Also dubbed “Hanalei River Trail” and “Hihimanu Trail,” this ridgeline ascent behind Hanalei offers a one-of-a-kind ‘behind the curtains’ view of the valley and the ocean beyond. After a few hundred yards of mild forest meandering the Okolehao trail turns left and thus begins a breath-stealing (not to be confused with breath-taking) half-mile climb to the first vista, a clearing next to an electrical tower that gives a taste of what visual splendor awaits those who proceed.
For many, this initial climb and view may suffice. For those who wish to venture on, the hike tames down a bit, following the ridgeline and offering several other perches with which to absorb the magic that is Hanalei Valley.
For the truly adventurous, the trail continues on and turns into a rope-assisted climb (literally) of Hihimanu Ridge (Kauai’s “Twin Peaks”). This last section is arduous, can be dangerous, and should only be attempted by experienced hikers who don’t have a fear of heights. As well, if planning on doing the entire climb, it’d be wise to start early and bring plenty of water. The round trip hike should take around 4-5 hours if moving at a decent pace.
Coming down the hill from Princeville, cross the one-lane bridge to Hanalei and turn left to drive between the river and taro field. After 0.5 miles look for parking on the left. The trailhead is across the road.