Kauai is the fourth largest of the eight main islands of the Hawaiian Island chain. With just over 550 square miles of land, and with the Hawaiian Islands surrounded by more water than any other archipelago it’s interesting to discover that Kauai is a premier hiking location with well over 120 miles of established trails which range from completely easy, to supremely difficult.
There are 56 established, well-known hiking trials on Kauai, only 10 of which are official State Park Trails. Kauai’s trails range in lengths and vary in difficulty levels, from rankings of 1 (less than a half mile of flat, easily walkable dry ground) to difficulties of 10 – like Kauai’s famous Kalalau Trail which is considered one of the top ten toughest hiking trails in world.
The diverse landscape and micro climates make Kauai a hiker’s dream, as each hike on the island has its own unique destination sights, terrain, ecosystems, and landscape views. This diversity alone is worth a visit to Kauai, as there is no other place in such a compact area that can offer this sort of variety.
The fact that much of Kauai’s interior is inaccessible by any other means, besides by foot-trek, is another compelling reason to take up a pack and hike on in. Aside from the air tours, which do offer breathtaking from-above views of the steepest cliff, hiking in by foot is the only way to get closer look of much of island’s untouched and pristine inner sanctuaries. Kauai’s tallest peak Mount Kawaikini looms over 5300 feet above the surrounding beaches, and is teeming with hidden waterfalls, valleys, swamps and dense rain forests.
Alakai swamp – the highest elevated swamp in the world – is of particular interest. Here, the plant life has dwarfed, though these miniaturized versions of many of Hawaii’s trees and shrubs maintain full-size blooms. The views from the trail’s famous boardwalk region are truly beyond description, and can really only be fully experienced in person. Then again, that’s what many people say about the Kalalau Trail, and the Trail to Waipo’o Falls, and the Awa’awapuhi Grand LoopTrail, and the …
Well, you get the picture – or at least you will, when you hike Kauai!