Kauai’s interior is so wild that it served as the perfect location for the Jurassic Park films. Now you can explore it on foot with one of these hiking tours.
Roads run around the shores of Kauai, which is arguably the most beautiful Hawaiian island. But there are very few roads running inland, a space dominated by jagged mountains, thick rainforest and lofty waterfalls. It’s a space that is best explored on foot, with plenty of intrepid hiking tours available to suit different sensibilities. Here are five of the best. Please note that all tour prices on this list are per group of up to four people.
Private Jungle and Rainbow Eucalyptus Hike of Kauai
Delve into eastern Kauai’s lush jungles along the Kuilau (pronounced ‘koo-E-lau’) Ridge Trail. This private guided tour is great for anybody fascinated by the remarkable flora of this island and the ways in which it has enriched local culture. Hawaiians have long walked this path to access plants that can be used for making sails, roofs and clothing items, such as hula skirts. This hike also passes through a grove of eucalyptus deglupta, with its unique multicolored bark. From $300 per group.
Tortoises, Caves and Cliffs South Shore Hike
Plenty of unique fauna has made Kauai its home and although the south shore of the island is more developed, there are still plenty of wilderness preserves and tropical gardens where wildlife flourishes. This hiking tour explores the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, taking walkers over limestone cliffs and into yawning caverns fronted by palm trees or the Pacific Ocean. This area is also home to a number of tortoises, giving the area an added prehistoric feel. From $380 per group.
Kauai Private Hike to Sleeping Giant
Kauai’s interior is dominated by a rugged procession of mountains with many challenging trails for more advanced walkers. But there are a couple of mountain hikes that are more accessible to all, such as Nounou Mountain, which is better known as the Sleeping Giant thanks to its long ridge, which resembles a person in repose. This guided private tour takes you along the trail that reaches the pinnacle of this ridge (the bit that looks like the head), where there are expansive views of Kauai’s eastern shore. From $380 per group.
Waimea Canyon & Koke’e State Park Tour
The western side of Kauai is where the development starts to fade and the raw, volcanic beauty of the island really begins to make itself known. A good place to get a sense of this is in Waimea Canyon State Park, where the canyon’s walls are mottled many shades of orange and green. At one section, the Waipo’o Falls plunge 800 feet (244m) over the edge. Hikes are limited to a few miles here, making it an ideal tour for walkers of all abilities. As with all tours on this list, departures are available daily. From $580 per group.
Napali Clifftops Small Group Hike
Of all the stunning views available on Kauai, those from the cliffs along the Napali coastline are surely among the most impressive. This seven-hour hiking tour takes you first by bus, from the south coast, through the agricultural lands and communities, to Waimea Canyon. From there you will take a ridge hike that leads you out towards the Napali coast, combining many of the best sights on the island with good exercise and fresh air. From $580 per group.