M;AHA;’ULEP;U ¯ ¯ ¯
Nestled between a luxurious resort and renowned golf course, it may seem odd
to find a hiking trail, well known and well traveled by many adventure enthusiasts.
However the Mähä‘ulepü Trail near Po‘ipü is just that—a wild and scenic
stretch of coastline on Kaua‘i’s South Shore, encompassing sandy pathways and
ironwood trees. This hike is a switch from the lush green mountainsides to ocean
front views, sandy dunes and saltwater breezes that induce peace and serenity.
The trail spans from Shipwreck Beach to Mähä‘ulepü, climbing the Makawehi
Bluff. Here, hikers can tiptoe to the edge of sand dunes and marvel over the
aquamarine sea churning below. Locals have been known to cliff jump from these
ledges; however, we do not recommend trying this as it is extremely dangerous.
Mähä‘ulepü was once the landing point of an invasion led by Kalaunuiohua,
a Big Island ruler who attempted to conquer Kaua‘i in the14th century. A great
battle ensued and the invaders were defeated. While the strange rock formations
along this path may look like remnants of an ancient Hawaiian battle, keep in
mind that these are just products of nature’s handiwork—the wreckage of the
eternal battle between land and sea.
As hikers continue on the Mähä‘ulepü Trail, the destination will be Mähä‘ulepü
Beach, one of the last unspoiled treasures on the South Shore. Mähä‘ulepü is
consistently dry so on days when other parts of the island is pouring rain, this
may be an excellent choice for hikers looking for sunshine. The Mähä‘ulepü
Trail spans 4-miles roundtrip. It is mostly rocky with narrow, cliffside sections
that lead to open beaches. With appropriate footwear, this is a nice path for
casual hikers; even children can easily venture on the historical trail. The best
way to experience the Mähä‘ulepü Trail is to park at Shipwreck Beach next to the
Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa in Po‘ipü and walk down towards the cliffs.
(LEFT/OPPOSITE) NATHAN SEBASITAN