Hiking Pihea Trail
Here is a picture of the Kalalau Vallay on the island of Kauai. If you can see in the distance there are all kinds of waterfalls running down the sides of these steep slopes. We took this picture on a hike with our family. If you ever go to Kauai I would strongly recommend you bring some old shoes and do this hike. The hike begins at the Kalalau Lookout at then end of road 550 on the west end of the Island. On the drive up, enjoy the Waimea Canyon, it is spectacular. The hike can take you from one end of the island to the other where there are no roads. We only went for about or 4 miles in and it did get steep and mucky. As I stated, bring a pair of junker shoes because you will get muddy. Also make sure to pack water and something to keep your camera dry. It will be perfectly sunny and the next thing you know, it will be pouring rain.
The trail we hike along was called the Pihea Trail. One of the spectacular view points along the trail is the Pihea Vista. Be prepared though as this is a steep climb to get to the top. This is where you will get your hands dirty as well as your feet. Use branches and roots to help you get to the vista, it is well worth it. About 2 miles in (all distances are from the end of the road, apparently you use to be able to drive to the end of the road but we had to hike it) the trail intersects with the Alaka'i Swamp Trail. Apparently this trail leads to the highest swamp in the world, though we did not make it.
When hiking, you might try to keep your feet from getting muddy, but do yourself a favor and don't bother. There are some walking blanks along the way when it gets too swampy, but most of the trail is along the most amazing clay type material (I assume decomposed lava). The stuff is almost impossible to get off. If you make the trip, try to also bring clothes that you don't mind being dirty forever. I say this because some of the things still have that clay like material in it, and we went in July of 2005. Another item that is a must have if you visit Kauai, the book The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. Don't worry if you don't pick it up before you leave for the island, we found it at numerous places and all for the same price as on the mainland. I have read on some web sites that this trail is considered moderate to difficult. I took my 9 and 11 year old on it and they would have kept going if we had more time and water. The most important part of taking the hike is to plan enought time to enjoy the surrounding, it is truley amazing. Also, if you look at the pictures closely, it should remind you of the movie Jurassic Park, it is my understanding that this is where some of the file was shot. I hope you get the opportunity to take this hike, it is worth every minute of it...