Cool Runnings – Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

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Cool Runnings – Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

Everything you wanted to know about the Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure!

Book now! Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure by Kauai Backcountry Adventures


The Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure, by Kauai Backcountry Adventures, is the real deal! One of the most popular activities on Kauai, the experience delivers beyond expectations. It is a real-life version of what amusement parks aspire to be. Part log ride, part river tubing, the unique activity involves riding on inner tubes down irrigation canals that were built in 1870 to irrigate sugar cane fields.

During the activity, you will be outfitted with an inner tube, gloves and helmet with light. After a short brief, you will begin your ride downstream. As you float down the canal, you will enjoy relaxing views of the lush jungle. One of the unique features of the activity are tunnels which add an exciting element to the experience.

The water in the canal is generally calm, so you can relax and enjoy the ride. Along the way, tour guides provide information about the history of the irrigation canals and the surrounding landscape, making it a fun and educational experience.

Be prepared:
Our Kauai Surf Co. waterproof backpacks are the perfect companion for your Kauai Mountain Tubing adventure!

In addition to the water activity, the tour also includes a scenic drive to and from the location, a stop at a magnificent scenic overlook and a picnic lunch.

Both relaxing and adventurous, this is an activity that is thoroughly enjoyed by all ages (ages 5 and up) and is a fun and unique way to experience the natural beauty of Kauai.


  • Ages 5 and up
  • Must be a minimum of 43 inches tall.
  • Weight limit – 300 lbs.

Book now! Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure by Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Our Experience

We recently took a spin with the activity and it was everything we had hoped for and much more. It was an exhilarating, escapist, totally engrossing thrill ride from start to finish. A couple of questions we had beforehand were satisfactorily answered. The water is not too cold and the current is neither too slow to be boring or too fast to be dangerous. Overall, we give the Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure five stars out of five stars and we highly recommend this activity for your Kauai vacation.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

The meetup point for the Kauai Mountain Tubing adventure is located at a large warehouse-type building in Lihue (Hanamaulu neighborhood). The Kauai Backcountry Adventures building is behind another building so be on the lookout for the entry point when you approach.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures
3-4131 Kuhio Hwy
Lihue, HI 96766

Phone: 808-245-2506 / 1-888-270-0555

Map: Google Maps

We arrived about 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time to be outfitted for our helmets, gloves and water shoes.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

Water-friendly clothing such as swimsuits, board shorts and board shirts is recommended for this activity. A waterproof bag, with a towel, change of dry clothing, sunscreen and bug repellent, is also recommended. Some participants on our tour departed with nothing more than the helmet, gloves and water-friendly clothing and shoes. We brought a waterproof bag with a towel and sunscreen.

Below is a list of things to bring according to Kauai Backcountry Adventures:

  • Water friendly shoes NO FLIP FLOPS (rental shoes available)
  • Swimsuit or clothing that can get wet (rental board shirts available)
  • Towel and change of dry clothing
  • Reef safe sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Waterproof bag to keep your wet clothes and belongings in.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures provides:

  • Gloves
  • Helmets
  • Headlamps
  • Tubes
  • Picnic Lunch and Water

We also brought:

  • GoPro Camera
Kauai Mountain Tubing

Before departing, we inspected our helmets, shoes and gloves for proper fit. We visited the restrooms and helped our ourselves to bananas provided by Kauai Backcountry Adventures.

Our group of 20 departed exactly on time in an open-air tour bus. (In fact, the entire 3-hour tour ran exactly on schedule, with 30 minutes allotted each way for travel time, 30 minutes for the picnic and the rest for the actual water activity.) Tours go out rain or shine, unless extreme weather or flooding prohibits.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

The activity is in the general area of Wailua Falls. The open air bus ride takes the two-lane road 583 towards Wailua Falls before turning off on a gated dirt road that leads into the Kauai backcountry.

On the way, our friendly tour guide provided a brief history of the irrigation canals (known officially as the Hanamaulu Ditch). In the 1800s the area was dominated by the sugarcane fields of the Lihue Sugar Plantation. The sugarcane crop required a substantial amount of water so a four-mile long irrigation canal (and tunnels) were hand dug by immigrants in 1870 to tap water from Kauai’s wet interior. After the plantation closed in 2000, Steve Case (founder of AOL) purchased the land. Seeing an opportunity, Kauai Backcountry Adventures leased the land from Case in 2003 to create the mountain tubing experience.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

The drive to the activity offered exclusive views of Kauai’s lush emerald green interior. African albizia trees gave the drive an almost African safari feel.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

A scheduled stop at a magnificent scenic overlook of Mount Waialeale was much appreciated. This is a view that you do not get to see unless you are on the tour. Mount Waialeale is one of the wettest places on Earth, often receiving more than 400 inches of rain per year. The pristine water in the canal comes from this mountainous area.

Kauai Mountain Tubing
Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

There was a range of ages on our tour, from young kids to senior citizens. Everyone had a blast!

Kauai Mountain Tubing

Shortly after the scenic overlook we arrived at the launch point. Everything that we didn’t need in the water was packed into tubs to be transported downstream where it was waiting for us when we got out of the water. This is where our waterproof bag came in handy. We ended up not needing sunscreen as most of the activity was not in direct sunlight. Also, we didn’t have a problem with mosquitos or other bugs on our outing.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Safety Brief

The safety brief was funny and thorough. We learned about the two basic positions in the water – buns in and buns up. (There is one low spot in the canal where it’s best to have buns up so you don’t hit your rear on the bottom.) We also learned there would be no controlling the spin of the water tube, and that turned out to be very true. You just have to go with the flow.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

A question many people have about the mountain tubing adventure is if the mountain water will be uncomfortably cold. For us, and many in our group, we found the water temperature to not be a factor. In fact, you can pretty much do the entire activity without getting very wet (unless it is also raining). Basically, just your rear end is in the water and there is some splashing. But you won’t get soaked unless you change positions and stand up in the tube with your arms and elbows resting on the tube. Nevertheless, a water-friendly shirt (such as a board shirt or wetsuit top) is recommended to retain body heat.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

With the assistance of the two guides, it was easier than expected getting into position in the tubes.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

The entire 20-person group stayed together during the trip downstream. Though others came between our party in the random current, we were usually at least within shouting distance of everyone.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

There were several stops along the way to regroup.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

The helmets were a nice safety feature but we never hit our head during the trip downstream. For us, the biggest potential safety issue was the bending of our ankles sideways as we hit them on the sides of the canal while spinning.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

Some parts of the canal were very calm, while there was one section that moved a little faster. The canal varied in width, with some sections wide enough for several tubes and other sections only wide enough for one tube.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Tunnel

There were five tunnels on the journey with one that was over a mile long. In the mile-long tunnel we couldn’t see the exit from the entrance. Whenever we would go into a tunnel it was “lights on” (the helmet) and “lights off” when we would exit. A substantial portion of the activity was in tunnels to our surprise and delight.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure Guides

The tour guides were professional, friendly and made sure everyone had their best time!

Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

Getting out of the water was just as easy as getting into the water at the start. From here it was a short ride to the picnic area. (One thing we might add to the “what to bring list” is a light jacket or coverup. Wet clothes combined with an open air bus ride had some people feeling cold.)

Kauai Mountain Tubing Picnic

This beautiful meadow was the perfect spot for the picnic. You can change out of your wet clothing here, but most everyone in our group just continued wearing what they already had on.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Picnic Stream

You can take a dip in the peaceful stream that runs alongside the picnic area.

Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure Lunch

Lunch consisted of sandwiches, chips and Kauai Cookies! We scheduled our tour for mid-morning so that lunch would come at the right time and we would still have the rest of the day for other activities. After about 30 minutes at the picnic spot it was time to head back.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our Kauai Mountain Tubing adventure and we believe you will too. It was unique, fun, scenic, safe and friendly. Whether you are a local resident looking to celebrate a birthday or other occasion in a special way, or a visitor seeking something totally unique and refreshing, this activity will provide wonderful memories to last a lifetime.

Book Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure

The activity is one of the most popular on Kauai and we recommend that you book weeks, if not months, in advance to reserve your spot for this wonderful opportunity. We used Hawaii Activities to book our spots and we suggest you do the same. Use the link below to book your adventure!

Book now! Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure by Kauai Backcountry Adventures

More Details

  • Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Temperature must be under 100.4 degrees F / 38 degrees C to go on tour.
  • Not recommended for anyone claustrophobic.
  • Guests should not have serious fear of enclosed spaces.
  • Guests who are pregnant are not permitted to participate in the activity.
  • Guests with neck, back or joint problems are not permitted to participate in the activity.
  • The activity is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Children 5 years old and above can participate.
  • Guests must be at least 43 inches (109 cm) tall to participate.
  • Guests must be below 300 lbs (136 kg) to participate.
  • Throughout the adventure, the water is shallow enough to stand in.
  • For cruise ship passengers, the check-in is located approximately 15 minutes from the pier by taxi.
  • Your activity photos are available to purchase after the tour.
  • The tour guide has full discretion to refuse service to customers based on attire, behavior, physical fitness and condition.
  • Gratuity is not included in the price.

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