Hike to Hidden Beaches

By Hawaii.com Team

Secret Beach, Kauai. Photo: Jessica Merz.

It is no secret that Secret Beach is one of the most secluded beaches on Kauai. Located between Kalihiwai and Kilauea Town, it is also known as Kauapea Beach. Accessible via a 10-minute, steep hike, it is a long golden-sand beach with a small waterfall. It offers calm waters often filled with dolphin during the summer, but treacherous conditions during the winter months.
This beach, with its anything goes mood and remote location, has long attracted people with alternative lifestyles and off-beat behaviors. But don’t be surprised if the guy next to you turns out to be a stock broker from the city who has to hang loose at Secrets at least seven days a year. This is a beach that changes drastically with the tide and the season, so be prepared.

Here’s how you get there: Drive about a half-mile past Kilauea on Hwy. 56, then turn right on Kalihiwai Road. Turn right on the first dirt road and follow it to the end. Here’s where you park and where the trail begins.

Rock Quarry Beach, located on the east side of the Kilauea Light House, is a beautiful bay where the Kilauea River meets the sea. Sometimes a good winter surf spot, this half mile beach enjoys a wonderful location. Again, the winter surf conditions may be dangerous. Turn right on Wailapa Road, then take the gravel road on your left.

Donkey Beach is a fine sand beach just north of Kealia Beach Park outside Kapaa. It is located on property once owned by Lihue Plantation, which has been sold and is being developed as private estate property. The developers own both Donkey Beach and Kealia Beach but the beaches remain open for public use.

Though surfers flock to the spot despite the steep entry into the water, pounding shore break and strong backwash, this is not a beach for beginners. There are no lifeguards or facilities at this beach, but since it is located adjacent to private property, you may notice security guards.

Donkey Beach got its name from the early days when Lihue Plantation kept a sizable herd of donkeys and mules in a pasture just beyond the beach. Mules wore 250-pound packs filled with fertilizer and spent most of their days in the fields. They were, however, allowed to rest on the beach and to play in the ocean, hence the name Donkey Beach. Park in the lot at the top of the path to the beach.

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