Pihea Trail (Easy hike on Kauai with great payoff!)
Want to take in views of the famous Napali Coast but not have an insanely difficult hike? Let’s be honest, most of the Napali hikes are intense!
If you want an easy one with the high payoff of exquisite Napali views, then this is your hike!
The Pihea Vista Trail gives you these views while being a whole lot safer than most of the others (full disclosure, there are still some pretty steep ledges).
Even if you don’t want to go the whole 1.6 miles down to enjoy the views. They are off to your left basically the entire time!
- Distance – 2.3 miles out and back
- Duration – 1 hour
- Difficulty – Easy
- Elevation gain – Down about 500 ft then you turn around and come straight back up it
- Cost – $10 to park in Kokee State Park and $5 per person entrance to the park (all hikes and lookouts included)
- Permits or Reservations: None needed
- Famous For – the easiest trail to get views of the Napali Coast
- What to Bring – Hiking boots, hat, sunscreen, water
Pihea Trail Location
The Pihea Vista trail is at the top of Kokee State Park in Kauai. It begins at the Pu’u O Kila Lookout.
It is on the exact opposite side of the island as the main airport, and the drive between the two takes about an hour and a half.
The only time this location is a bit of a pain is if you are staying in the Princeville resort area. To access, you would have to drive all the way around the island the long way, which would likely take you about 2 and ½ hours.
There are no restrooms at the trailhead (Pu’u O Kila lookout). If you do need a restroom, you can go back down the road a bit to the Kalalau Lookout.
There is a paved lot with kiosks where you are supposed to pay your parking and your park entrance fee. A lot of people just come for the lookout and leave, so even if the lot is full you likely will not have to wait for long for a spot to open up.
What to Expect
Unlike a lot of Hawaii trails, this one is super wide. Seriously, you could park a bus sideways across lots of it. If you’ve hiked a lot of Hawaii trails then you know that this is really foreign.
Easy, but Some Steps Could Get Dicey
Even though the trail is generally pretty wide there are some spots that have some tricky steps, and if it has just rained there are spots that can be a bit muddy.
Hike Along a Cliff Line
Almost the entire hike is along the top of a cliff. If you look out to your left you are staring down into a valley and along the Napali Coast. The views are beautiful almost the entire way.
Even if you don’t want to go the entire way you don’t have to. The payoffs are almost immediate and basically continuous for the entire hike.
Pihea to Alakai Swamp Trail
For those that are particularly enterprising, they can hike much further.
If you want to make a full day of it you can continue on this trail for 7.8 miles and make it all the way to the Alakai Swamp Trail.
A Hawaiian swamp is pretty cool, and if you do make it all the way there you get to enjoy the experience by taking the hike along a boardwalk through the swamp as well.
The difference between this hike and the swamp you might expect in Florida is that there aren’t going to be any alligators!
WHAT TO PACK FOR KAUAI
- Dresses – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out! Warning – they both sell out really quick.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
Planning a trip to Kauai? Check out all our Kauai blog posts below.
My husband and I have been to Kauai many times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Kauai travel guides to help you plan your trip.
- TUNNELS BEACH IN KAUAI (amazing snorkeling, swimming, seals) – one of my personal favorite beaches own the entire island!
- SHIPWRECK BEACH ON KAUAI – Amazing cliff jumping beach
- MOLOA’A BEACH ON KAUAI – Insanely underrated. Giligans Island was filmed here. This beach was another one of my favorites. Practically empty.
- Anini Beach – (Snorkeling, fishing, swimming) Great for basically everything.
- Lumaha’i Beach Kauai – What you need to know before going
- Secret Beach Kauai! (aka Kauapea beach) – MUST see beach!
- KE’E BEACH ON KAUAI – read snorkeling, swimming, but you have to make reservation in advance – it was a nightmare.
- QUEEN’S BATH KAUAI: COMPLETE GUIDE – Another must visit!
- Hideaway’s Beach – Amazing snorkeling on the North Shore.
- Haena Beach – We saw a Monk Seal on this beach!
- Gillin’s Beach – Fairly secluded beach where you can ride horses!
- Donkey Beach – Underrated – practically deserted beach
- Hanalei Beach – Gorgeous beach, perfect for sunsets.
- Kalapaki Beach in Kauai – Perfect beach for families and swimming
- Salt Pond Beach Park – Amazing beach for kids and families (You can camp here as well)
- Black Pot Beach
Kauai Hiking Guides
- KALEPA RIDGE TRAIL – BEST HIKE IN HAWAII…SERIOUSLY. Trust me, don’t leave this one off your list! It’s GORGEOUS!
- WAILUA FALLS HIKE ON KAUAI – (AMAZING WATERFALL HIKE!)
- MAKALEHA TRAIL – Amazing trail that is extremely muddy. 100% worth it!
- CANYON TRAIL TO WAIPO’O FALLS
- Pihea Trail – Easy hike on Kauai with Na’pali Coast Views!
- Makauwahi Cave Trail – Kauai Hidden gem
Read about all the hikes we have done in Kauai here.
Read all other posts on Kauai here.