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Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

Chicago, Illinois
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Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

My wife and I want to do multi-day backpacking this January in Kauai (or somewhere else in Hawaii). We are in decent physical shape and are not afraid of heights, but we are not brave/adventurous enough to do something like the kalalau trail. I've been searching the internet for a while and can't seem to find a hike with the following qualities:

1. Multi-day backpacking hike (or at the least overnight).

2. Beautiful terrain.

3. Not too scary in terms of drop-offs and poorly maintained trails.

Any help is much appreciated.

San Diego...
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280 posts
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1. Re: Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

Hawaii in general is pretty light on multi-day backpacking. The islands are just too small and too crowded, and really the state has not done the best job in laying out camping areas and trails for backpackers. That said, there is at least one great trail that meets most of your requirements -- the Haleakala cabin route through the lava fields on Maui. It is really spectacular. I have a trip report with photos at this link:

http://poipumakai.net/haleakala.html

On Kauai the Kalalau Trail is really the only overnighter, however it sounds like that is not what you want as it can be scary I believe. I have a trip report for that one at the same site.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

Thanks so much for your response. The Haleakala route looks beautiful. During January do you know if the weather is nice on that route?

Wailua
Destination Expert
for Kauai
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3. Re: Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

Sounds like the OP is not scared of the Kalalau trail, just doesn't have the 3-4 days it takes to do it justice (and also requires 22 miles of hard hiking round-trip). There are some backcountry campsites, but TravelerYYZ is correct that most are not set up for easy backpacking. Most are used by hunter and these established camps are only a roof over a picnic table and a composting toilet, sometimes in disrepair.

There is one overnight possibility worth mentionning, and that is at the bottom of Waimea Canyon. You would go down the Kukui trail and stay at one of the 3 camps down there. Check out the following camps on the state parks camping permit website: Wiliwili camp (at the bottom of the Kukui trail), Kaluahaulu (my choice), and Hipalau (further and up a less maintained trail). However, Kaluahaulu and Hipalau both require crossing the river which can be dangerous and/or leave you stuck on the other side in case of rain (and January can be rainy).

Frankly, backpacking is hard to do as part of a vacation. It's a lot of planning, the terrain is unfamiliar, and you need a lot of gear that you'll only use once on the trip.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

You could check the NPS site for temperatures. When we were there it was chilly at night -- remember the cabins are at altitude. The cabins are very cosy though and include very nice woodburning stoves with lots of wood.

5. Re: Overnight backpacking -- not too scary!

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