Garden Isle Hiking Trail
Kukui Trail offers some gorgeous views of Waimea Canyon. The first part of the trail descends sharply, switchbacking through the forest, at first, and then out in the open along the side of the mountain. Expect the path to be eight inches wide on slippery dirt with nothing to one side of you in places. It's not that dangerous, but just be careful. As with many Kauai hikes, you may benefit from a guide who can educate you and your travel party about the history of the area, the plants, and animals of the trail.
You'll soon reach a vast stretch of slanted red rock that goes down the mountain and after traversing this segment of the path you'll descend deep into the forest where wild chickens rustle in the brush and kukui nut trees grow in abundance. As you dive deeper, you'll find yourself amidst waist-high grasses and passing large spear-like plants. Not far now, as you make the final trek towards your reward... the cool and soothing waters of the Waimea River! Look above you, and you will hardly believe how far you've climbed. Take a long rest here and enjoy a swim in the pool near Wiliwili Camp. You'll need it before turning around to ascend the two miles back up to the rim. Remember to take it slow and easy and to drink lots of water. Bringing some form of water purification device to allow you to refill water from the river and treat it is highly recommended. The Waimea River is naturally brown from the tannins which are absorbed by the feeder streams as they pass through the Alakai Swamp above Waimea Canyon. The name, Waimea means "red water." The scenery is gorgeous so enjoy it during your rest breaks and take plenty of pictures. If you want adventure and a great workout, this is one hike you won't want to miss!