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greenBlue Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

  4.6 ( 13 ) Favorite


2.1 mile 3.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 125' 38 m
Descent: -107' -33 m
High: 81' 25 m
Low: 15' 5 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 11% (6°)


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Trail shared by Steve Jackson

Enjoy beautiful coastline, dramatic cliffs, and an archaeological site on South Kauai.

Steve Jackson

Features Birding · Cave · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids will enjoy viewing the cave along this trail.


This hike starts at Shipwrecks Beach. This trail follows the coastline to the Makauwahi Sinkhole. It is not marked very well and has many parallel trails.

Need to Know

The cave reserve is only open on certain days. Check the website if you are interested in going inside the cave.


This trail follows the coastline to the Makauwahi Cave. It is not marked very well and has many parallel social trails.

The official start of the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail starts at the end of Shipwrecks beach. This portion of the trail is in a dune area and parallels the coastline, but there are many parallel social trails that can be confusing. Your best bet is to follow the most well traveled portion. You'll hike through the dunes with some ups and downs and then notice the Poipu Bay golf course on your left. You'll eventually be hiking on the extreme edge of the golf course, cliffside. Be aware of the golfers and watch out for errant golf balls.

You eventually exit the golf course and get back on coastline trail. Again in this area, there are numerous sub-trails that all go in the same direction. You'll pass CJM Stable on your left and then see signs for the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. The trail is split between a horse trail and foot trail with signs guiding you. The trail circles the cave with interpretive kiosks for you to check out. Eventually, you'll end up at a bridge at Waioli Stream.

Flora & Fauna

Nene, monk seals, sea turtles, and humpback whales can all be seen depending on the season.

History & Background

Check hikemahaulepu.org and cavereserve.org for complete descriptions of historical and archaeological information.

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Dogs Allowed

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Land Manager: County of Kauai, Hawaii

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Jun 13, 2019
Amy Monpara
Awesome hike along the coast line leading to a beach. Went off trail to follow the coast for the beginning.
May 31, 2019
Jane Tilley
May 1, 2019
Elaine Donovan
Apr 17, 2019
Jane Watson
Beautiful hike and dry throughout. No obvious signage to the caves, so ended up hiking further than intended (and saw a resting monk seal as reward)!
Apr 10, 2019
Julie Matthews
Beautiful views the whole way!
Apr 9, 2019
Carley Spencer
Apr 2, 2019
Kristen Stoner
Mar 18, 2019

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 13 votes


in Poipu


  4.6 from 13 votes
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