Short but Steep Hike Leads to Panoramic Hanalei Overlook
The hike along the Okolehao Trail begins with a crossing over a small footbridge near the famed Hanalei taro patches. Soon you are heading up a steep hill and within about 20 to 30 minutes you will find yourself at a lookout point enjoying scenic views of Hanalei Bay.
From here the trail continues on less steeply along the Hihimanu ridge until reaching the top at 1,232 feet above sea level and 2.3 miles from the trailhead.
From the top of the trail enjoy more picturesque views of Hanalei and the north shore including the meandering Hanalei River as it winds its way down from the island’s summit at Mt. Waialeale. On the other side of the ridge is the huge amphitheater valley of Waiʻoli.
The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge maintains the lower portion of the Okolehau Trail while the upper part is managed by the Sierra Club Kauai Chapter. The steep portions of the trail can be quite slippery if it has been raining so this hike is best during dry weather.
A variety of trees can be seen along the trail including the native hala (pandanus) and koa, and also eucalyptus, java plum and kukui trees as well as wild orchids. Okolehau Trail gets its name from the liquor once distilled from the roots of ti plants, and you can also see plenty of these plants along the trail.
To reach Okolehau Trail follow Ohiki Road which is begins on the north side of the Hanalei Bridge. Follow the road past the taro patches and past a few buildings (including the historic Haraguchi Rice Mill, tours by appointment only) and then look for the small parking area on your left.
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