The scenic Pihea Trail at Kokee State Park begins at the Puu o Kila Lookout and provides numerous views of the Kalalau Valley. For the most part, the trail follows the top rim of the Kalalau Valley. Various breaks in the vegetation provide additional views of the valley as you hike along the trail.
For many, the Pihea Trail is a spur-of-the-moment mini-hike that lures visitors from the lookout. A fair amount of visitors to the lookout take a stroll at least part-way down the trail.
The trail is wide and easy at first, with a wide expanse of Kauai’s famous red dirt (red mud if it has rained). This can be a messy trail if wet, so use caution, especially near the rim.
The latter part of the trail becomes steeper and some moderate climbing is necessary, earning this part of the trail an Intermediate rating. At the end of the trail, you can take a left for more views of the valley or proceed on the Alakai Swamp Trail.
A sign at the Puu o Kila Lookout at the start of the Pihea Trail reads:
ONE OF THE WETTEST
SPOTS ON EARTH
The reason the Pihea Trail is wide like a road is that it was once intended to be a road that connected Kokee with Kauai’s North Shore. If this 1950s project had been successful, there would have been a road around almost the entire perimeter of Kauai.
However, the proposed route led through the nearby Alakai Swamp (the world’s highest swamp) located on the western slope of Mt. Waialeale (one of the wettest spots on Earth). The swamp mired both workers and machinery, and the project was abandoned.
Today, the Pihea Trail and the Alakai Swamp Trail follow the general path of the proposed road.
Quick Facts About Pihea Trail
Name: Pihea Trail
Why you should do it: Amazing views of the Kalalau Valley
Area: Kokee State Park
Trail Length: 2.1 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Easy to Intermediate
What To Bring To The Hike
- Rain gear (as needed)
- Appropriate footwear
Pihea Trail Hike Photo Guide
The trail also has nice interior views of Kauai.
Amazing views of Kalalau Valley can be found on the Pihea Trail.