We will explore the diverse gems of Kauai, the Garden Isle, by hiking on the ridgetops of Waimea Canyon, through the bogs of the exotic Alakai Swamp, and along the dramatic Napali Coast. We will visit a wildlife refuge, sanctuary to Laysan albatross, Redfooted boobies, and Shearwaters. We will take an exciting boat tour along the spectacular Napali Coast, stopping to snorkel offshore of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. Our days will mingle shorter walks with more athletic “scrambles.” Since this is Hawaii, swimming in the warm, regenerative Pacific Ocean will be a daily occurrence whenever possible. On some days the swim may take place at a popular snorkeling beach.

You will be picked up at the Lihu’e Airport and transported back to our accommodation nestled in the forest of Koke’e State Park for the first three nights of our trip. We will spend the next two days hiking ridgetops of the Waimea Canyon and the Alakai swamp trail. The elevation of these trails is about 4,000 feet and is home to rare, endemic birds and plants.

Our fourth day is a transfer day; we will visit a historical lighthouse and bird sanctuary on our way to our home for the next three nights. We will tent camp (tents provided) at an idyllic beachside campground located in an authentic Hawaiian Ahupua‘a (self-sustaining community). Our beachside campsite provides sparkling ocean views and refreshing sea breezes to keep us cool. For the next few days we will hike a portion of the famed Kalalau Trail, snorkel at the popular Ke’e Beach, and swim in Hanalei Bay. You will have some time on your own to explore a charming beach town, perhaps sampling a local favorite, Hawaiian shave ice.

We are exceptionally lucky to be able to fulfill our service component by helping our campground hosts to make poi, a Hawaiian staple since ancient times. We will join local, elder Hawaiians to help peel the taro root that will be made into poi and distributed to families in the area.

On day seven we will transfer again, this time to a charming boutique hotel located next to one of Kauai’s most popular beaches. After settling in we will depart for our boat tour along Napali Coast, most which is not accessible any other way than by water. Conditions permitting, we will anchor off the coast of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village to snorkel at the base of the magnificent cliffs.

Our final hike will be along a spectacular beach trail to a very special beach area that the Sierra Club was instrumental in saving from development. After our day in the sun we will conclude our trip with a dinner out at a local beachside restaurant.

Our itinerary is subject to change as weather conditions around Kauai vary considerably.

Getting There

The trip begins on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. and ends on Sunday, June 12th with departures for the airport after breakfast. Air travel to and from the Lihu’e Airport on Kauai will be your responsibility. When you arrive, you will be picked up directly from the airport and transported to our accommodations.

Please do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until notified to do so by the trip leader.

Accommodations and Food

For the first three days of our trip we will be housed in bunkhouse-type accommodations. The next three nights will be tent camping; single-person tents will be provided. Our final two nights will be in shared hotel rooms.

We plan to “eat local” foods that are fresh and healthy. Participants should come prepared to experience the eclectic cuisine of a tropical island prepared in the style of the different cultures, including the original Polynesian peoples who migrated east. In typical Sierra Club fashion, participants will take turns assisting our cook in meal prep and clean-up. This trip can provide carnivore and vegetarian meal options only.

Trip Difficulty

Our day hikes are approximately five to six miles in length. The trail surface varies, but each day participants should be prepared for slippery mud and some scrambling sections. Trekking poles are quite helpful. Because of these conditions, a five-mile hike is equivalent to an eight-mile hike at home. Swimming and snorkeling will be determined by each person’s desires.

Equipment and Clothing

Participants will need to bring a lightweight sleeping bag and sleep pad (if desired). Dress on Kauai is casual at all times – pack lightly! A day pack with water supply is needed, and trekking poles are suggested. A swimsuit, comfortable clothing, and a towel are essential. A detailed list will be sent upon signup and acceptance.


Sierra Club sponsors outings so members may experience new places, people, and activities. Specifically, we aim to heighten awareness of the global environment and encourage participants to take action to protect our shrinking world and its inhabitants – human and otherwise. On this trip, we will concentrate on Kauai and its local issues, which we can often translate into our own community’s issues.

Trip Staff


Colleen Kearney fell in love with Kauai and the Sierra Club Outings “experience” when she was a participant on a hiking trip on Kauai in 2006. Inspired to become a leader she has since led the hiking trip multiple times as well as a kayaking trip along Kauai’s Na Pali coast. She now looks forward to sharing with you her love of this beautiful island with its warm ocean waters and tropical breezes, as well as two of her favorite activities, snorkeling and hiking. She especially hopes to introduce you to one of her favorite creatures, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, or Honu, in Hawaiian.


Jill McIntire has led many types of Hawaii trips and considers kayaking the Na Pali coast a highlight trip for beauty, wildlife, and…relaxation. As a birder, she especially enjoys time spent in areas not yet altered by flora and fauna from “outside” the islands.


Michal Phillips loves to cook, SCUBA, bike, yoga, meditate, and enjoy Earth’s beauty. She first went to Kauai (from California) in 1978 and fell in love with the island; its trade winds, people, and cuisine. She looks forward to returning to Kauai and cooking for hungry participant/yogis.


Joesting, Edward, Kauai: The Separate Kingdom.

Morey, Kathy, Kauai Trails.

Fleeson, Lucinda, Waking Up in Eden: In Pursuit of an Impassioned Life on an Imperiled Island.

Daws, Gavin, Shoal in Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands.

MacDonald, Gordon, Volcanoes in the Sea.

Sohmer, S.H. and R. Gustafson, Plants and Flowers of Hawaii.