Exploring Kauai's Mountains in Koke'e & Waimea Canyon State Parks
Though Kauai serves up an impressive display of picturesque, white sand beaches and coastal landscapes, Kauai’s inland is no less exquisite in its beauty and charm. Just as each side of the island is characterized by a distinct flavor and personality, Kauai’s mountainous interior has just the same effect.
The most accessible parts of Kauai’s center are found via Koke’e and Waimea Canyon State Parks, where the higher elevations, upwards of 4,000 feet above sea level, offer a crisp mountain air and fauna very different from that found at sea level.
We relish the opportunities to spend time up in these parks, which are comprised of the cliffs that drop into the Pacific and create our iconic Napali Coast on one side of the park and the majestic Waimea Canyon on the other.
Dozens of trails and dirt roads meander through Koke’e and the canyon and offer visitors an insane palate of hiking offerings. Trails like the Pihea and Honapu Ridge trails hug narrow ridgelines of the cliffs above the Napali creating valley and coastal views that require a helicopter to be rivaled. Other hikes on the canyon side offer a variety of waterfall options and journeys to surreal vistas embedded deep in the canyon.
In addition to the great hiking in Kokee, it’s an amazing place to spend a weekend camping or in one of the mountain cabins in the area. When you need an escape from the beach, Kokee is the perfect setting to curl up around a campfire in the cool night time temperatures and enjoy some of the best stargazing on the island.