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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.
I really loved the trail today, but the fact that it is not connected from one section to the next makes it less than ideal. A very beautiful ride though, and easily done wit the loaner bikes from the Hilton Garden Inn.
I admit, I'm biased when it comes to Kauai. That being said, this trail is amazing. It skirts the east coast of the island. We rented bikes at Coconut Coasters and rode the trail a few times back and forth. We also took a side trip to the Spaulding Monument, up Kealia Road. While the monument is not much to see, the uphill climb is worth it for the view. It's a great spot for a picnic too. We rode the trail in 2010 when it was only 4 miles long. I guess we'll just have to go back and ride it again.
Enjoyed this path during our 2 week stay in Kauai. What an INCREDIBLE experience. It's beautiful, easy access and leads to access to the most beautiful beaches and views one might not see by car alone.
We rented bikes and started in Wailua by Lydgate park where we were staying and managed to get through the small spot where there is no trail just fine.
Once past Long's Drugs, there is a small section of highway and sidewalk to ride until it picks back up at Kapaa Shores.
My 12 year old who barely rides a bike at home did just fine on this journey.
Whether walking, riding a bike, pushing a stroller, I highly recommend taking advantage of this path during any visit you make to Kauai.
I for one will do what I can to help support the completion of this project.
Rented 3-speed coaster bikes from Coconut Coasters and road the entire trail. It was a beautiful ride and a great way to spend our last morning in Kauai. We do recommend 3-speed bikes as there are some easy hills that are better in a low gear. Several great beaches with picnic areas and restrooms. Not very crowded and great places to hang out or beach if you want. For those who like mountain biking, the paved trail ends and goes into a dirt trail on the north end that looked like it would be fun for mountain bikes. Most of the bike shops also have mountain bikes for rent as well as coasters.
This all coastal path is being built in segments with the finished sections running from South Kapaa to Donkey Beach (which is a few miles north of Kealia) on Kauai's eastern shores.
The path along Kauai's famed Coconut Coast has beautiful wide paved lines to ride or walk with fresh tropical breezes swaying the coconut trees high above. As you continue north, the path starts to slightly elevate just north of Kapaa HI which makes for perfect whale, turtle and dolphin watching points all along Kealia Kai.
The path is non vehicular and not at all crowded. Restrooms and rest areas with picnic tables every .5-1 mile.
Biking the path is how I travel and I recommend Coconut Coasters in Kapaa if you need to rent a bike. This path is good for all skill levels and is easy to navigate.
We rode this path in March 2009 and again in March 2010. It is now 4.5 miles long starting in Kapa'a and heading north right at the water's edge. Bike rentals, meals, hotels, and great shopping are easily available in Kapa'a. The trail goes alongside beaches and cliffs, so you can also stop for a swim. The path also passes a public pool right by Coconut Coasters Bike Rentals. There are several pavilions along the trail for a picnic lunch. Many families enjoy biking and walking on this excellent trail. Folks we talked to had spotted a whale that day, and another found a newly born monk seal at the north end of the trail. Even on a quiet day, the views are magnificent.
I was on this trail last week and it will be fantastic when finished. The trail runs along the beach on the eastern side of the island of Kauai and the views are magnificent. Another 2 mile segment is just about to open which will make the path 4.5 miles long. in addition there is a two mile path in lydgate state park that is very good. This path ends about two miles from the south end of the Kapa'a path. thus when conected next year the path will be about 8.5 miles long. There are rental shops near the Kapa'a trail.
Today the road between lydgate and Kapa'a is too dangerous for most people to ride on.
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