This 5-mile Wai Koa Loop Trail located in Kilauea is suitable for hikers and bikers alike. While we give it an “Intermediate” rating, don’t fret, as the difficulty is due more to its length rather than any aggressive terrain or elevation gain.
Starting out through the Kilauea Woods, with soaring Albizias and Norfolk Island Pines, it’s a pleasant introduction to the amount of lush greenery that visitors will encounter along the trail. Continuing through the United States’ largest Mahogany Forest, with approximately 86,000 Honduras Mahogany trees, the trail comes to a clearing where the West Makaleha Mountains offer the first expansive views and put everything in perspective.
Moving along, hikers will pass community gardens, guava orchards, and a large hydroponic facility that supplies many local restaurants with greens. Passing Kalihiwai Lagoons, which once grew fresh water prawns and today holds tilapia, bass, and koi, the pinnacle stop on the journey will be the historic stone dam lookout and gardens.
Over 130 years old, this dam was constructed as a water source for sugar plantations of days gone by. Still providing irrigation to Wai Koa Plantation, this hidden treasure holds numerous pockets of peace and serenity and offers a phenomenal inland contrast to Kauai’s mostly coastal activities.
In Kilauea, look for Kauai Mini Golf at Anaina Hou Community Park on Kuhio Highway (Hwy 56). The trail starts and ends there.
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.