Hideaways access cut off; county seeks easement

  • Mike Lyons / Special to The Garden Island

    The entrance to the trail to Hideaway Beach on Kenomene Bay in Princeville got blocked off on Tuesday.

PRINCEVILLE — Posts went up Tuesday blocking the entrance of a trailhead that leads to Kenomene Bay, or Hideaway Beach, in Princeville. Without this, access to a local treasure for diving, fishing and surfing is cut off.

It’s unsure how long the closure will last, but the county and Pu‘u Poa Condominiums are working together to restore that public access, County Attorney Matthew Bracken confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

This all stems from a lawsuit filed against the County of Kaua‘i and Pu‘u Poa Condominiums.

According to court records, the complaint by plaintiff Trevor Wright was initially filed in April 2019 in Fifth Circuit Court. Wright, a visitor, had injured his hand on the access trail.

Request for comment through the firm representing Wright went unreturned.

Pu’u Poa owns the trail, Kaua‘i County Councilmember Luke Evslin said, and is currently drafting an easement for the county to restore the access.

“The County Council would need to accept the easement after the document is prepared,” Evslin explained.

The item has been discussed for at least the last two years, beginning with a Sept. 19, 2018, memo from the Office of the County Clerk to the council, transmitted the personal-injury claim.

The topic then popped up in the executive (closed) session of the county’s Public Access, Open Space Commission in August 2019. More recently, the item appeared on the council’s executive-session agenda at the end of March.

Public access, Mike Lyons of Kilauea said, is an island-wide issue.

Lyons has been fixing up the trail since he was a teenager, cutting vegetation back and placing ropes to help in the descent to the beach.

With the current on-and-off closure of the road into Hanalei, the blockage of the alternative, unmaintained Fort Alexander trail nearby, and now this cut-off, getting to the water can be time-consuming and hazardous, he said. “The problem is there’s no access,” Lyons said Tuesday morning. “You can’t go down to the bay.”


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

  1. randy kansas April 28, 2021 2:48 am Reply

    its abut time that trail was closed….its very dangerous over there;

    1. max April 28, 2021 9:27 am Reply

      Well – yes one needs to proceed with caution- if too dangerous for you– no go!!!

      1. Debra May 10, 2021 4:24 pm Reply

        I also agree that you should use trail at your own risk. Anyone not physically fit and with sturdy shoes should not use the trail. Especially after it rains, which it pretty much does everyday on Kauai, especially on the north shore.

    2. Abe April 28, 2021 9:35 am Reply

      It’s no surprise you’re getting into a challenging situation going to Hideaways. Don’t go if you’re concerned and leave the rest of us to take care of ourselves and enjoy nature.

      1. Da Shadow April 28, 2021 2:18 pm Reply

        Amen, Abe!

    3. Rachel April 28, 2021 10:27 am Reply

      Dangerous to those who lack the physical capability to climb up and down. Yes the trail requires long overdue maintenance, but when are people going to hold themselves accountable? Especially visitors who don’t take a second glance at warning signs or take time to assess trail conditions.

      1. Sondra June 8, 2021 5:16 pm Reply

        My family and I visited there 4 years ago. Absolutely fell in love with that beach! Yes, the trail is dangerous. We entered at our own risk and were careful. The ropes put up by locals were extremely helpful. If you’re not physically capable, don’t go. Go to another beach with better access. I agree with, “Take responsibility for yourself”. Would never have sued the condominium or county for my fault of not being cautious!

  2. Commentr April 28, 2021 3:27 am Reply

    Time to start charging daily insurance fees to tourists. Or they could wear a bubble suit.

  3. Kauai Ken April 28, 2021 5:40 am Reply

    I’ve been puzzled by the signage forbidding public access on the paved beach access trails behind Pu’u Poa (to Hideaways Beach), and also behind the Hanalei Bay Resort (to the Princeville Beach). I thought trails providing beach access were guaranteed by Hawaii law to be open to everyone, how can these two super-expensive resort condominium complexes be allowed to impose their exclusivity and block Beach access?

    1. Alex E May 9, 2021 6:16 am Reply

      The real problem is a pervasive culture of blame and lawsuits. My family goes down there all the time, with a young child. We’re careful and we know what we’re doing. If I get hurt, it’s my fault, not Kauai’s, not Puu Poa’s or anyone else’s fault—just mine alone.

  4. Lawaibob April 28, 2021 8:13 am Reply

    Easy solution: make parking and access “residents only”

  5. max April 28, 2021 9:25 am Reply

    both of these beach access are critical to keep open – especially now that Hanalei Bay access is closed most of the day. So frustrating about people who have to blame others for their hurts,,,, need a sign stating you are entering at your own risk…

  6. Mailman Mike April 28, 2021 10:03 am Reply

    I was the resident manager of Puu Poa in the 80s. A couple of my maintenance guys and me used to regularly check out the trail, fix where needed and clean the beach.

  7. Krishna lysowski May 2, 2021 11:34 am Reply

    I live nearby for last 25 years had been putting ropes and maintaining trail for last ten years but stopped due to new resident manager .You would be surprised the amount of people going up and down putting wear on trail .then you have issue of rain making it a muddy mess .really don’t see much of any solution.area hasn’t had good planning, no parking ,no regular maintenance, overuse.I kind of think sign should be put for local use only surfers and fishermen use only

  8. Meg Ulfers July 5, 2021 3:38 pm Reply

    We keep coming back to Kauai for places like Hideaways and the lovely people. This just makes no sense – suing over an injury in a place like that. Everyone we ever saw at that beach had made it down to it because they loved it – the difficult access was some protection in and of itself. What is left for those of us who don’t want to be at full on resorts? I get limiting numbers on the roads – but if all that’s left are big beaches and resorts…well it’s nice for the uber rich and I hope it is good for residents. But I’m sad…

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