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Alakai Swamp Out and Back

  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite


9.3 mile 15.0 kilometer loop
92% Runnable


Ascent: 1,165' 355 m
Descent: -1,166' -355 m
High: 3,943' 1,202 m
Low: 3,440' 1,049 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)


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Trail shared by Steve Jackson

This is a great run birdwatching but connects with other trails for stunning views too.

Steve Jackson

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This run is to prime Kauai forest bird habitat. At the end of the trail, at the intersection, you can continue out to Kilohana lookout or loop to the right on the Pihea Trail and link back up with Mohihi Road.

Need to Know

Bring a change of clothes, primarily shoes and pants, if you were wearing long pants, to change into after the run if it has been raining and the road is muddy.


Park at the meadow parking lot and start on Mohihi Road towards Camp Slogget. This road is located directly opposite the meadow with a large sign the says Camp Slogget. Continue on Mohihi Road past the camp and the parking lot for the Kumuwela Trail. The road is a fairy wide, one lane 4x4 road suitable only for high clearance 4x4 after the first couple of miles.

On days that it is cloudy and rainy the road will be muddy and slippery. In some places, the mud will suck your shoe in. You'll pass the signed Berry Flat Trail intersection on the left and the unsigned Ditch Trail on the right. Next up is two metal bridges across small but full flowing creeks and on uphill to the Alakai picnic area. It's worth running over to the picnic bench and looking out at the canyon in front of you. If there are no clouds, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The canyon directly in front drains the Kawaikoi Stream.

Head back to the road intersection. To the right is the road you took to the picnic area. Straight ahead and down goes towards Sugi Grove camp and Kawaikoi Stream. You want to go left up the road which will open up to a parking area and the Alakai Trailhead. Take this. After .25 mile you'll start to see a boardwalk. They are currently replacing the old wood boardwalk with a narrower synthetic boardwalk.

On this trail, you'll hear, but not necessarily see, birds. This area is prime viewing for Kauai's forest birds. In about 1.25 miles from the trailhead, you'll reach the Pihea Trail and Alakai Swamp Trail intersection. Go straight to the Kilohana lookout, left to the Puu o Kila lookout trailhead or right to the Sugi camp, or turn around and head back the way you came.

Flora & Fauna

The destination trail intersection is prime viewing habitat for Kauai's forest birds many of which are endangered. You will see evidence of feral pigs, but rarely will you spot one.

History & Background

There is a pole that looks like a telegraph pole at the end of this run at the trail intersection. I have been told there was an attempt to string telephone cable through the Alakai to Hanalei during World War 2.

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Dogs Allowed, Runner Notes

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1,620 Since Feb 5, 2016



World War 2 era telegraph pole at trail intersection Alakai and Pihea.
Feb 5, 2016 near Princev…, HI
Old and new boardwalk in the swamp.
Feb 5, 2016 near Princev…, HI
View from the Alakai picnic area.
Feb 5, 2016 near Waimea, HI
Flower on the side of the road.
Feb 5, 2016 near Waimea, HI


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