LIHUE — Waimea Canyon’s Nualolo Cliff hiking trail will reopen today, following completion of work by state trail crews to reroute portions of the trail that were washed out and eroded.
The trail is in northwestern Kauai within the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve and is managed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife Na Ala Hele Trail and Access Program.
The Nualolo Cliff Trail reroute project bypassed the damaged section by constructing a quarter-mile-long wildland trail with a two-to-three-foot-wide tread. As a result, Nualolo Cliff Trail now connects with the Nualolo Trail at approximately the 2.5-mile marker.
Construction of the trail reroute also involved vegetation clearing, trail construction, and installation of trail signs. DLNR trail crews were assisted part of the time by the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps.
The trail had been closed since May 9, 2013, due to unsafe conditions on a 300-foot-long steep cliffside section near the 1.5- and 1.75-mile markers. This stretch was damaged from wear and tear, and with a hiking tread only six inches wide in some places it was deemed unsafe for continued use.
Weather conditions and unstable soils also created small slides, making repair of the existing trail impractical. The trail skirted a 1,500- to 2,000-foot drop, making it hazardous for users.
Nualolo Cliff Trail is one of 34 trails on Kauai managed by Na Ala Hele. It is a connector trail that is two miles long in between Nualolo and ‘Awa‘awapuhi trails. Nualolo Cliff Trail starts near the 3-mile marker on ‘Awa‘awapuhi Trail and meets Nualolo Trail at approximately the 2.5-mile marker.
This section of the Nualolo Cliff Trail offers a scenic view into Nualolo Valley and along Na Pali Coast. The trail skirts the upper rim of the precipitous Nualolo Valley and facilitates a loop route from the head of ‘Awa‘awapuhi Trail to the head of Nualolo Trail at Koke‘e State Park Headquarters.
Both Nualolo and ‘Awa‘awapuhi trails also have beautiful views of Na Pali Coast at the end. Nualolo is approximately 3.75 miles (one way) and ‘Awa‘awapuhi is approximately three miles (one way). Both trailheads are off Kokee Road (Highway 550). Nualolo is just after the 15-mile marker and ‘Awa‘awapuhi is just after the 17-mile marker. No permits are required to hike these trails.