Ke Ala Hele Makalae is Hawaiian for "The Path that Goes by the Coast," and describes this beautiful multi-use path that will eventually follow the eastern shoreline for 17 miles from Nawiliwili to Anahola on the island of Kauai (also known as the "Garden Isle").
The rail-trail partially follows a former railroad line once used to haul the island's sugarcane. Today, the route offers access to parks, beaches, and coastal communities. A highlight of the trail is Lydgate Park, which houses two lagoons protected by a stone seawall offering calm waters for ocean swimming and snorkeling, as well as picnic pavilions, tent campsites, and a playground.
All along the trail, nearly two dozen interpretive signs share information about local archeological, cultural and historic sites; the native names of streams and canals; the plants and animals that can be seen here (including whales and monk seals); and many more topics unique to the area.
Currently, just over 7 miles of path are completed in two disconnected segments. One section connects Lydgate Park to Wailua Beach Park, and the rest links Kapa'a to Ahihi Point. There is a 2-mile gap between the two segments (between Wailua Beach Park and Kapa'a), which you can bridge via road; however, the shoulders are narrow and the highway is busy, so use caution if cycling. Work is in progress to build a trail that links the two segments.
For the southern segment, parking and restrooms are available at the north end of Lydgate Park (off Nalu Road).
For the northern segment, parking and restrooms are available at Waipouli Beach Park at the Lihi Boat Ramp on Kaloloku Road, as well as at Kapaa Beach Park at the end of Niu Street.