Why you should do it: Little known trail offers grand views of Waimea and Poomau Canyons, along with much greenery along the way.
Trail Length: 1.5 miles
Area: Waimea Canyon
The Poomau Canyon Ditch Trail is off the beaten path, and off the radar for many Kauai hikers. The trail gets far less mention than other trails on Kauai, but not because it has less to offer. At the trail end is a dramatic 270 degree view of Poomau Canyon along with several waterfalls.
If this trail were any easier to access, it would certainly be more popular. The trailhead is about 1.5 miles down a pothole-riddled dirt road (Mohihi Camp-10 Road). (The road begins from Kokee Road across from the Kokee Museum area.) This road is a little more problematic than the road to the nearby Canyon Trail.
The Canyon Trail road is best navigated by four-wheel-drive vehicles, but we’ve seen plenty of two-wheel-drive cars make that journey. However, this road is steeper, narrower and less maintained. If you come upon a vehicle on the road, either you or the other vehicle will most likely have to back up to find a place for the other vehicle to pass, and that will require more off road capabilities.
At about 1.5 miles on the road there is a pullout and parking area to the right (location at Google Maps). Park here, then head back up the road about 100 meters. The trail starts on the left (as you hike back up the road) and it is not clearly marked.
Poomau Canyon Trail start longitude and latitude.
(accurate to 20 meters)
Near the beginning of the trail is a small stream.
After the small stream, you will quickly gain elevation. Look back and you will see the parking area. The trail is named after Poomau Canyon and the Kokee Irrigation Ditch (photo below). This is the Kauaikinana Intake area of the Kokee Ditch Irrigation System. The canal was constructed from 1923 to 1926 to supply water for sugar cane production.
The foliage can be overgrown since the trail is not as widely used as other trails on the island. There are places where the trail is eroding so watch your footing carefully.
The trail has an abundance of ferns, mosses and other plants. Birds, mountain goats and the elusive black-tailed deer are in the area.
The Poomau Canyon Ditch Trail ends at a dramatic overlook, on a thin peninsula of ridge line. To the left are several waterfalls, including Moeloa Falls. It’s a nice spot for a picnic lunch!
Look closely to the right and you may see some mountain goats.
Taking photos of mountain goats.
On our recent visit we found Sportsman Deane (Hawaii’s best fishing, hunting and hiking guide) at the trailhead scouting for future hunting trips.