HONOPU RIDGE TRAIL ON KAUAI, HAWAII
Honopu Ridge Trail is a 5-mile out and back hike in Koke’e State Park on Kauai. I attempted this trail once but was totally engulfed by clouds so I didn’t get to enjoy any of the views. I decided I had to go back a second time. My persistence was rewarded and we enjoyed spectacular views of the Na Pali coastline.
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!
Honopu Ridge Trailhead
The Honopu Ridge Trailhead is just after the AwaAwapuhi Trailhead. It doesn’t have a designated parking lot but there is a spot 50 yards past the trailhead where you can park your car safely. The marker on Google Maps is accurate.
Honopu Ridge Trail
The Honopu Ridge Trail is a 5 mile out and back that leads you to a spectacular view of the Na Pali Coast. The trail takes a number of turns in the early moments of the hike but they are clearly marked by pink and orange tape. Hunting trails branch out from the Honopu Ridge Trail frequently so make sure you stick with the tape markers and stay on track.
This hike is great but it can be brutal on your legs and arms. The low-lying shrubs are incredibly sharp and the trail is so narrow there is no way to avoid their constant scrape. I would highly suggest wearing pants on this hike. It isn’t going to kill you if you don’t but you will regret not heeding this advice when you return.
We wound through the tight, muddy trail as we weaved in, out and over fallen trees and branches. It’s an adventurous trail with lots of obstacles and slippery descents. After about 30 minutes you will get a glimpse of the ocean. If you can’t see the ocean, you may be inside a cloud, which is unfortunate for you but it may clear up as you continue down.
On numerous occasions throughout the Honopu Ridge Trail, you will find yourself wondering if you are indeed still on the trail. It is quite undefined in many sections but as long as you are still following the tape (which is also yellow at times) keep on pushing through.
The first time I hiked the Honopu Ridge Trail, I arrived at the first lookout and the narrow ridge section while in the middle of a cloud. Everything was white. The second time the view was insane! The first lookout has you facing straight towards the classic Na Pali ridges and a huge waterfall in the Honopu Valley. We spent an hour chilling here taking it all in. We didn’t know how long it would be before the clouds rolled in and ruined the view.
They did engulf us a few times but always cleared on this day. After a long rest, we continued on down the trail, which became increasingly dense and harder to navigate. The second lookout peers down onto the AwaAwapuhi Trail and even as far as the Nualolo Trail. We watched whales breaching below as the tour boats cruised up and down the coast. It took us almost 2 hours to make it out to this viewpoint, not including our 1-hour rest but it was well worth it!
Where to stay on Kauai
I’m going to recommend five places to stay on Kauai. All five of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. Two are is a luxury pick, one is a family choice, the other is a value selection and the last recommendation I have for you is where I recommend for the budget backpackers.
Kauai Shores Hotel – Luxury (but value also): Okay so Kauai is expensive that is just a fact. So luxury on Kauai is REALLY expensive. We are talking $700+ a night at many hotels. Kauai Shores Hotel has the luxury feel with the resort style property, palm trees, and a beautiful pool area. However, it is less than $300 a night. The best part about this hotel is that it is right on the beach. The restaurant literally looks out to the waves, which is an awesome spot to start your day with breakfast. This is a great choice if you do want a high-end hotel for your stay in Kauai but you still want to keep things reasonable and not blow thousands and thousands on your getaway. Remember you will want to do lots of activities and get a rental car as well maybe so saving a couple of hundred a night by staying at the Kauai Shores Hotel compared to the Marriot will give you the resort vibe but not be extravagant on your budget.
Koloa Landing Resort – Luxury (high-end): I was lucky enough to spend three nights reviewing Koloa Landing Resort and honestly the place is just phenomenal. It is part of the Wyndham Autograph collection and has the LARGEST pool on all of Kauai with beautiful, natural-style landscaping throughout the pool areas. Palm trees surround the pool and restaurant areas on what is one of the most luxurious properties on the island. The rooms had all of the trimmings and it was definitely an amazing experience to spend a few nights at Koloa Landing Resort.
The Grand Hyatt Resort – Best Family Resort: With the best kids’ club on the island, wildlife talks in the lobby, and a five-acre pool complex that includes an enormous lazy-river pool, a waterslide, and a saltwater lagoon big enough for kayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy. Plus, five of the resort’s 11 restaurants have children’s menus at The Grand Hyatt Resort.
Hilton Garden Inn – Value Pick: The Hilton Garden Inn is your number one choice if you are on a budget but still need comfort. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t cheap it is still over $200 USD but this is Kauai. $200 USD is a bargain. The Hilton has a beautiful pool, has private beach access and hot tubs so you are still getting awesome value and the resort experience. The Hilton Garden Inn is where you go when you want to enjoy the hot tub, pool and beach access but don’t necessarily care about all of the trimmings at the resorts that are 4 figures or more per night. If I was on a honeymoon or with a family, this is where I would stay and spend the saved money and helicopter tours, rental cars and experiences!
More Kauai Blog Posts
I spent an entire month exploring the island of Kauai. In particular, I was hiking all of the trails and made several guides for the best hikes and easiest hikes so you can enjoy the trails of the island.
North Shore Hiking Guide: 4 AWESOME HIKES ON THE NORTH SHORE OF KAUAI
Kauai Hiking Guide: 15 BEST HIKES ON KAUAI
Easy Hikes on Kauai: 8 EASY HIKES ON KAUAI WITH GREAT VIEWS
Cliff Jumping Guide to Kauai: BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON KAUAI
Open Door Helicopter Flight Kauai: EPIC DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF KAUAI