Kukui Trail

KUKUI TRAIL: Difficult

The Kukui Trail is a scenic trail down the west side of Waimea Canyon. It makes a 2000 ft. elevation drop to the canyon floor ending at the Wiliwili Camp site administered by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife.


The trail is used by hunters and horses and can be loose. As you follow the Kukui Trail into Waimea Canyon, along the first mile you will be treated to two amazing opportunities for photos, each with a bench to rest your feet. Across the canyon you will be able to see sweeping views of several waterfalls. Waialae Falls is the dominant waterfall that cascades to the valley floor.


Don’t let the 5 miles fool you, steep ascend can be exhausting along with the sunny and hot conditions. Keep hydrated and don’t wander off the trail, the forested area can become disorienting. If you have someone to drop you off you can follow the Waimea River back to town and the ocean. Bring an ample amount of water, sunscreen and bug spray. Wild goats are frequently visible along the canyon ridges.

 The Kukui Trail starts along Waimea Canyon Drive, about 0.75 miles beyond the 8 Mile Marker. You will find this trail at the beginning of the Iliau Nature Loop Trail.

To view more, please visit our Kauai Hiking Guide.
Important Information regarding safety


  • Always tell someone where you are hiking (name and location of trail) and when you plan to return.
  • Bring water and stay hydrated.  Do not drink from the waterfalls and streams.  Kauai has been known to have seriously harmful bacteria in its fresh water.
  • Bring snacks as its always a good idea to provide your body enough calories to support the physical activity you are engages in.
  • Its important to know that cuts in tropical climates should be closely monitored.  Do not expose open wounds or cuts to the river.
  • Comfortable footwear with good tread that can stay strapped to your feet is a must.  Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting stained with the Kauai red dirt.
  • Dress in layers so you can easily remove a layer when you get hot.  And add one back on when it cools of again. Because we are close to the equator the trails heat up quickly.  However, conditions cool just as fast; winds picking up speed and a passing showers causes wind chill factor.