Hike the Powerline Trail

By Hawaii.com Team

Hanalei River, Kauai. Photo: Wally Gobetz.

The Powerline Trail is actually a rough dirt and mud road that runs 13 miles from Princeville on the north side to the east side of the island at Keahua Arboretum near Wailua. The trail cuts through the interior of some of the lushest parts of Kauai’s northeast side.

Most people choose not to hike the entire trail, which is strenuous and could take six or seven hours. Instead they hike a distance in from either direction, then back track to their vehicles. Hunters and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts also use this road.

The most popular and scenic route is from Princeville. Turn inland at the Princeville Stables corner on Po’oku Road and drive 1.7 miles to the end of the pavement. Park off the road. Lock your car and head up the trail for a 2-mile hike. The trail follows Hanalei River inland. Be careful of the drop offs on the side of the trails where vegetation can conceal cliffs. There are lush ferns, trees and vegetation all along the way.

About one mile in, you will start to see Mt. Hihimanu across the Hanalei River. If the waterfalls are flowing, see if you can count them all. Further west is Mt. Namolokama and the headwaters of Waioli Stream (Hawaiian for singing waters). Once you’ve enjoyed the views, retrace your steps back to your car.

If you begin at the east end of Powerline Trail, you’ll enter about 1/4 mile past the arboretum (watch for the dirt roads). Approximately 5 miles in, you’ll see Kawaikini and Waialeale mountains and numerous waterfalls.

WARNING: Do not attempt to drive a conventional vehicle onto this trail. Local hunters can tell numerous stories about people who tried and ended up blowing a lot of money on towing stuck vehicles out of the trail.

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