At the very end of your trek on the moderately difficult Alakai Swamp Trail you will find one of the most jaw-dropping vistas you will ever see – the Kilohana Lookout. Words, nor the photos below, can adequately portray the almost unbelievable scene that opens up like a window at the end of the trail. This window, seemingly “on top of the world,” offers breathtaking views of the beautiful Wainiha Valley and Kauai’s North Shore.
On a clear day you can see all the way to Wainiha, Hanalei Bay and the Kilauea Lighthouse from the lookout! Numerous waterfalls can usually be seen on the opposite cliffs of the Wainiha Valley. Be careful, the lookout sits on a perch with a drop of several thousand feet almost straight down.
A crude wood platform and bench provide a nice viewing spot as well as the best place you will ever visit for a picnic lunch. On our last visit (photos below) we were somewhat lucky that the clouds were intermittent (clouds often obscure the entire view). We could see Wainiha Valley but not Hanalei Bay. The passing clouds made the view even more dramatic on our visit.
In addition to the views, this is also a popular spot for bird watching. If you’re lucky, you may see or hear species of birds not usually found on other parts of Kauai.
A visit to the Kilohana Lookout requires a hike on the Pihea Trail and the Alakai Swamp Trail which is overall approximately a seven-and-a-half to eight-mile round trip. The hike can be relatively easy or exceedingly arduous depending on trail conditions. If wet and muddy, expect a much more difficult time, especially near where the Pihea Trail ends and the Alakai Swamp Trail begins. Much of the Alakai Swamp Trail portion is on boardwalks.