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Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop

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Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 19, 2013 07:10PM
The next day, my wife and I drove all the way around the island for another hike in the Waimea/Kokee area. This time, we would do a hike on the western side of the road, above the Na Pali coast. (The wife had done this hike last year, when I was unable to go to Kauai, and it was highly recommended...)

The Nualolo/Lolo Vista, Nualolo Cliffs, and Awa'awapuhi trails can be combined to make a semi-loop, with the start and end trailheads separated by a bit more than a mile of road. After dropping off wife and packs at the Kokee Lodge/Museum area, I staged the car at the Awa'awapuhi trailhead and jogged (mostly downhill) back and started the hike in earnest.

After a brief climb over a hill, the Nualolo trail descends steadily through a forest which gradually opens up, eventually yielding views of the ocean and exposing large expanses of red dirt. This area of Kauai is drier than the Alakai swamp, and definitely drier than the lush Wailua valley leading to the Blue hole. Surprisingly, a few pine trees eventually appeared, which somehow didn't at all seem out of place among the warm, dry, and open hills in this area.

As the trail neared the Lolo Vista viewpoint, the trail followed a red ridge:

From this ridge we enjoyed views into the inaccessible-by-land Nualolo Valley appeared.

The Nualolo trail ends abruptly, and obviously, at "Lolo Vista", named after a nearby benchmark.

Hawaii has many warning signs, which hikers tend to regard more as suggestions... Thus everyone went beyond this "End" sign to find a better view, which included views north along the Na Pali Coast.

Just left of center at maybe 10:00 from Bop's tail, you can see the red hill which marks where the Kalalau Vallley trail makes its final descent to the beach; in a few days, Bop and I would be looking back at Lolo Vista from here. There is no direct road or trail connection from Lolo Vista--or anywhere in the Waimea/Kokee area--to the Kalalau Valley or trail.

After backtracking a bit, we returned to the junction with the Nualolo Cliffs trail, a connector which joins with the Awa'awapuhi trail. There is a short segment of this trail that has some loose rock and exposure--nothing too serious, and certainly not in the same league as parts of the Kalalau trail.

Eventually the Nualolo Cliffs trail reaches another junction, where another spur descends a bit to the Awa'awapuhi viewpoint. This picture, taken past the warning signs, shows that everyone obeys them:

Since the Awa'awapuhi trail is shorter than the Nualolo/Lolo Vista trail, this viewpoint was much more crowded. The view into Nualolo valley wasn't as good due to the lighting, and there were no great views along the Na Pali coast. It's not a bad viewpoint, but Lolo Vista is superior.

The trail back to the Awa'awapuhi trailhead was a mostly viewless, and increasingly warm, ascent through forest, with an occasional flower along the way.

More Pictures
Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 19, 2013 07:50PM
Thanks for posting your trip. Makes me want to go..
avatar Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 19, 2013 08:02PM
Very nice, thanks. Kauai's definitely on my list for a future Hawaii trip.
Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 20, 2013 10:01AM
Which was tougher - doing these hikes or pronouncing some of the Hawaiian names?
Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 20, 2013 10:00PM
For me, definitely pronouncing the placenames... I still have problems with Awa'awapuhi. And I don't know how many people I have told about my great hike to Kahlua Valley :-)
avatar Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 21, 2013 01:23PM
How was the humidity?
Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 21, 2013 05:21PM
How was the humidity?

My pictures in Oahu (Diamond Head) from last week are pathetic compared to these but I almost died of heat exhaustion. 60-70 degree temperature difference, plus the humidity, will do that. Spent a lot of time in the water to compensate.
Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 21, 2013 08:15PM
It was somewhat humid (but nothing like the East Coast in summer, the Caribbean, or Costa Rica...) while in the lush areas of the island (Blue Hole, Hanakapiai Falls, the Kalalau trail from Ke'e to Hanakoa), but not that bad at all in the more open areas (Waimea/Kokee or Hanakoa to Kalalau valley). We had strong trade winds during most of our trip which provided some relief.
avatar Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 21, 2013 04:24AM
this is some really incredibly scenery, thanks for sharing these pictures. I've always found it amazing how the land changes and what environments nature can produce. Traveling and experiencing these things is really cool, great pics!
Re: Kauai-bop: Hike 3: Nualolo - Awa'awapuhi Loop
March 22, 2013 07:48AM
Thank you for sharing all these reports. I will be there in Nov, so I'm really checking out your hikes closely. I'm anxiously awaiting the next set from the Kalalau Trail. I hope you managed to get some pics of the scary spots.
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