Alakai Swamp Trail

Suitable for:
Active travellers, nature lovers, couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Hardly known and not much going on
Insider Tip
Time needed:
5 hours
Optimal arrival time:
08:30 o' clock
Suitable for:
Active travellers, nature lovers, couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Hardly known and not much going on
Insider Tip
Time needed:
5 hours
Optimal arrival time:
08:30 o' clock

Profile of the hike

Distance total:
12,57 Kilometer
Distance uphill
4,82 Kilometer
Distance downhill
4,80 Kilometer
Altitude meters uphill
414 Meter
Altitude meters downhill
- 414 Meter

Alakai Swamp Trail - Beschreibung

One of the most impressive hikes in all of Hawaii is definitely the Alakai Swamp Trail. With 12 km and 400 meters of altitude, it is easy to achieve. However, you should plan for enough time because the path is sometimes muddy along the slopes. It is located near the rainiest point on earth, Mount Waialeale. It rains 335 days a year here. So you have to be lucky to be able to walk the trail in the sun.

After a detour to the Kalalau Lookout, walk the Pihea Trail high above the island. The parking lot is at the end of Kokee Road, which leads from Waimea Canyon State Park into Kokee State Park. The trail, which is sometimes extremely slippery and muddy, leads you to the Alakai Swamp Trail at an elevation of about 1300 feet. The Alakai Swamp Trail leads through a huge moor. Wooden runways prevent the trail from sinking into the swampy ground.

Check at the Kokee Museum first if you can hike the Alakai Swamp Trail that day because it is sometimes too muddy due to rain. After that, drive to Kalalau Lookout, where you can park the car. And then: treat yourself to the spectacular view of the Kalalau Valley.

Tip: If the visibility is poor, it's worth waiting 15-30 minutes. The clouds often clear and reveal views of Kalalau Valley.

The path leads through wonderful small forests, always uphill and downhill, and sometimes there are large natural steps to overcome. Pay attention to the signs at forks in the road, as other paths cross from time to time. Of course, you can also make side trips, e.g. along the Pihea Trail if you have enough time and strength. Your destination is the Kilohana Lookout.

The further you hike, the more marshy the area becomes. At first, you walk over wooden crossings in the forest. Next to the path are puddles, small lakes and ponds - you are in the Alakai swamp, which seems far from our "real life" almost like a scene from a fantasy film. At the very end, there is a bench at Kilohana Lookout. Unfortunately, you usually can't see anything there except fog. On a clear day, the view is fantastic. You can see the green ridges of the mountains and over the entire North Shore to Hanalei.

What we say

This tour is certainly one of the most beautiful hikes in Hawaii. However, your clothes belong in the washing machine afterwards, that is how muddy the trail is. On the way are a lot of endemic plants to discover. Biologists are often here for research purposes. I walked it several times, the lonely nature experience and the special atmosphere of the swamp are unique.
Our checklist & tips:
  • Enough water (at least 2-3 litres)
  • Rain jacket and old clothes. It gets very muddy.
  • Sturdy footwear (preferably proper mountain boots with a solid sole)
  • Possibly hiking sticks

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Map and contact data

Puu O Kila Lookout, State Hwy, Hanapepe, HI 96716
Longitude: -159.63161238539323
Latitude: 22.147253570929145

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