Why you should do it: Easy nature walk among towering trees leads to the beautiful Kilauea Stone Dam.
Area: North Shore
Trail Length: 3.50 miles (1.75 miles each way)
Location at Google Maps
The Wai Kao Loop Trail, at the Anaina Hou Community Park in Kilauea, Kauai, is an easy nature walk set amidst rows of towering trees and mountain views. The wide, flat trail leads from the Kauai North Shore Dog Park across the Wai Koa Plantation to the beautiful Kilauea Stone Dam. A section of the trail runs alongside the largest mahogany forest in the United States.
Though the stone dam is the trail’s star attraction, you do not have to walk all the way to the dam to enjoy the trail. The trail itself has much to offer in regards to beauty, peace and relaxation. Some people use a portion of the trail for their daily walk. We’ve seen schoolchildren use the area as an outdoor classroom and families with toddlers out for a short stroll. The trail is also a nice place for a picnic lunch.
Until recently, the trail was an actual loop of 5-plus miles. Currently, it is an out-and-back trail of approximately 3.5 miles total with the dam at the turnaround point. Walking at a decent pace, it takes about 30 minutes to walk each way. If 30 minutes is spent at the dam, the total hike could take anywhere from about an hour-and-a-half to two hours.
Access to the trail is now at the Kauai North Shore Dog Park on Kahiliholo Road, around the corner from Anaina Hou Community Park. The trail access at the community center is currently closed, a situation that is becoming more permanent by the day.
Wai Koa Loop Trail Tips
- No waiver or reservations required.
- Parking at the dog park is free.
- The easy trail is suitable for all ages and skill levels.
- There are no restrooms on the trail including at the dog park and stone dam.
- The trail to the dam from the dog park is clearly marked and the path is generally straight.
- There is some mud along the way, but nothing to really worry about. (You can easily go around particularly muddy spots.) Nevertheless, wear footwear that you don’t mind getting muddy.
- Bring a hat and sun protection. The trail is mostly shaded but there are some sunny sections.
- Have rain gear handy. Rain showers on Kauai’s North Shore are frequent.
- Bug spray is recommended, especially during the early morning and late evening.
- Keep dogs on a leash to protect endangered birds.
- If you’re lucky, you might see butterflies and even some horses along the way.
- Do not venture off the trail.
- Do not pick fruit or plants on the trail.
- Leave the trail better than you found it.
Wai Koa Loop Trail Map
This is the map of the Wai Koa Loop Trail that is displayed at the Anaina Hou Community Center. A sign on the map states the trail is closed but that is not the case. The trail access is closed at the community center but not at the dog park. From D (Dog Park) you will head towards J (Junction), then S (Stone Dam). M (Mountain View trail) and C (Common Ground) were closed on our last visit in January 2023. A waiver is not needed for the trail. Just go to the dog park and start walking. The dog park is about a half mile down Kahiliholo Road (from Kuhio Hwy) on the left.
Wai Koa Loop Trail Photos
PHOTO: Park at the Kauai North Shore Dog Park parking lot.
PHOTO: The Kauai North Shore Dog Park
PHOTO: Rows of mahogany trees can be found along this section of the Wai Koa Loop Trail.
PHOTO: Kilauea Stone Dam
See our Kilauea Stone Dam page for more information about the dam.