Wet Trail, Dry Gear: Kauai Surf Company's Waterproof Backpack and the Okolehao Trail
The Okolehao Trail on Kauai's North Shore beckons hikers to embark on a journey into the green mountains above Hanalei Bay. Spanning approximately 2.5 miles round trip, this trail leads adventurers through a lush rainforest and up steep inclines, culminating in several panoramic vistas of the entire Hanalei region. It is one of our very favorite hikes on the island.
Known for its unpredictable weather, where sudden rain showers and humidity can transform the path into a slippery adventure, the Okolehao Trail demands gear that can keep up with the challenge. For adventurers seeking to conquer this wet environment, the Kauai Surf Co. Beach Camo Waterproof Backpack emerges as an essential companion, providing not only protection for your gear against the elements but also unmatched functionality and durability. Crafted from true waterproof material and featuring welded seams and a roll-top closure system, this backpack provides peace of mind, allowing you to focus on the trail and the views.
The Okolehao Trail starts almost at sea-level near the Hanalei taro fields. The trailhead is on Ohiki Road, the road just past the Hanalei Bridge that runs alongside the taro fields. It is an out-and-back trail, with the out part being almost straight up hill. You will certainly be winded, but the rewards are more than worth it. The first vista, about a half-mile into the trail, is next to an electrical tower and has sweeping views of Hanalei's patchwork of taro fields.
Continuing onward and upward, you will reach the main scenic point at about 1.25 miles into the hike. This vista, with a spectacular view of Hanalei Valley and Hanalei Bay, comes with a bench to enjoy the view. This bench is as far as most people should go, as the trail becomes much more overgrown, steep and treacherous.
The first vista on the Okolehao Trail is near the white electrical tower in the upper middle of the photo. The second vista is up and to the right of the tower. Hihimanu Peak is the high point in the photo.
At some point (if you continue along the trail), it becomes the Hihimanu Trail, named after the twin peaks that are a prominent feature over Hanalei Valley. Numerous ropes have been put into place for the ascent and descent of Hihimanu. Only experienced hikers with mountaineering experience (and no fear of heights) should attempt this section. Alas, a couple of years ago, two hikers made it to the very top, but were too afraid to come down and they had to be rescued.
This wonderful large tree, found on the trail shortly after the bench, is begging to be climbed, and we've actually seen people climbing the tree!
Offering both a sense of adventure and stunning scenery, the Okolehao Trail is a unique experience off the beaten path. So, gear up with the Kauai Surf Co. Waterproof Backpack and embark on an unforgettable journey through the natural beauty of Hanalei's lush mountain wilderness.
Okolehao Trail Details
Area: North Shore/Hanalei
Length: 2.5 miles (round trip)
Map: Google Maps
There is parking for about a dozen vehicles at the trailhead on Ohiki Road. The trailhead is a small wooden footbridge across the road from the parking area. After a brief level section, the trail climbs to two scenic vistas. Take wind and water breaks as needed. Bring snacks for energy and potential muscle cramps. The trail is much easier under drier conditions. Wet conditions can make the trail slippery and problematic. Bring a waterproof backpack and raingear as rain showers are frequent in the area.