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Pihea & Alaka'i Swamp Trail, Koke'e SP, Kauai

Combining two of Kauai's best hikes take us from dramatic coastal cliffs to an exotic boardwalked swamp trail.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 9 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  Kauai, the oldest and westernmost inhabited Hawaiian island has a terrain and climate like nowhere else. This hike combines some of... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Pu'u O Kila Lookout & Alt Trailhead

The large parking lot at Pu'u O Kila is mainly for the benefit of the motorists who come to check out the lookout over the Kalalau Valley. In the event that the main trailhead parking lot is full, it also serves as an alternative trailhead located just a mile away.

2. Trailhead & Pihea Trail

Our journey will take a trek along the incredibly wide and rugged coastal trail 4000ft above the ocean, atop the cliffs of the Kalalau Valley.

Enjoy the may overlooks and vistas, as you scramble along the rugged and sometimes slippery terrain.

3. [JCT] Pihea Vista

A short upward detour will take you to the Pihea Vista lookout, before heading towards the crossing with the Alakai trail.

4. [JCT] Alakai Crossing

The journey down into the Alaka'i Wilderness Preserve is made infinitely easier thanks to the well-built boardwalk trail which helps you bound along to your destination.

Don't get carried away and miss the crossroad junction with the Alakai Swamp Trail however - you'll be taking a left turn when you reach it, heading toward the Kilohana Lookout.

5. Entering the Swamp

Since you're hiking through the wettest place it should come as no real surprise when you find yourself hiking through a swamp, even though you are on top of a mountain, 4000ft from the ocean.

Leaving the forest and entering the swamp, you'll be pleased to note that the boardwalk trail continues and will take you all the way to your destination... More

6. Kilohana Overlook

The Alaka'i Trail abruptly ends at a cliff edge, and enjoy the views overlooking the Wainiha Pali and the distant Hanalaei.

Don't be dismayed if the weather obscured the great views - with a little patience and after a well-earned rest on the bench at the lookout, there's a good chance that the clouds will clear to reveal the spectacular views... More