Four Useful Tips for Hiking in Kauai, by Rory Pedrick
A muddy creek after a flash flood along the trail in Kauai, photo by Brette Pedrick
A couple of months ago I went to Kauai mainly to chill but also to escape from the rainy Pacific NW, get a little sun, beach time, and hike. Although I only went on a couple of hikes, I did learn a few things, and if your planning on going to Kauai you might find some of these tips quite helpful especially if you are taking kids.
Flight 30 is a great choice for a day hike or a weekend out on the trail. Photo by John Pedrick
Tip 1: For any hikes, you go on, I would recommend wearing a swimsuit, sandals that have some traction and most importantly, bring your hiking poles. This one is probably one of the things I really messed up on. Instead of sandals I wore running shoes and got soaked by a smallish flash flood, and did not bring any poles, which made it a lot harder to do the really steep climbs in the slippery mud. So just remember to wear something you don't mind getting stained with red dirt (forever), quick-drying shorts, and some type of hearty sandal. So you don't end up like me sloshing around in the mud.
Tip 2: Pack light. Even though I did not go on any long-distance hikes, I was pretty beat by the end of every hike. Also, my gear was soaked due to the constant rain. So, if you want more time hiking and less time trying to dry your gear/pack take this shortcut. For day hikes that are in the 2 to 5-mile range, I think you can get away with not having much in your pack. You will definitely need to pack your raincoat, an energy bar or two, some water in there, and you probably don’t want to forget your camera (a nice muddy hiking pic looks pretty good in the Christmas card). Leave a towel and a clean tee in the car to change into when you get back to the trailhead, no need to put those in the pack. Also, If you’re interested in a good pack to bring, I would recommend the Flight 30. It’s light, water resistant, fits well, and looks good.
Even though it rained, our author was still able to get some views from the top, photo by John Pedrick
Tip 3: Be prepared for unpredictable weather and terrain. For one thing, I felt like every hike I went on it was either too cloudy which blocked the view or shortly after it started to rain and started a small but powerful flash flood. Most of the best trails are really steep, slippery, super muddy, and not cleared of fallen trees. Also, when I got back to the trailhead some other hikers pulled up in their flip flops and thought they would start up the trail. Definitely not a good idea.
Tip 4: Go early. I’m not sure if this is always the case, but it seemed to me like at this time of year (February), the days would start out sunny and then turn to rain a little later. Plus, if you head out to the trails nice and early you will beat the rest of the slow crowd to the great view. Also, a nice day in Kauai with no rain (especially up north) is kind of hard to come by, so take advantage of this tip. So, if you’re going any time soon, remember these four tips and they should help you enjoy your time on the island a bit more! Happy trails.