Magazine article Sunset

Views from Kokee

Magazine article Sunset

Views from Kokee

Article excerpt

Kauai's mountaintop park is wet, rugged, and wild

To my right the steep crumbling cliffs of the Na Pali Coast plunge 3,000 feet into a blue sea. To my left a ravine of ohia trees is vibrant with vermilion blossoms. I am standing on the serpentine Awaawapuhi Trail in Kauai's upland Kokee State Park, dodging clouds and catching ocean views.

A vast 4,345-acre tract on the northwestern corner of Kauai, Kokee (ko-kay-ay) sits just below the cloud line, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. As a result, cool temperatures prevail on the park's extensive network of trails, which range from easy to difficult. I choose the moderately difficult Awaawapuhi, Nualolo Cliff, and Nualolo trails to get the view and some quiet along a 9-mile loop that dips 1,500 feet toward the Na Pali Coast.

The next day I slog along the moderate Alakai Swamp Trail, a 7-mile-round-trip walk over an eerie bog that drains waterfall-splashed Mt. Waialeale--Kauai's tallest peak and one of the wettest places on earth. A boardwalk on the first part of the trail makes hiking easier. The Alakai provides visitors the best chance to glimpse forest birds or to catch a whiff of the licorice-scented mokihana flower.

For less huffing, the 1/4-mile nature trail loop behind the Kokee Natural History Museum covers Hawaiian plants and their traditional uses. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.