The Awa'awa'puhi Trail is yet another Koke'e trail which promises sweeping views and a trek through dense jungles and dry landscapes. Even though this trail is fairly even, we recommend sturdy hiking boots. Awa'awa'puhi gets off to a slow start but picks up steam about half way. The only thing to make the first part interesting is a series of marked plants. If you pick up the "Awa'awa'puhi Botanical Trail Guide"at the Koke'e museum it will guide you through the maze of native and introduced plants.
The trail starts at approximately 4,120 feet and ends at the lookout around 2,500 feet. Hiking out you'll no doubt respect each and every foot of that; especially if you're concluding this hike as a part of the Nualolo Trail / Nualolo Cliff Trail "loop." You can view the loop trail by opening Google Earth and viewing our Nualolo and Awaawapuhi Loop Trail map.
After the first mile the forest begins to dissipate only making guest appearances once in awhile as the barren terrain of Na Pali comes into view. You get your first glimpse of the Awa'awa'puhi Valley at about 1.75 miles. Use caution and do not go too close to the edge as some of the view points are eroded.
Awaawapuhi Trail MapDrink in the views of the sea as you approach the junction with the Nualolo Cliff Trail. You may run into a few fellow hikers on your way, as mountain goats like to cling to the steep slopes. Continue straight ahead (to your right) to the end of the trail and a spectacular view from your 2,500 foot perch. Weather permitting, you should get a breathtaking view of the lusciously green Awa'awa'puhi valley and Nualolo Valley. Perhaps it is the view of the folding spires of Na Pali that makes this trail so exceptional. Once you reach the end do not venture beyond the railing since the ground is not safe and a few fool-hearty explorers have fallen to their deaths.
For a nice day hike you can back track to the Nualolo junction and continue along the Nualolo Cliff Trail to the Nualolo Trail which ends at the Koke'e State Park headquarters. However if you plan to hike that loop, we recommend you hike down Nualolo and back up Awa'awapuhi. You can read more about the "loop" on our Nualolo Trail entry.
Kokee and Waimea State Park
Don't forget to check our Koke'e State Park Hiking page for information on all the incredible trails inside the park. On that page we've also posted a map of the entire area (Koke'e and Waimea State Parks) for you to download and print out at home. The Koke'e Lodge and Museum will also have maps available, but we'd definitely advise you to go ahead and review the map and become familiar with the area. The crisscrossing of trails and 4x4 roads can be confusing at first, but once you select your routes, it's not too bad. Feel free to contact us if you have specific questions.
Trail Distance: 6.2 miles (round trip). 11.3 miles for entire loop and lookouts (including hike from your vehicle to the trailhead).
Trail Difficulty: Difficult
Kilauea HI, 96754