and welcomes you to bring your own meal to enjoy. Grab some food to go from your favorite restaurant, have a picnic, or bring a meal from home, the oceanfront setting will not disappoint!
Regardless on how far you decide to follow the path, or which side you start from, there are several dining options to choose from. Fuel up before you start your Kauai Bike Path adventure, or recharge after a long, fun filled day at one of the various Waipouli and Kapaa restaurants available, many of them with gorgeous ocean views. (Most of the restaurants listed below are focused on places to eat at along the bike path during early morning to late afternoon – and you may have to venture off of the path a little ways to find them.)
The following restaurants are listed in order of appearance starting from the North end of Kapaa town:
#1. Chicken in a Barrel
Want to know where to get some good BBQ while staying in Kapaa? Chicken in a Barrel is located close to the Kapaa Bike Path toward the Kealia side. A custom-made 50-gallon drum Barrel Smoker is what Chicken in a Barrel uses to cook all their featured meats. This one-of-a-kind cooking style is referred to as “Smoked Barbecue.” The chicken is highly recommended.
- Address: 4-1586 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI. 96746
- Phone: (808) 823-0780
- Hours: M-Sat. 11am-9pm, Closed Sundays
- Yelp Review
#2. The Coconut Cup Juice Bar & Cafe
Category: Juice Bar, Smoothies, Sandwiches
The Coconut Cup specializes in organic, locally grown fruit smoothies, vegetable juices, gourmet sandwiches, organic salads, organic wraps, fresh cold coconuts, and organic wheat grass. They also boast what they claim to be the “best shave ice on the island” of Kauai made with frozen ionized-alkaline water and topped with fresh squeezed pineapple or mango juice, 100% natural! Call-in orders welcome!
- Address: 4-1516 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai
- Phone: (808) 823-8630
- Hours: Everyday 8am-5pm
- Yelp Review
#3. Kountry Kitchen Restaurant & Cafe
Category: American Breakfast & Brunch
Wondering where to go in Kapaa for a hot homemade breakfast? Then Kountry Kitchen is the restaurant you want to go to. One of few restaurants on the east side cooking up some homestyle breakfast options like eggs benedict and chocolate chip pancakes. We recommend you get there early as there tends to be a line by around 9:00 or 10:00am. Even if you do have to wait in line, this restaurant is worth waiting for if you’re looking for a comforting homestyle breakfast. The eggs benedict is highly recommended.
- Address: 1485 Kuhio Hwy. Kapaa, HI 96746
- Phone: (808) 822-3511
- Hours: Mon-Sun 6am – 1:30pm
- Yelp Review
#4. Bubba Burgers
Category: Burgers, American
If you’re looking for a good Kapaa burger joint, Bubba Burgers won’t disappoint. “Always juicy, never greasy,” Bubba Burgers is located right in the middle of old Kapaa Town on Hwy. 56, directly across from Kapaa Beach Park. Enjoy dining inside, or on the deck with a view of the blue Pacific Ocean. During the winter season, you might even see some whales while you eat! Or you might even get to watch a children’s soccer game, which takes place at the park. The teriyaki cheeseburgers are highly recommended.
- Address: 4 Kuhio Hwy #104 Kapaa, Hawaii 96746
- Phone: (808) 823-0069
- Hours: Everyday 10:30am-8:00pm
- Yelp Review
#5. Paco’s Tacos
Serving up authentic Mexican cuisine, Paco’s Tacos is a great place to eat at and has been said to have some of the best fish tacos on Kauai. They have many other options to choose from as well, offering the more traditional Mexican food like carne asada burritos and taco salads. Sit at their clean, covered picnic tables and enjoy the delicious food. Paco’s Tacos is located in between Bank of Hawaii and Deja Vu in Kapaa town. The fish tacos are highly recommended.
- Address: 4-1638 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746
- Phone: (808) 631-7104
- Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am – 8 pm
- Yelp Review
#6. Java Kai
Category: Coffee and Tea
Java Kai in Kapaa Town is where the locals go for the island’s best coffee, organic juices, smoothies, fresh baked goods, full breakfast, lunch and more. They also offer vegan and wheat-free muffins and pastries. Try their “Go Green” smoothie, voted the best non-alcoholic drink at the 2012 Taste of Hawaii!
- Phone: (808) 823-6887
- Address: 4-1384 Kuhio Hwy. #105, Kapaa, HI 96746
- Hours: Mon.-Sat. 6am-5pm, Sundays 7am-1pm
- Yelp Review
#7. Mermaids Cafe
Category: Sandwiches, Vegetarian, Seafood
Mermaids Cafe is located between Java Kai and the Eastside Restaurant and serves unique, healthy, and delicious foods from around the world with island, Pan-Asian flavors. Mermaids Cafe offers a unique and fun atmosphere where you can sit and watch as your meal is prepared in front of you. Their homemade entrees, wraps, sauces, salads and beverages are made with fresh, local ingredients. Vegetarian and vegan options available. They have delicious curry dishes and the ahi nori wrap is highly recommended.
- Phone: (808) 821-2026
- Address: 4-1384 Kuhio Hwy Kapaa, HI 96746
- Hours: Everyday 11am-9pm
- Yelp Review
#8. Olympic Cafe
Category: American Restaurant & Cafe, Bar
Located across the street from the ABC store at the north end of Kapaa town, it’s worth hunting around for this casual second-floor restaurant, which has views of the ocean and historic downtown Kapaa. The breakfasts are huge, lunches filling, and dinners reasonably priced – the Olympic Cafe is known for big portions and small prices. The Ahi Furikake is highly recommended.
- Phone: (808) 822-5825
- Address: 4-1354 Kuhio Hwy Kapaa, HI 96746
- Hours: Everyday Mon-Fri 6am-9m, Sat-Sun 6am-10pm
- Yelp Review
#9. Pono Market
Category: Local, Hawaiian, Seafood
Looking to try some freshly prepared food unique to Kauai? Pono Market has all sorts of local favorites, from Kalua Pork to Ahi Poke to Lau Lau. This is also a good place to stop in Kapaa for snacks and beverages as they have a nice selection. This place is definitely a ‘must go’ for those of you visiting Kapaa that want to try something new. The ahi poke is highly recommended. If you would like to try a local favorite, get the lau lau (which is a ti leaf wrapped pork dish) or the Kalua pig (delicious shredded pork) – be sure to get there early before they sell out.
- Phone: (808) 822-4581
- Address: 4-1300 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746
- Hours: Mon-Fri 6am – 6 pm, Sat 6am – 4 pm
- Yelp Review
#10. Ono Ono Shave Ice
Category: Shave Ice
‘Ono’ means delicious in Hawaii! Ono Ono Shave Ice offers a HUGE variety of refreshing shave ice flavors (some unique flavors, too) and gives generous portion sizes. After a sun-filled day of exercising and playing on the Kapaa Bike Path, this is the perfect Hawaii treat.
- Phone: (808) 822-1710
- Address: 4-1292 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746
- Hours: Everyday 10:30am – 6:30pm
- Yelp Review
#11. Oasis on the Beach Restaurant & Bar
Category: Restaurant, Bar, Hawaiian
Oasis on the Beach is a relatively new and independently owned Kauai beachfront restaurant located in close proximity to the Waipouli Beach Resort fantasy pool right off of the bike path. This full service east side restaurant and bar has a tropical, friendly atmosphere and welcomes you to a Kauai dining experience like no other with mesmerizing Kauai sunsets and sights to view while you enjoy some of the island’s most delicious local cuisine.
- Phone: (808) 822-9332
- Address: Waipouli Beach Resort, 4-820 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI 96746
- Hours: Sun-Sat 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Sun from 12pm-2pm drinks only)
#12. Monico’s Taqueria
Monico’s Taqueria offers authentic Mexican cuisine right here in Kapaa. Dine inside, outside, or get your food to go. Monico’s Taqueria has received the ‘Best of the Best’ awards in 2011 and 2010 as ‘Best Mexican Restaurant’ by MidWeek Kauai’s Official People’s Choice Awards. The steak fajitas are highly recommended.
- Phone: (808) 822-4300
- Address: 4-356 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa, HI. 96746
- Hours: Tues – Sun Lunch: 11am – 3pm, Dinner: 5pm – 9pm (Closed Mondays)
- Yelp Review