Hiking the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai

Jason at the end of the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai

This is a round trip 6.1 mile (about 10 km) hike through the Koke’e State Park to the valley rim of Nualolo and Awa’awapuhi valleys. You start the hike at about 4,100 feet and descend down to about 2,500 feet, which means it’s all uphill on the way back. Most websites and reviews categorize this as an “intermediate” hike and tell you to allocate 3-5 hours, and whatever time you spend at the vista. After reading about the hike online and specifically on TripAdvisor, we were a little skeptical about it in terms of difficulty, but we decided to try it out and see. The outcome is that we enjoyed a unique hike through beautiful forests that led us to view some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever experienced. If you don’t feel like taking a boat or helicopter tour, hiking the Awa’awapuhi is a cheap way to experience the stunning Napili coast landscape. 

Me at the end of the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai
Me at the end of the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai

Here is some information to help you prepare and decide if you want to tackle this hike.

  • Difficulty: For seasoned hikers and those above average shape, this is an easy hike. For non-seasoned hikers and those who are below average shape, it’s an intermediate hike. While there are roots and it can be slippery, we managed to run half of it going down. While they say it should take 3-5 hours + the time you spend at the vista, we were done the entire thing in 2.5 hours, including a 30 minute rest at the vista. 
  • Trail: The trail can be narrow at some spots but is well traveled and easy to follow. While some find it boring to walk through the forest, we quite enjoyed it because it provided shade and we enjoyed being surrounded by green foliage and it’s a beautiful forest. We also encountered birds and local fruit that we’d never seen before.
  • Equipment: You can easily do this trail in running shoes, no flip flops or sandals though. While some recommend pants because of some branches, yes there are branches at some spots of the trail but you would be very warm if you wore pants and we didn’t end up with scratches. We were also fine with half a liter of water per person during the hike and had extra in the car after.
  • The Vista: The view from the railing is nice and it is not advisable to go beyond. If you are careful and don’t suffer from vertigo, you can consider going beyond to get a different view. That being said, walking across the narrow stone bridge to get a better view is not recommended because you could fall to your death. While my husband and others went across, I experienced intense vertigo and didn’t go across. 
  • Planning: We started the hike at 07:30 in order to be done early to hit the beach after. We only saw people, about 6 on the return portion and they were heading to the vista. It can rain a lot where the trail starts so we recommend you check the weather for Koke’e. While it said it was sunny and dry, it was raining lightly when we arrived and as we descended, it was sunny and dry.
  • Overall: Is this hike worth it? Absolutely not, I don’t recommend it…if only to keep the trail uncrowded so that I can enjoy it more.
Jason at the end of the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai
Jason at the end of the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai


View of the Napili Coast
View of the Napili Coast
View of the Napili Coast
About as far as I got to the edge

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT ATTEMPT WHAT YOU SEE DEPICTED IN THE PICTURES ON THIS PAGE. This website is for entertainment purposes only and does not serve as an official guide of any type. The information presented on Weleavetoday.com has not been vetted for accuracy, safety or legality. If you attempt any of the hikes, climbs, or other activities documented on Weleavetoday.com you are doing so at your own risk. Hiking is dangerous and accidents while hiking can be fatal. Weleavetoday.com and its members are not responsible for loss, damages, legal fees, medical fees, injury or death incurred as a result of your actions taken after visiting this website.

Related Posts:



Big Island:


6 thoughts on “Hiking the Awa’awapuhi Trail in the Koke’e State Park, Kauai

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: