Staying Safe as you Explore the Garden Island
Kauai offers many great hikes from the highlands of Kokee to the remote coastal areas of Mahaulepu to the arduous Kalalau Trail on the world famous Na Pali coastline.
No matter where you go hiking on Kauai it is very important to always take precautions to stay safe in Kauai’s wilderness areas.
Kauai Hiking Safety Tips:
Always hike with a companion and stay on the main trail. Know your route well. It is very easy to get lost in Hawaii’s wilderness. Be aware that bushes and shrubs often mask steep drop-offs.
Sun protection is crucial! Wear a wide brim hat and use plenty of sunscreen. The rays of the sun are strong in Hawai‘i, and overexposure can cause sunburn, fatigue, dehydration, exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water or other liquids.
Do not drink water from streams unless you first treat it with water purification tablets to kill the leptospirosis bacteria common in Hawaiian rivers and streams.
Proper footwear is extremely important. When you are hiking on trails, wear sturdy shoes that are comfortable and fit well. Make sure the shoes grip well in mud because trails can be very slippery when wet, particularly after heavy rains.
Shoes with some ankle support can also be very helpful on rough and uneven trails, and there are often exposed roots and other hazards. Watch your step!
Use extreme caution on narrow trail areas, and never attempt to climb or cross steep areas. Lava rocks are notoriously brittle and crumbly—what feels solid can easily snap off and cause you to fall.
Be aware of areas where rocks may fall from overhead.
If you do get lost, stay put and wait for help. Always carry a well-charged cell phone in case you get lost or injured.
Do not hike near streams when there are potential flash floods. Small streams and rivers can quickly become raging torrents of water due to rain in the uplands.
Before hiking, check the weather conditions in the mountains as well as near the sea so you are aware of potential flash floods coming from upland areas.
Don’t dive into mountain pools or streams. Even if it looks deep and even if you know it is deep in some places, there may be a large boulder in the pool, or a shallow area. Diving can cause serious injury!
Wear reef shoes when walking over slippery rocks.
Don’t carry too heavy of a load. Heavy backpacks can cause overexertion.
Don’t swim in streams if you have open cuts as you may catch leptospirosis.
Summoning help and rescue services is extremely challenging in remote areas. Remember that you alone are responsible for your actions. Complete safety is critical when you are in Kauai’s wilderness areas. Plan well and follow all safety guidelines.
Remember – Safety is a Top Priority on any Kauai adventure!
Things To Bring On Kauai Hikes:
Water, Water Purification Tablets, Sun Protection, Sunscreen, Hat (preferably wide-brimmed), First Aid, Appropriate Footwear, Camping Gear and Permit if Camping. A well-charged cell phone can also prove helpful.
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