AWAAWAPUHI TRAIL ON KAUAI, HAWAII
Awaawapuhi Trail is my favorite hike in the Koke’e State Park. It has incredible drop-offs and epic views down to the Na Pali Coast. It only takes about an hour and a half each way along the total 6.2 miles out and back journey. If you only have time for one hike on the west side of Kauai, this is your trail.
I hiked all over Kauai for over a month and documented all of my adventures. In my opinion, these are the 15 best hikes on Kauai!
Awaawapuhi Trail Head
Awaawapuhi Trail is one of the more popular hikes in the Koke’e Park and subsequently has a large, signposted parking lot. It is before the Kalalau lookout but still takes well over 30 minutes to reach from Waimea Town. The trailhead is on the left of the parking lot.
The Awaawapuhi Trail is one of the more moderate difficulty hikes in Koke’e State Park. While the end viewpoint can get quite dangerous and steep if you venture down, the majority of the trail is well defined and quite straightforward.
The trail is quite wide in most parts and even though it had been raining a lot, the trail was in good condition. Heading down the Awaawapuhi Trail might give you some false confidence about how easy the hike will be. It’s because you spend the entire time hiking down 1500ft. You will feel each and every single step of the way back up as you breathe through the humid air inside the forested path.
The trail out towards the lookout took just under an hour and a half and was in shade most of the way. There were several groups of older hikers and it seemed to be the trail that was being attempted by all types of tourists.
We arrived at the official viewpoint and were blown away by the view. The dramatic drop-offs on either side of the Awaawapuhi ridge were something you don’t see anywhere else in the world. Kauai is the oldest island in the Archipelago and these cliffs have been shaped over thousands of years. It’s mind blowing to stand at the lookout and take it all in.
Most people stop there but it is possible to venture down the ridge although this can be quite dangerous. The rocks can be very crumbly and no step is certain on the ridges out in Koke’e State Park.
The reason why I love this trail and what makes it my favorite out in the west is because of the magnitude of the dropoffs and the gorge. Because the Awaawapuhi Trail drops you so low, you feel like you are almost down in the valley looking up towards the top of the other ridges. These landscapes are what thousands of people travel to Kauai for. They are unique and they are absolutely incredible!