Kaua`i trails can be as dangerous as they are beautiful, especially for those without knowledge of island back country. Here are a few important tips for making your exploration safe.
Do not underestimate the amount of water your body needs while hiking in Kaua`i's tropical heat. Staying hydrated will prevent unnecessary accidents.
Stay protected from the sun
Overexposure to the strong island sunshine can burn your skin and cause fatigue and exhaustion. Stay protected from intense rays by wearing appropriate gear.
Wear appropriate shoes
Ill-fitting shoes or footwear unsuitable for hiking can cause a fall, which can be very dangerous when in remote locations. Make sure you are hiking in comfortable shoes that provide stability and comfort. See our Footwear guide for more info.
while you need to be prepared, do not pack more than you need. Added weight to an already strenuous hike can create exhaustion and overheating. Also, a pack that is too heavy can easily throw you off balance, which could be life-threatening on certain cliffside trails.
Watch for rocks
Kaua`i's terrain is crumbling. Land beneath your feet can be unstable. Watch your footing. Be aware that trees and rocks are not necessarily reliable strongholds and often will fall out of soft earth with only a little pressure. Wildlife traveling the land above trails can sometimes move loose rock. Stay alert.
Use caution at river crossings
Currents can be strong and easily pull you under. Flash flooding can occur at any time, even when it is not raining where you are. Pay particular attention while crossing streams during rainfall, as huge amounts of water can gush downstream without warning. Rocks can be very slippery.
Stay on the trail
There are a myriad of reasons for sticking to the trail. Besides the fact that it damages the endangered flora of the island, veering off the trail can endanger your life. Off-roading can expose you to a host of dangers and can lead to unexpected drop-offs (sometimes completely concealed by brush), scratchy underbrush, crumbling ground and dangerous situations. Hiking on Kaua`i is one instance where it is best to stick to the road most travelled - the designated trail.
Do not climb on cliffs
some of Kaua`i Explorer's highlighted trails lead to vistas atop steep cliffs. These vantages are marked by railings that indicate the safest point to take in the view. Do not go beyond these markers. Kaua`i's cliffs are slippery, crumbly, steep and unpredictable. They have taken lives.
Now you're in the know... are you ready to go?