Outdoor lovers will find refuge on Kaua‘i, the oldest major island of the Hawaiian archipelago. With lavish forests, cascading waterfalls, and a unique, prehistoric landscape, the Garden Island is a bounty of nature experiences and adventures.
Our guests should plan outdoor adventures ahead of time to ensure personal safety, awareness of cultural and historical sites, and compliance with the county’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Wander or Bike East Kaua‘i’s Ke Ala Hele Makalae
Among the island’s many must-do activities is the Kapa‘a Bike Path, formally known as Ke Ala Hele Makalae (the path that goes by the coast). The trail stretches across nearly eight miles of Kaua‘i’s eastern shore, with oceanfront views and plenty of spots to pull over for a scenic rest or a socially distanced lunch. The path bustles with runners, walkers, and bicyclists and is a family-friendly option to indulge in the Garden Isle’s fresh air while safely exploring the area.
Visitors can walk or jog the path or rent a bike in Kapa‘a, where they can pick up food to-go from the small town’s eateries and trucks. Please keep your mask on or close by as this path is a popular attraction and remember to step aside when passing others (if possible) to allow for social distancing. We also recommend packing reef-safe sunscreen, hand sanitizer, swimwear, towel and more than enough water.
Experience the North Shore by Horseback
Those venturing to Kaua‘i’s North Shore can experience one of Hawai‘i’s most pristine locations for horseback riding. The majestic Hanalei mountains surround Princeville Ranch Adventures, a working, 2,500-acre cattle ranch and outdoor destination rich in history, waterfalls, native flora and fauna and unforgettable views. Established in the early 1800s during King Kamehameha III's reign, it is one of the first cattle ranches in the state and a staple in today’s local agriculture community.
Like many other local businesses, the pandemic forced Princeville Ranch Adventures to readjust its business and downsize operations. The company, which once offered visitors a variety of tours, now focuses on authentic paniolo (cowboy) experiences. Visitors can take a guided private ride through rolling country hills, a customized riding lesson, or go on an expedition, like journeying by horse across the ranch’s vast terrain to reach a hike that leads to an 80-foot waterfall.
“There are always silver linings in life, and the biggest one has been the number of locals that have visited us during this COVID period,” said Karin Carswell Guest, owner of Princeville Ranch Adventures. “In the past, they may not have had the time to come to the ranch, but with things shut down and limited travel options, they were able to do fun and different things. Building that relationship has been amazing, and now we are experiencing a deeper connection with out-of-state visitors because everyone is so happy to be back in Hawai‘i!"
She noted that all visitors should be prepared to show negative results of their pre-travel COVID-19 test or provide their travel itinerary to prove that they have been on the island for at least 14 days. A mask is required when near staff, though guests can remove it once on horseback. The ranch has also increased cleaning of high-touch common areas, like the check-in desk, and made hand sanitizer available throughout the property. Visitors are encouraged to visit the ranch’s website for the latest COVID-19 protocols.
Trek Down and Experience Waimea Canyon
Called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is one of Kaua‘i’s most spectacular natural gems. Home to canyons formed millions of years ago, the state park invites nature lovers of all skill levels to take in unparalleled views at its many lookouts, venture down into one of its varied trails, trek to waterfalls and hike through native forests.
Research trail conditions before hiking Waimea Canyon and bring a daypack with a mask and plenty of water, food and sun protection. Social distancing on trails is critical, and hikers are advised to respect all park signs and carry out any ʻōpala (garbage).