Hiking isn’t the first thing you usually think of when you think of Hawaii: you think of blue ocean as far as the eye can see, bottomless piña coladas, and snorkeling. All of those activities are totally valid, but it would be a travesty to go to Kauai without experiencing the hiking trails.
The Napali Coast on the North Shore hosts some of the best hikes in the entire world, and I would 100% recommend doing a day hike there if you have the time. But if you’re staying on the South Shore and looking for a more accessible and feasible hike, I’d recommend the hiking trails in Waimea Canyon.
My favorite hike we did was the Waimea Canyon Lookout Trail. The hike starts in Waimea Canyon State Park, up about five miles of windy roads. I’m pretty sure I got car sick every time we drove up it, tbh. The trail starts right after mile marker 14! You start the hike on a fire road and hike down to the trailhead. The hike is about 1.8 miles each way and takes about 2.5 – 3 hours roundtrip.
The hike leads you to the most incredible views of Waimea Canyon, at a clearing called the Kumuwela Lookout. I honestly had a do a double-take like ten times before I accepted that the views were real – they are INCREDIBLE.
Don’t turn around too early, because there is a trail at the end of the lookout that leads to Waipoo Falls. There’s a fork in the trail that leads you to two different sets of falls; turn to the right to go to the top of Waipoo Falls!