The trek down the western slope of Kauai’s five million year old shield volcano provides an unforgettable journey through a mature native forest to the very top of Na Pali for some of the most spectacular views the island has to offer.
This rather lengthy, strenuous hike combines the Nualolo, Awaawapuhi and Loop trails, varying in length from an out-and-back nine mile option to a loop hike of 12 miles. Elevation drop and gain is 1,500-1,700 feet. The Uplands Volcano Mountain Forest Trek traverses the near native uplands of Kauai where early Hawaiians gathered plants for lei making, building materials and medicinal purposes. It’s a trip through an evolved, mature, native cloud forest, across dry scrubland, and beneath mixed wet-dry forest canopies. Native Hawaiian forest birds, extremely endangered, are commonly encountered. This is the great western slope of Kauai, a remnant of the 5-million-year-old shield volcano that once stood nearly 8,000 to 9,000 feet above the sea, but now measures just over 5,000 feet. At the very end of the Nualolo Trail, the very top of Na Pali, you are rewarded with a view down much of the length of the island’s dramatic 4,000 ft high sea cliffs, sculpted over millions of years by the North Pacific’s powerful winter waves.
For this full-day excursion, our van leaves Poipu Beach Park at 7:30-8:00am and returns to Poipu by 6:00pm. The hike is demanding owing mainly to its length, elevation loss and gain and commonly wet, muddy trail conditions. Sturdy hiking shoes are strongly recommended, along with sun protection (hat, lotion, sunglasses). For the experienced hiker, this is an incredible, unforgettable experience. We provide bottled water in addition to a delicious deli-style lunch, with fresh fruit and snacks. Day packs are provided, if needed, to carry your lunch, water and personal items. Cameras are pretty much a must!