North Shore highway, shuttle to open

  • Contributed

    This graphic shows proposed park-and-ride sites, shuttle stopping points and the shuttle route on the North Shore.

HAENA — Officials are finalizing the registration and shuttle system for getting to Ha‘ena State Park and other places on the North Shore.

And you’ll be able to reserve a space on that shuttle beginning mid-May.

Kuhio Highway is set to reopen May 1, but the state parks and Limahuli Gardens will remain closed until some time in June.

With a $200 fine for parking along Kuhio Highway in the state parks, no overnight parking and only 100 stalls in the Ha‘ena State Park parking lot — you have to reserve those through the state — the new North Shore shuttle system will be the alternative to competing for a parking spot.

Entry to Ha‘ena State Park will require a day reservation. You get that at the Ha‘ena State Park reservation website, which still advertises the park as closed and isn’t offering passes.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources hasn’t yet announced the cost of those reservations, but Hanalei Initiative has announced the anticipated cost of the North Shore shuttle.

A ticket on the shuttle includes entry fare to the park.

Introductory round-trip pricing per person headed into Ha‘ena State Park is expected to be $11. For those traveling along other routes of the North Shore shuttle, the cost is expected to be $2 round-trip. Also, the North Shore shuttle will honor County of Kauai bus passes.

Tickets have to be purchased electronically online at The expected launch of that website is mid-May. You can also buy a Kauai Bus pass at available locations. Frequent-rider monthly passes for The Kauai Bus are $40, and an annual pass is $400.

When the websites are up and running, you’ll be able to visit the Ha‘ena State Park site to check into reserving a parking space and getting a day pass. From there, you should be able to find a link to the Kauai North Shore shuttle if you’d like to get to the park that way.

DLNR points out that anyone hiking or camping in the area won’t be able to leave their vehicles overnight. If you’re planning to be in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park overnight — hiking the Kalalau Trail, for instance — you’ll have to get someone to drop you off or take the shuttle to the trailhead.

The Kalalau camping reservation system will be re-activated once the opening date is finalized.

Meanwhile, officials with Kauai Visitors Bureau and community organizations like Malama Kauai urge patience and point out that, for about a month, the reopened portion of Kuhio Highway won’t lead to any of the main attractions on the North Shore.

With no parking, it’s a road to a dead end until Ha‘ena State Park and other places are reopened in June.


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or

  1. Lorelei April 21, 2019 3:59 am Reply

    Does the shuttle intend to depart from the Princeville Shopping Center? A place with a parking lot that is already so crowded that I’ve not been able to do my regular shopping at times and had to circle the lot and just go home?

  2. Craig Callaway April 21, 2019 5:17 am Reply

    Sounds terrific!

  3. kauaiboy April 21, 2019 7:03 am Reply

    This whole thing is a s-show.

    I’ve read this article and checked out the info on the website.

    I am confused.

    Why can’t anyone make clear the result for Kauai residents, the major readership of this paper? Are we restricted from visiting north of Hanalei similarly to the way tourists will be restricted? Will tourists who rent a TVR in Haena be given free access, as long as their car remains on private property?

    Can I drive to Haena? Can I park there? Will I need permits? What processes must I undergo? What if I just want to go to Lumahai? Or just to Wai Cocos for a surf session? Is the only parking to surf at Tunnels at the Haena State Park? How can I enjoy a sunset at the end of the road at Ke’e Beach?

    Get serious and do some real reporting about how the highway re-opening affects us locals…

    Talk to me.

  4. JB April 21, 2019 7:27 am Reply

    Other than the gardens i have avoided the area for the last 5 years due to the overcrowding. A shuttle is a great solution. Maybe designating the whole area as a national park such as the Kilauea lighthouse. Entry fees and restricted use would help keep the area from being trampled.

  5. Lumahai April 21, 2019 8:27 am Reply

    Where do you think you are Lanikai or Disneyland. This is Public Property maintained by state and county taxes.

  6. Uncleaina April 21, 2019 9:19 am Reply

    Wow this is going to be so bad it’ll be fun to watch. To be clear: I’ll have to pick a date in advance, make an electronic reservation, pay $11 all just to go to Hā’ena? LET ME SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR – OUR COUNTY CANT HANDLE THIS!! The sheer number of things that they can screw up is immense- and this system will totally grind to a halt within a few days of starting. This is the county that doesn’t even have a website with bus schedules! This is a county where a 21 year old hulk of an empty hotel sits right on the main road and no one does anything. You’re telling me that I’m less than a month there’s gonna be a website, a manned gate, designated parking areas, a fleet of shuttles and drivers, enforcement officers, and all the other things needed in place and all working? Ok that’s funny. You guys have decided to go full Santa Barbara here on an island where they can’t even fix the roads or staff the police force- I am predicting total and utter failure of this stupid, poorly thought out “plan”. Also as a resident, I can see legal challenges to making access to public areas/fishing rights etc to be a huge problem with this. Seems like a plan made by people who have never planned anything like this before and so they’re making bad decisions.

    1. rogeer April 21, 2019 9:03 pm Reply


      1. Sandy May 1, 2019 9:11 am Reply

        Your comments are spot on! How are these new rules being enforced? Will there be a gate on the the road stopping anyone from going out there unless they’ve paid for the parking pass? What happens if I buy a pass for one of the 100 spots but they are all taken up by people illegally parked who just want to run in and take a look at the caves or the beach? Will you have 100 tow trucks there to haul away every illegally parked car? Because, if I reserved and paid for a pass, I don’t want to have to wait 2 hours for a parking spot taken up by an illegally parked car.
        What about those of us who just drop off our kids to surf, then leave and return a few hours later? Will we need a pass to get in the area?
        I know that something has to change. The number of cars up there is out of control, but until you know how to completely make that change, do not go by the “lets try this make adjustments later” theory.

  7. Makani B. Howard April 21, 2019 9:59 am Reply

    This is going to be a mess. The road opens, but there is nowhere to go? The places to go aren’t even finished yet?! I am guessing they won’t be ready for months! Are we supposed to just drive around and just look out the window and not park and get out? What about locals? Where do we park to go to the beaches?

  8. numilalocal April 21, 2019 10:26 am Reply

    Will the shuttle allow people to ride who have backpacks?

  9. Doug April 21, 2019 1:06 pm Reply

    Excellent questions, Garden Island Editor! How about an editorial with ALL the answers? I hereby challenge you, sir! Let’s see if it happens……….

  10. north shore resident April 21, 2019 1:45 pm Reply

    For Reals, This is the stupidest unthought out plan i have seen yet. This is the county solution to appease the militant few at the end of the road who want this road closed forever. they have done this shuttle BS many times and they all failed as complete financial disasters and no ever took them anywhere. This is a joke. There is no parking anywhere on the north shore for all the cars it would take to run the shuttle and the county knows it but doesnt give a rats ass about the businesses in princeville center. Princeville center will have to hire security and tow cars every day. Again the county has no viable parking solutions so they are going to dump this entirely on princeville. The law suits are going to fly on this one.

  11. HS April 21, 2019 4:47 pm Reply

    I cannot see how this is going to work out. You need to get a parking pass to be able to park but how are they going to dole out the parking spots? Are people going to be limited on how long they can be at the beach if they drive and park in order to accommodate other people who have also paid for a parking pass? If I get a parking pass and arrive in the afternoon, how am I going to be guaranteed a place to park? What about locals? If you hold 10 spots for locals to park and have 20 locals show up to park, where are they going to put them? What if I only want to see the sunset?
    I am not a resident of Kauai but I have been visiting the island for the last 15 years. I have seen so many changes and not for the better. Every year it gets more crowded, even in the “off” season when I visit. The traffic is a nightmare in Kapa’a. In order to “fix” the problems, Kauai needs to limit the amount of tourists that are allowed on the Island at any one time. This will not only be a more pleasant experience for visitors but also help to alleviate the problems for locals. Kauai needs tourism in order to sustain itself and it’s residents but over-tourism is killing everyone.
    Limiting the amount of people that are allowed to visit Ke’e beach on a given day only moves the problem elsewhere. It will only be a matter of time before we are hearing the same thing about Hanalei Bay (too many people) since they won’t be able to get a pass to Ke’e or won’t want to be bother paying or taking a shuttle. Limit tourists in general, it would be the best solution.

  12. Robin s. Smith April 21, 2019 7:16 pm Reply

    Just curious but these shuttles are going to accomadate visitors with beach bags, chairs and coolers? To get back to cars do you need a reservation also or will it be every 20 or 30 pick up for return to car.. I can see riders getting bumped and hit with chairs,etc. this could be a lawsuit ready to happen. Also what if someone get sick and needs to return to car ASAP, is that in place also? To many questions left unanswered,

  13. Kona April 23, 2019 9:28 am Reply

    Where do you catch this shuttle? Where do you park? Is that parking lot going to have security? If not, expect a lot of car break ins!!!

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