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Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 4.6 (17) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

2.1

Miles

3.4

KM

Point to Point

81' 25 m

High

15' 5 m

Low

125' 38 m

Up

107' 33 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Unknown

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

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

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Land Manager: County of Kauai, Hawaii

Shared By:

Steve Jackson

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 17 votes

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in Poipu

#447

Overall
  4.6 from 17 votes
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Photos

View of Makauwahi Cave Reserve from rim
Oct 21, 2017 near Kōloa, HI
Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail
Nov 26, 2017 near Kōloa, HI
View of the trail toward Gillins Beach
Oct 21, 2017 near Kōloa, HI
Shipwreck Beach
Oct 21, 2017 near Kōloa, HI

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Check-Ins

Jan 28, 2020
Jason Wiener
So beautiful. Only went about half way. Brilliant views 1.7mi
Oct 16, 2019
Caleb R
4.2mi
Oct 16, 2019
Melonie Rockwell
Great hike. Some shade but full sun otherwise. Fantastic beach at end of trail. Bring swim suits to cool off. Round trip was 4.5 miles. Bring water!
Aug 23, 2019
Amy F
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)!