KUILAU RIDGE TRAIL
No trail on Kaua‘i gives so much and asks for so little. This trail, averaging a total of 4. 5 miles ( 2. 25 miles each way) takes
you up 760 feet on a gently sloping stroll along the Kuilau Ridge. The hike overlooks the glorious Makaleha Mountains
to the north and provides breathtaking views of Kawaikini and Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale, the wettest place on earth, to the west.
Inexperienced hikers and small children should have little difficulty with this wide and well-maintained path, which is
surrounded by an abundance of native and non-native plants.
After a mile and a quarter climb, the trail emerges onto a wide-open grassy field. Sights that were hidden by trees and the
mountain ridgeline come into full view with splendor. Deep forested canyons gape in the foreground while steep mountains
rise toward the passing clouds. If it has been raining, waterfalls visibly cascade down the mountainsides, a vision that brings
new meaning to the word “green.”
For those packing a lunch, picnic tables and
rest areas are available for taking a break before
pressing on. Further down the Kuilau Trail proves
rewarding as hikers come to a wooden footbridge,
which crosses the Opaeka‘a Stream. Here, it
is like entering a garden-like world with plush
eucalyptuses and ferns in wild abundance. Just
ahead, take the left fork to reach the final destination
ahead—the beautiful view of Kapehua‘ala, the
highest peak of the Makaleha Mountains.
-By Boreas van Nouhuys
NATHAN SEBASI TAN