My boyfriend and I have been exploring Kauai’s stunning trails for years – so much so that we’ve nearly trekked them all. We’ve experienced it all: beautiful landscapes flush with greenery, exotic species of tropical plants, huge shady trees, petroglyphs, and rock carvings along boulders.
Hiking can be a strenuous activity and even dangerous depending on the trail – but it doesn’t mean missing out on the incredible scenery!
Luckily, Kauai offers great easy trails suitable for all ages and levels of athleticism.
I have compiled our list of favorite easy hikes with some of the most rewarding scenery on Kauai – ready to get started? With these trails in mind, you’ll find plenty to explore without worrying about exhaustion or danger.
Get ready to hike the most rewarding easy hikes on Kauai!
Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls
While driving around Waimea Canyon in Kauai, you’ll see a dramatic 800-ft waterfall cascading down the valley – that’s Waipo’o Falls. These are one of Kauai’s largest and most breathtaking falls, and the trail leading to them is no less stunning.
If you want to experience the falls up close, hike the scenic Canyon trail leading to them, lined with shady trees from the Koke’e rainforest, tropical birds flying above, and the occasional wild goat crossing your path.
The Waipo’o Falls has stunning natural beauty, and the easy trek will take forty-five minutes to an hour. You’ll encounter some roots and slippery spots along the way and walk beside the stream that eventually flows into the falls.
However, you won’t actually reach the falls, as their base is deep in the valley, but instead, you get to view them from two lookout points which give stunning views of the Canyon.
We love hiking this trail and seeing the gorgeous falls afterward; definitely one of the easy hikes on Kauai.
- Wear sturdy hiking shoes on the trail to avoid slipping.
- You can park your cars at the Koke’e State Park’s lot, where the hike starts.
- The hike is less than four miles both ways.
Ho’opi’i Falls Trail
Many parts of Kauai have been featured in Hollywood movies, and Ho’opi’i Falls is one of them. These gorgeous falls were featured in the Jurassic Park films and have an easy, flat trail leading to them (imagine if they’d chosen a steep hike for dragging so much film equipment, yikes!)
These falls have two drops side by side, and a fairly simple trail leads to both. You’ll trek around twenty minutes to reach the first falls, an excellent spot for cliff jumping. The second falls were the filming site for the Jurassic Park movie and had a fun rope swing that drops into a lagoon.
Even though the hike takes only twenty minutes, it’s on a flat river bed which gets slippery when water flows through it, so wear good hiking shoes. In addition, the lagoons at the base of Ho’opi’i falls are deep and have rocks underneath, so be careful about your landing.
We love taking the hike to these falls as it’s cool from the shade and one of the easy hikes on Kauai.
- The trail is 2.4 miles long and takes a two-hour round trip.
- There’s no parking space, so you just park on the side of the road near the entrance.
- The trail is good for taking children, as many families trek it.
Wailua Falls Hike
Considered Kauai’s most beautiful falls, Wailua Falls offers incredible views by trekking down to them and from a lookout point above. The trail is fairly simple, with few muddy paths, tree roots, and rocks on a steep slope with some rope lines, all easily traversed.
However, this hike gets slippery during the winter, and rainy seasons, so a fenced gate was put up to close off the trail’s entrance. But you can trek safely during dry seasons by going over the fence and taking a short hike to the falls.
Once down the trail, you’ll witness 173 ft tall falls, splitting into two and cascading into crystal clear pools. The pools are great for swimming, and there are plenty of rocks to climb safely in and out.
In case you don’t want to take the trek, the falls are visible from the lookout point in a parking lot, but there’s limited space to park and view them.
We love the Wailua Falls and always come to Kauai during the summer to trek down to them, as they’re one of the easiest hikes on Kauai.
- If you arrive early, you can see a rainbow shining through the falls’ mist.
- There are locals selling beautiful artwork and homemade bread in the parking lot.
- It takes twenty minutes to trek down and even less time on the way back.
Mahaulepu Heritage Trail
Starting at Shipwreck Beach in Poipu, the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail is a scenic hike up to the Makauwahi caves, with gorgeous views of the coast on the way. Most people don’t even consider it a hike for the straightforward path, but the trail is too beautiful to miss out on.
You’ll start at Shipwreck Beach and climb the ancient dunes, hardened into limestone cliffs over the years. From there, keep going up the trail with views of the coast to your side, and you’ll reach the first ledge that’s a famous cliff diving point.
Since the hike is 2 miles long, you don’t have to go the whole way up unless viewing the caves seems appealing. The trail gives gorgeous views of the beach and surfers daring the waves, so you can enjoy the view and climb down afterward for an easier hike.
We always enjoy hiking the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail and recommend it to everyone as it’s one of the easiest hikes on Kauai.
- The limestone cliffs have fossils and petroglyphs engraved in them.
- If you make it up the caves, leave a small donation that goes towards maintaining them.
- There’s a huge sinkhole inside the caves that’s worth seeing.
Sleeping Giant Hike
Once in the town of Kapaa, you’ll see the Sleeping Giant from around the area since it looks like a giant bent over and fell asleep in the town’s center. The hike leading to the top, known as Nounou Mountain, is mostly steep inclines that are pretty easy to trek if you’re well-equipped.
The trail starts in a lush pine forest with tall trees on either side that gives ample shade. From there, the hike is straight, with the odd incline on the way. You’ll be surprised to see several older people taking this hike since the lush greenery and gorgeous views from the top attract people of all ages.
Once you make it to the Giant’s Forehead (the top), there’s a cozy rest area with tables and chairs to get a quick rest. The views from the top are breathtaking, looking out onto the whole town, Kauai’s classic dense forestry, and the coast further away.
You won’t want to miss this hike since it’s not every day you get to travel up a giant and get terrific views.
- The hike is 1.8 miles and takes two hours both ways.
- Doing the hike is only recommended during dry, summer months when the trail isn’t slippery from rain.
- Bring hiking poles to go over the steep parts easily, and they make the way down a piece of cake.
Kuilau Ridge Trail
Enjoy views of Kauai’s most beautiful valley, Wailua Valley, by hiking up the Kuilau Ridge Trail and taking in panoramic views of the valley, Mount Waialeale, and the Makaleha Mountain Range. The hike starts from the Keahua Arboretum and is a simple two-mile round trip.
The trail zig-zags along the ridge for the whole hike and has lots of muddy spots, occasional roots, and fallen branches. In addition, the trail is lined with thick shady trees and lots of tropical plants growing on either side of the path.
Before the trail ends, there’s an open area with picnic tables and chairs, perfect for taking a break and enjoying a packed meal. However, don’t stop here because the real views are a short way ahead, from nearly a half-mile hike that opens into a balcony-like setting.
Enjoy taking in the gorgeous valley from this lookout point, and take some stunning pictures to celebrate your hike.
My boyfriend considers this the best hike on Kauai, and I agree that the trail makes it one of the easy hikes on Kauai.
- This hike is kid-friendly, with no drops and lots of open space.
- You’ll also pass a small waterfall on your way up.
- The hike is a four-mile round trip.
Kalalau Trail Hike
No trip to Kauai is complete without seeing the breathtaking Na Pali Coast that stretches through the island. The Kalalau Trail gives terrific views of the coast the whole way up. However, the Kalalau Trail is a 22-mile round trip (and not easy) which you don’t have to complete to enjoy the views.
Instead, hike the first two miles of this trail, starting at Ke’e Beach and going up towards Hanakapiai Beach, which is fairly easy. Along the way, you’ll see the gorgeous Na Pali coastline, bright blue waters below, incredible cliffs, and, if it’s the right time of year – whales jumping off the shore!
End your hike at Hanakapiai Beach, where you can lounge in the soft sands or dip in the water to cool down.
We love taking the short version of the Kalalau Trail, which packs lovely views in a short, easy hike.
- If you want to do the full hike, there are permits needed.
- The trail goes 500 ft up from the side of the mountain.
- Hanakapiai Beach isn’t safe for swimming during the winter and rainy months.
What is the best hiking trail in Kauai?
Some of the best hiking trails in Kauai are the Kalalau Trail, the Kuilau Ridge Trail, the Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls, and the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail for their beautiful views and accessible trails.
Is hiking safe in Kauai?
Hiking is pretty safe in Kauai, with different trails offering multiple difficulty levels. However, in case of bad weather conditions, trails with slippery and steep inclines are closed to protect people from slips and falls.
What are the North Shore hikes in Kauai?
Some great hikes on Kauai’s North Shore are the Hanakapiai Falls Trail, Kalalau Trail, Okolehao Trail, Hihimanu Ridge Hike, and Powerline Trail offer varying levels of difficulty.
Is hiking in Kauai free?
Yes. All the trails in Kauai are free for the public to hike. However, for some hikes like the Kalalau Trail, you’ll need to get permits to hike and travel on a shuttle to the area.
What are some kid friendly hikes in Kauai?
Some easy hikes for families with children are the Ho’opi’i Falls Trail and the Kuilau Ridge Trail, as they’re easy and not too many inclines, plus there’s a short way to the top.
Winding Up: The Best Easy Hikes on Kauai
Kauai’s expansive lands are filled with gorgeous scenery, valleys dense with vegetation, and plenty of trails leading to them. You can find hikes for every fitness and age level here, but we recommend taking the easy hikes on Kauai since they’re just as rewarding as the difficult ones.
But always make sure to check weather conditions before setting out on a hike, wear necessary gear like good hiking shoes, and bring poles.
Want to see a stunning waterfall at the end of your hike? Take the Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls, the Ho’opi’i Falls Trail, and the Wailua Falls Trail.
Need to see Hawaii’s limestone caves on your hike? Take the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail to the Makauwahi Caves.
Want views of the Na Pali Coast on your hike? Hike the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail.
The easy hikes on Kauai are perfect for everyone!
Last Updated on February 12, 2023 by Brigitte