Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kuilau Crowd Pleaser


The Kuilau Ridge Trail above Kapa’a is just the ticket for vacation groups with varying interests. Everyone will put on a happy face. It works best as a family tropical ridge hike, ascending a wide trail under a leafy canopy gradually over 1.25 miles to a grassy picnic shelter with a view of the densely verdant downslopes of Mount Waialeale. Great, the less energetic people can kick back here.

But the kicker is the next half-mile on the trail which wiggles along a ferny ridge through a botanical garden to a stream and footbridge. Adventure hikers can continue on the Molape Trail to a view of Makaleha Ridge, and then get picked up at a different trailhead by the rest of the group. Any mountain bikers will also be happy here, as this is a popular ride that connects with lots of trails out of the Keahua Arboretum. (Anyone who doesn’t feel like hiking at all can take a restful sojourn at the arboretum.) As long as you are packing windbreakers, don’t let rain keep you from the Kuilau Ridge Trail, since the route is not steep and the greens are rich under cloudy skies. See page 84 of Kauai Trailblazer.