• Features

    Birdwatching, Forrest, Views, Wildlife

  • Difficulty


The Awaawapuhi Trail will take you on an ultimate journey as you ascend from 4,120 feet elevation in the Kokee State Park to the valley rim of Nualolo and Awa’awapuhi valleys at 2,500 feet. The trail will lead you through rain forest, high desert like terrain and to some of the most awe inspiring vistas on Kauai’s Napali Coast. Awa’awapuhi Trail is a continual downhill hike from the trail head to the grassy clearing overlooking the valleys.

The Napali Forest Reserve area is managed as wilderness because of the rich variety of native plant species that thrive here. After the first mile-and-a-half the forest begins to thin out and the rugged Napali coast comes into view as well as glimpses into the Awaawapuhi Valley. At about the three mile mark is the junction of the Nualolo Cliff Trail.

If you don’t like back tracking you could take the Nualolo Cliff Trail junction on your way out, but it will add 5 miles to your trip and you will have to walk the road back to your car.

For the Awaawapuhi Nualolo Lookout continue straight ahead to the end of the trail for spectacular panoramic views and great picnic area.

Hiking Tips

Heading into Kauai’s interior and remote terrain offers dome of the most beautiful backdrops on the world. By doing a little planning and being prepared you will make your hiking trip one of your best Kauai experiences.

  • Hiking Plan Always tell someone where you are hiking (name and location of trail) you plan to hike and when you plan on returning.
  • Water  Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. Carry your water bottle in your hand and drink small amounts often. Make sure if you are drinking water from any streams or fresh water sources you purify your water with a purifier is certified to filter microbial leptosporosis or giardia (not all do).
  • Food  Carry high-energy, salty snacks as well as meals. The hike out is much easier when you provide your body with enough calories to support the extreme physical activity you are engaged in.
  • Weather Check the weather before you set off on your hike. Kauai Weather Forecast
  • First Aid It is important to know that cuts in tropical climates should be monitored closely. Don not expose open wounds or cuts to river water.
  • Proper Footwear There are a variety of footwear options to choose from. The best advise is to wear what is comfortable for you. Do not break in new shoes along a hiking trail.
  • Clothing  Dress in layers so you can protect your skin from the tropical sun. Wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen is recommended. A light rain jacket is recommended.
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Awaawapuhi Nualolo Trail
Average rating:  
 5 reviews
 by lee stenzler
Be forwarned

Some reviews called this an easy to moderate hike. If you are in average condition (maybe exercise for 2-4 hours per week), the climb back up is VERY difficult. The grade virtually the whole way is probably 30% or more. I am 66 y/o, in good health but I don't do specific condition training. It took me 2 hours to get back up with frequent stops to rest.

When you arrive at the overlook, the view is spectacular (although no camera will capture it so you cannot show off to anybody). We were looking at helicopters passing way below us but they were still high up.

If you are young and healthy, it is probably only mildly challenging.

Bottom line: loved it but would do a longer but flatter hike next time.

 by Rich
Please read

a moderate hiker age 40 from socal pretty fit and medium build.

Please check the gain and loss in elevation. Check it again.

Takes about an 90 mins down and lots of time will be spent trying to secure a footing. Because it rains nearly every other day...you will encounter mud and slippery leaves and mud holes upto 4" deep. If you dont have hiking shoes please purchase one unless you want to discard your shoes after the trip.

Those with any kness, lower back or ankle issues please be careful you will slip and fall so a trekking pole is highly recommended especially for those who are older.

Also, the heat and humidity is quite intense and it will make this trail alot more difficult than it actually seem based on specs. please pack a frozen water bottle and chilled ones with a energy bar for those who dont regularly hike. We had a group of 7 middle aged folks with college kids and allotted 4 hours for the hike but ended up being close to 6 hours with 3 of them barely making it back. If you're a regular person who doesn't exercise regularly....the heat, humidity, mud and slippery footings will get to you.

Other than that the view is spectacular. Do not underestimate the effects of heat and humidity and it only takes one fall to hurt your back, hips or anything else. Those over 60, i highly recommend a helicopter trip instead.

 by David E
A muddy messy slog

We are a bunch of 60 year olds who think we’re fairly fit. Due to the extremely muddy conditions we found it a most difficult hike. Downhill 1600 feet slipping and sliding, we all took a tumble. The view was special and now that we’re done with it we fell a sense of accomplishment, however in the heat of survival on the trail none of us can say we actually enjoyed it.

 by Sandy
Worth the hike

Loved this hike! We went on a day when it said cloudy with little chance of rain. The 3.25 miles down to the valley is almost all downhill. So when there is a fresh rain you will want to go slow or you have a good chance of wiping out. When you reach the vantage point for one of the most breathtaking views I've seen.

 by Chris
Great hike

Nice hike out to the overlook of the Na Pali Coast. The trail does need some clearing done at the end of the trail. Downhill most of the way uot and be ready for gradual climb the whole way back