Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, Kauai
Truly a hiker’s oasis, Kauai seems to be filled with so many beautiful trails that if you were to try and venture on one a day every day, for a month, you would still not have tackled them all. The best part is no one trail is the same as the other so every hike is a new adventure. Vast terrains varied from lush jungles, to sweeping coasts, to richly colored canyons. It is truly an oasis for all the nature lovers and hikers out there.
Being that it is an exotic island location, you can’t not have beautiful beach scenes as a part of the experience. One of the most breathtaking hikes I experienced had to be the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail located in the southeastern side of the island. It is filled with sweeping coastlines on one side and rugged rock climbs on the other. But both eventually lead way to a flatly groomed golfing range before finishing with a mysterious rock cave. I read that during earlier hours of the day, there is a man who volunteers to give anyone interested a free guided tour inside the cave. I believe he’s on a schedule from 10am to 2pm.
My exploration of this trail took two attempts. The first time I had intended to start out early having known about the beaming heat in the afternoon. However I ran a little behind schedule, so by the time I reached the trail it was just around eleven and I was already starting to sweat bullets. After about fifteen minutes on the trail I gave up because the sun and hot sand were unbearable.
So the next attempt was later in the afternoon, just a few hours before the sun started to set. This turned out to be much better timing as the air had cooled and the setting sun was casting a lovely golden glow over the beach as I made my way along the trail. However, the one downside was having to make my way back to the parking lot in the dark. I had company so I was okay with taking the stroll back along the main road. Fortunately for us, someone was driving by on their way home and was nice enough to offer us a lift back to our car. Let’s for a moment forget about all the serial killer movies we’ve seen, okay?
The driver turned out to be an inn owner who has a bed and breakfast property nearby. She was on her way back from picking up keys that one of her clients had left after hiking the trail. In the car ride we exchanged stories about my duel with giant cockroaches at our rental apartment and her top rated B&B on TripAdvisor. This just enforces that Kauai definitely has some of the nicest people you could ever meet. For anyone interested I will list her place as well as directions and information links after the photo jump.
Ultimately this was yet another unforgettable experience on this amazing island and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits Kauai.
Camera used: Olympus OM-D EM5 w/ 12-50mm lens Dates taken: August 2015
Where to park: You can choose to start from any ends — from the cave making your way to the beach or from the beach making your way to the cave. As for myself I did the latter and found parking relatively easy at the nearby resort’s lot of Poipu Sands.
The difficulty level of the trail based on my experience is that it is a relatively easy walk. Besides the mentioned time of day to avoid heat exposure, the difficulty level is low to medium. There is a little bit of navigating through some rocks but nothing that requires climbing.
Since it was approaching evening time, be warned that by the time I reached the golfing range area there seemed to be a huge amount of gnats around. So much that just a walk through will most likely have you end up with them stuck to your clothing or sweaty skin. For anyone who doesn’t have a big affinity to these little buggers then you’ll be fine, but anyone else who just can’t stand all bugs in general then you might have a mini freak out.
In addition, where the trail lets off is also the location of a horse ranch that offers guided tours on horseback.