The day begins with a walk on the beach where the Waimea River Canyon meets the Pacific Ocean on the island of Kauai in the State of Hawaii. It ends with a hike at the top Waimea River Canyon where it meets with the Na Pali Coast.
The beach walk is to the Small Boat Harbor at Kekaha. The Waimea beach is comprised of black sand, laced with red volcanic sprinkles. It rarely receives the rave reviews as those of the golden sand at Polihale or the Lithified Cliff’s at Poipu – except for its exceptional sunrise and sunset. However, if you live on Kauai and love to walk or run on the beach – there is nothing superior to this four mile trip to and from Kikiaola.
This trip to the Na Pali Coast is along the Honopu Ridgeline Trail. There are few hikes like this one. Based on the willingness to traverse a steep ridgeline, the out and back route is 3-5 miles in length. It encompasses up to 2,200 vertical feet of gain and loss. The trail’s surrounding environment is highly varied. It includes dense forest, thick and colorful vegetation, and exposed knifelike cliffs. The views of the Na Pali Coast begin at about 1.5 miles out from the trailhead. Most hikers turn around at this juncture. The most compelling views are at 2.25 miles out on the trail.
The Honopu Trail is no longer maintained by the State of Hawaii. The State believes the trail is too difficult and too hard to manage after Hurricane Iniki. Therefore the Honopu Trail is not an official trail with any kind of signs or mileage markings. The Trailhead is 17.25 miles up the canyon road (550) from the town of Waimea. There is no trailhead sign. There is a pull-out and limited space for parking. It is located on a curve in the road one-quarter mile past the Awa’awapuhi Trailhead.