Gateway to problems

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    A hiker comes back up the trailhead from Queen’s Bath in Princeville, walking back around the No Trespassing sign that he disregarded on the way down to the site.

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    A sign warns people of the dangers of Queen’s Bath at Princeville, and advises No Trespassing when the gate is closed. People ignore the sign and just walk around the fence.

PRINCEVILLE — Some members of the Princeville community want to educate visitors about the dangers of Queen’s Bath before they arrive on island.

They also say the County of Kauai isn’t doing Princeville any favors by keeping the gate across the Queen’s Bath trailhead locked.

It’s all outlined in a report the Queen’s Bath citizen committee submitted to the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association earlier this month. The committee is made up of Princeville residents, many of whom live across from the trailhead.

“By keeping the Queen’s Bath gate locked, the county is ‘aiding and abetting’ the destruction of this green space,” committee members say in their report.

Cited in that report are issues relating to Queen’s Bath, like traffic, parking, unsightly views, noise, trail access, safety and awareness.

“Addressing the (Queen’s Bath) issues is complex,” members say in their report. “There are many factors. The QBC (Queen’s Bath Committee) believes that current issues can be alleviated using several recommendations, some achievable in the short-term, some requiring more time to implement.”

Access to the trailhead is but one of the issues cited in the report, but the gate across the trailhead is one of the more visible issues.

The gate and a length of chain-link fence were erected across the Queen’s Bath trailhead in September. PHCA paid for the fence, which extends to the property boundary just past the trailhead. The county decides when the gate should be open and when it should be closed.

Crossing past the closed gate is considered trespassing when it’s closed.

The gate’s been closed for six months straight, with people trespassing in a near-constant line, and as of early May not a single trespass violation has been issued. The Kauai Police Department has issued at least 10 parking citations since June 2018.

County officials say staff check for surf conditions and water advisories daily. As of early May, officials have decided to keep the trail closed until “more consistent surf heights are reported.”

“The surf on the North Shore is still very inconsistent,” said Deputy County Engineer Lyle Tabata on Thursday. “The gate will reopen when ocean conditions are deemed safe.”

The QBC, however, maintains the gate should be dismantled.

“The fence and gate have not proven to be effective,” they say in their report. “Some recommend removing the fence as well, others believe the fence and warning signs help convey the dangers of Queen’s Bath.”

If that fence remains, however, residents want it covered with some sort of vegetation to improve the look of the area.

When it comes to traffic and parking, the QBC suggests removing parking from trailheads and allow it only in places like the Makai Golf Course or at the Princeville Shopping Center.

That would reduce the number of cars on the roads and eliminate the parking situation at the trailhead, and would dissuade people who might be unprepared for taking on the trailhead.

“Visitors should be clearly informed of the effort required to walk the trails,” committee members say in their report.

The committee also points out concerns about the land encompassing the Queen’s Bath access, pointing out it’s for sale. They say developing the parcel would make it difficult to maintain public access to Queen’s Bath. The county says the easement and parking lot would not be impacted by a property sale.

Trail maintenance is necessary, according to the QBC, which describes the trail as “in very bad shape,” with daily traffic that “contributes to its deterioration.” They suggest a volunteer force to maintain the trail.

In the end, QBC members acknowledge that Queen’s Bath is a “gem” of the North Shore — though not the only one — frequented by visitors. They suggest a social media campaign to help build up awareness of dangers before people start the hike down the twisted path to the rocks.

Rory Enright, PHCA president, points out that PHCA doesn’t have a lot of influence on what happens at Queen’s Bath.

The county controls when the gate is open, holds the pedestrian easement and owns the parking lot. PHCA does, however, have the ability to launch awareness campaigns and other tools to address neighborhood issues, he said.


Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or

  1. Kauaidoug June 1, 2019 6:41 am Reply

    Most of the foot traffic is generated by internet travel bloggers. That’s how visitors find out about QB. Bloggers describe the bath but not the warnings and hazards.

  2. ARBITRARY June 1, 2019 9:14 am Reply

    where would we be as a civilization without gates and fences and citations, thnk about, we’d be roaming like wild animals

  3. vincent neidlinger June 1, 2019 12:47 pm Reply

    QBC should remove all signs and fencing that point towards this natural formation. Attractive but deadly, Tourists and the locals must be aware of the dangers. Having signs pointing the way and then a fence that says “NO!”, just makes it that much more attractive to see…
    “Nuf sed!”

  4. Debra Kekaualua June 1, 2019 5:49 pm Reply

    I remember being able to drive from Waipouli Mokihana Lounge to Poipu Brenneke house and not see another on the road vehicle the entire distance. Kauai was a sleepy little place, 20-years behind america’s continent, and it took too long by barge to enjoy a crunchy apple, no seven-11, we rolled up lihue sidewalks, except when we were on duty out of WH EMS, MICT nightshift crew, off nights we had fun club jetty, kauai surf; active was the original eldest wa’a champions, kauai canoe club coaches Achi and Kamai, Hawaiian Tel crew support/paddlers, we spearheaded stop bombing kahoolawe, those warriors were out from the niumalu hui. That brought awareness, truth and integrity to This posting.
    Pre-arranged and dismissing kanaka 125+ yrs, all of the places like queens bath continue being fenced, gated, owned like Z, disrespect, yellow gated state and wealthy resident stole Wailua Bell Stone other artifacts, Coco Palms Koa Doors stolen etc etc. Now! invincible haole visitor transplants will show finger and argue with you when you ask if they REALLY going bring a two and four year old children down side? so yeah, they NOT heeding signage unless there is a security measure! make people sign waivers and PAY to PLAY! Huli

  5. steve ball June 2, 2019 4:03 pm Reply

    Maybe Deputy County Engineer Lyle Tabata should get out of his air conditioned Lihue office and check out the north shore surf. Flat for months.

  6. WannaSee_the_Selfie June 3, 2019 8:13 pm Reply

    As soon as the surf in the North Shore becomes “more consistent” (or even before then), visitors to QB should be on the lookout for the cell phone/iPhone that the girl who was swept away lost when she was taking a “selfie”…FInd the cam, and POST the girl’s last selfie online! YEAH

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