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Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

Dallas, Texas
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Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

I love hiking and capturing landscapes from wilderness areas.

After some research I found many trails but most are strenuous.

I cannot hike them all because I am only there for 5 days.

Please help me pick some hikes.

Here is my tentative plan (these hikes are in addition to other activities/site seeing)

Of course based on weather I will add or skip some of these.

Day 1 (South shore) - Waimea/Kokee - suggest me an easy hike. Most seem to be hard. I plan to spend 2-3 hours on hike in afternoon.

Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 (North shore)

Kalalau (only 4 mile round trip may be the waterfall)

and Okolehao Trail (first part not sure of second part).

Are these the best two hikes in north shore?

Can you suggest me any other hikes in addition or in place of these?

Day 5 (South shore) - Mahaulepu trail.

Can you suggest other hikes in south shore?

Moorpark, California
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for Kauai, Catalina Island
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1. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

The one hike we did in the early 90s that still stands out in my mind is the Awa`awapuhi Trail up in Kokee. The views were amazing but I think it took us most of the day.


The hike to Hanakapi'ai Falls will be 8 miles round trip. It's 4 miles to the beach.

If you start at Shipwreck's Beach and walk towards Mahaulepu, that is a nice hike. I will take you along the shore line and meets up with the golf course. I have not taken it all the way to Gillin's Beach, we turned around at the golf course. This is different than driving to Mahaulepu and hiking that area.


Edited: 30 March 2013, 19:19
Kalaheo, Hawaii
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2. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

awa'awapuhi would be a great Kokee hike. I am 71 yrs old and hiked it in 3.5 hours. It is a 6.8 mile round

trip. Its all down hill going out to the lookout, therefore, all uphill coming back (about 1200 ft gain). but

the trail is very nice and there are some great views along the way to enjoy. The lookout is great place to

stop and meditate.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

Another vote for the Awa`awapuhi Trail. You're hiking on a ridge out above the Napali Coast (we always laugh when we see helicopters flying in to enjoy our view). It's not that long, considering. Then, on the east side of Kauai we hike the Sleeping Giant; we've tried different trails and I think the one with the trailhead that's further inland was a nicer hike (sorry, don't remember the name; you may want to research which is best for photography). Since you're a photographer I'd be curious to see your shots if you feel like sharing. Sometimes it seems hard to fully capture these expansive views.

BTW, we met an artist who takes photos on boat rides along the Napali Coast and then paints from them. Maybe that's your best perspective????

Edited: 30 March 2013, 20:12
Dallas, Texas
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4. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

girl_wonder - My wife and I share the passion for photography and when we travel we carry a lot of equipment needed.

I just forget all the pain looking for the next shot.

I will share pictures after the trip.

Here are my shots from past 2 years.


Seattle Washington
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5. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?


Also loved hiking the Awa'awapuha hike a few weeks ago. Simply breathtaking views at the end!

On another day we hiked about a mile on the Pihea trail...fabulous coastal views. Then did the Canyon Trail.

We also love that combo as you get the amazing ocean views and also get into the Canyon to the top of the waterfall. Unfortunitly the waterfall was dried so no pool to relax at. I think that may be unusual...at least in our experience.


6. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

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San Francisco...
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7. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

Wow, beautiful shots. I've been to at least three of those vantage points and your pics are really stunning.

Kauai, Hawaii
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8. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

All of Kauai is marvelous views almost anywhere that you go.

I am thinking photo ops :

Two special photo ops that are easy.

Clear day, sunshine, go now ! Head up the hill to the Waimea Canyon Overlook.......You should get some outstanding photo of the canyon. Also, if it is not quite right, you can stop again on the way back down.

You continue on up Waimea Canyon road, all the way to the end at the PU'U O KILA lookout over looking he KALALAU VALLEY. We like to start hiking the pihea (PEE-HAY) trail here. The trail head is super obvious. Now, as you start down the hill along the ridge you are going to come to some fantastic open air, no railings, none of that, just perfect photo oportunities of the KALALAU VALLEY. Continuing on , there will be some additional photo ops and different views on the trail itself. Fern forests , etc.


For some different photo views, you might also check out the very easy KUKLAU RIDGE TRAIL for lush valley and mountain photos, Trees of different shades of green, and maybe even doing some blooming of their flowers. Only about one mile up to the meadow and the picnic table, but plenty of stops and places to take your photos. Rated easy.

Oh, well, mix and match, and have a great time.


Dallas, Texas
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9. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

Thanks kapalakidooley. Yes, right now I am trying not to plan too much. I am just putting 10 top things I want to do in each category and on that day depending on weather and my energy levels I will plan accordingly.

Thanks girl_wonder - some of the shots are only possible because of great light (sunrise and some clouds).

But the important thing is that I am improving (Big sur was my first trip with DSLR).

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10. Re: Hikes with expansive views and great scenery?

I suggest the Kalepa Ridge Trail (see the links below). The Kalepa Ridge Trail leads downhill from Kalalau Lookout in Koke'e State Park along the crest of Kalepa Ridge and offers incredibly spectacular views of the fluted cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, the Kalalau valley, as well as some great views of the Honopu valley.



I hiked the trail, about a week ago, with Eric, a guide from "Hike Kaua'i with me" (see links below) a highly recommended service on Trip Advisor (156 excellent, 5 very good out of 161 total reviews).



While unguided hikes are certainly a viable option on Kauai, I highly recommend a guided hike for the valuable insights to certain spectacular views and other hiking options offered by a guide. Even professional photographers use these services.