About this Trail
The Okolehao Trail on the North Shore of Kauai offers scenic views surrounding Hanalei Bay. The red clay trail begins along the remains of an old dirt road used when okolehao (a Hawaiian liquor) was being distilled from the roots of ti plants. You can see ti and other native plants as the trail gains 1,235 feet up to a plateau and overlook. A bench has now been added here to rest and enjoy the sweeping views of Hanalei, Hanalei Bay, taro fields, Princeville, and the Kilauea Lighthouse. If you are content sitting here and enjoying the view... then this is as far as you need to go. If you want to hike father along Kaukaopua Ridge for another half mile you will enjoy subtle elevation loss and gain and more sweeping views including the mountains in the center of the island like Namolokama (4,420 feet). You will also begin to see the endemic Ohi'a tree with its bright red blossoms.
If on the other hand, you are an adrenalin junkie, and a hike is not a hike unless you return sweaty, muddy, bloody, and exhausted... then continue on at your own risk. Sharp vegetation begins to encroach on the trail ripping at skin and clothing, and at times the trail narrows to only a foot wide as it follows along a knife-edge ridge which drops straight down on both sides. There is a false sense of security along the ridge with fern growing out on either side, but this is just 'green air'. You will come to several ropes to help you navigate down slippery slopes, and then comes rope after rope to assist you straight up several very steep pitches to the twin peaks of Hihimanu (2,400 feet).
Watch a video at this addresshttp://directoryofkauai.net/blog/kauai-hike-okolehao-trail
Directions to Trailhead
Traveling north from Princeville, proceed about one mile to the bottom of the hill and turn left immediately after the one-lane bridge crossing the Hanalei River. This is Ohiki Road, which takes you through the taro fields. Drive 1/2 mile to the parking lot on the left, and the trailhead is across the street at the foot bridge with the Okolehao Trail sign.
Notes on Difficulty Rating
Trail Length: 2.25 mi.
Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult (or Strenuous)
Elevation: 1235 ft