We were fresh off the plane after our first island hop, everything went smoothly, and in Lihue the sun was shining bright. Hopping in our rental car we decided to head to the south of the island for a relaxing easy hike to acquaint ourselves with the island of Kauai. It was already midday and the sun was hot. The Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail [Public lot at the end of Ainako Street, Koloa] was waiting. Step out onto Shipwreck Beach, where the hike beings.
A glittering beach filled with boogie boarders and body surfers. Hang left and find the trails by the trees and ascend up the slope of a small cliff.
When you get to the top you the stark contrast between jagged shoreline and turquoise waters will greet you.
Already slightly sweaty, the ocean breeze is heaven sent. Make sure to wear sunscreen, pack a hat, and bring lots of water on this exposed hike. Keep following the shore for as long as you’d like. The oddly eroded rocks and roots of the path require you to be vigilant in your steps, but don’t forget to stop and take in the scenery.
There are many interesting stops along the way. You may discover caves, petroglyphs, and an oddly placed chair depending on how far you walk.
Always on the look out for wildlife, keep your eyes on the ocean looking for honu (green sea turtles), humpback whales, and the Hawaiian monk seal which are known to frequent the shores. We saw plenty of interesting birds and crabs on our hike.
We turned back after about a mile because we wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon at a nearby beach. Of all the hikes we did in Kauai, this was definitely the most mild with minimal elevation gain, and I would recommend it to any skill level of hiker. Get out there and take in the astounding beauty of Hawaii on your trip to Kauai!