Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kauai's tucked away Anahola Beach

From the pages of the Kauai Trailblazer adventure guidebook, trailhead 24:
Hike, Snorkel, Surf

What’s Best: Stop in for a swim on the locals’ side of the bay, taking in views of the Anahola Mountains in afternoon sun. Parking: Take Hwy. 56 past Kealia. Turn makai on Anahola Rd., past mm13. You’ll see a right-turn lane at a guardrail and a right-arrow sign. Drive .75-mi. to white-rock sign and palms noting the beach park. Veer left, and continue to the end of road.

Hike: Anahola Beach Park to: Anahola Stream (1.25 mi.) or Pahakuloa Point (2.5-mi., 225 ft.)

Anahola Beach Park is the home beach for the Hawaiian community of Anahola. To Anahola Stream, go left on the beach, with its beautiful views of the Anahola Mountains, seen through a healthy grove of coco palms. You’ll pass the camping area long before reaching the wide mouth of the stream.

For Pahkuloa Point, take the dirt road just beyond beach parking, past picnic tables through ironwoods. On a gradual rise amid trees, the road rounds Kahala Point and then breaks open to grassy slopes. Avoid spur roads left and, about .5-mile from the trailhead, and you will reach rock-and-sand Lae Lipoa Beach, which you can walk instead of the road. At the end of this beach, follow the road as it ascends inland, passes another small rocky beach, and reaches the point. From here, you’ll see across a cliffy cove to where fishermen can drive in from Kealia.

Snorkel: The waters off Anahola Beach Park are shallow and the water clarity is normally above average. But you’ll have decent snorkeling in this relatively safe swimming area. The beach has sandy entry points and a good swimming lane that extends toward the river. Be Aware: Under high surf conditions, currents can be a problem.

Surf: The reefy right-break off Kahala Point toward the beach park is sometimes called Unreals. The real draw here, for body boarders mainly, is Pillars, about halfway between the beach park and the stream. To drive there coming from the highway, turn left on Poha Road and go .25-mile to the beach. You’ll see the abandoned pillars of a pineapple pier offshore. Be Aware: Pillars can have a nasty break onto a shallow sand bar." Kauai Trailblazer can also be ordered on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com