Imagine biking on a neatly paved pathway along the scenic Kauai coastline. The relishing breeze gently grazes your moist skin while you break a sweat rejoicing Kauai’s scenery. Yes, this is no dream and such a pathway actually exists. It is called the Ke Ala Hele Makalae or “the path that runs along the coast”- A brilliant idea conceived by Kauai’s local authorities for the benefit of people.
We had previously created a post on seaside walking in Kapaa. Since then, the coastal path has become increasingly popular among tourists. Moreover, in this post, we’ve covered various aspects related to the path in detail.
While bikers will have a great time here, this incredible path is also available to walkers, runners, roller bladders and strollers. Whether it is breaking a sweat while savoring the Kauai sunset, or bonding with your kids on a bike ride, the coastal path has managed to rekindle a community spirit in the people of Kauai.
How The Path Came Into Existence
It was started with a vision to connect the communities of Kauai via the bike path and to eventually form an intricately connected network with the inhabited towns of Kauai- from Kekaha in the south to Hanalei in the north.
While the south shore stretch from Kapaa to Anahola is under progress, the north shore path might be a possibility in the near future, after successful completion of southern phase.
The responsibility for this venture is held by Kauai Path Inc., a community organization with a grand vision- Kauai residents working together to preserve, protect and extend access island wide through the design, protection and stewardship of non-motorized multi-use paths.
It is a registered non-profit organization with a board of directors and several other interest groups contributing to its vision.
The coastal bike path (southern phase), when completed, will provide an unbroken stretch of 20 miles from Niumalu to Anahola, connecting Lihue town center and other towns in between.
The southern stretch is segmented into the following six phases, out of which phase I and II are complete:
Phase I: Lydgate Beach Park stretch (Complete)
Phase II: Kapaa- Anihi Point stretch (Complete)
Phase III: Lydgate Park- Kapaa stretch (Under Progress)
Phase IV: Lydgate Park-Ahukini Landing stretch
Phase V: Anihi Point- Anahola stretch
Phase VI: Ahukini landing- Lihue & Nawiliwili stretch
Phase III is on the verge of completion. The completion of remaining phases will depend on the County Office of Kauai and the ownership displayed by the succeeding authorities.
Kauai Path Inc. organizes numerous events to build a community spirit and raise awareness among people. Some of them include bike races, bicycle riding workshops and the keiki bike and skateboard safety day.
The Kapaa Bike Path
Of the two phases completed so far, the 4.5 mile Kapaa stretch ranks higher in terms of view and experience. The setting keeps changing as you move further along the path. Although the highway starts to deviate, the entire 4.5 mile stretch of the bike path manages to keep you along the coastline. Imagine how great it would be when the entire 20 mile coastal stretch is complete!
The path is mostly flat with slight inclines at some places and there are some incredible lookout points in between. So, get your camera to seize every photo opportunity when it shows up.
Pack a swimsuit to stop by and relish on the beaches along the path. Kealia beach is popular for swimming, surfing and boogie boarding. Another beach you’ll come across is Donkey beach. The surf is strong here and it is best enjoyed from a distance.
Food and water can be lifesavers as Kauai heat can be sometimes unforgiving. There are restrooms and picnic tables at some points, where you can have your customized version of oceanfront dining. Food trucks are also available along the path for refuelling.
As you head north from Kapaa, stop at the Kapaa Point. Its elevation makes it a perfect vantage point for admiring the ocean view and to also spot dolphins and sea-turtles. If it’s winter, be on a lookout for humpback whales too.
Rent a bike and explore the entire accessible stretch. If you are in the mood for a hike, there are several mountain biking trails you can explore in the region.
If you are in Kapaa and wish to rent a bike, try these companies:
Coconut Coasters Beach Bike Rentals
4-1586 Kuhio Hwy
Kapaa, HI 96746
Kapaa Beach Shop
4-1592 Kuhio Hwy
Kapaa, HI 96746
Hele On Kauai Rentals
4-1286 Kuhio Hwy
Kapaa, HI 96746
4-1345 Kuhio Hwy
Kapaa, HI 96746
The Pineapple Dump Pier
Along the path, just before Donkey beach, you will notice an old pier like structure that extends towards the ocean. Most travellers are intrigued and clueless about its existence.
The pier is actually a Pineapple waste dumping station which was built by the Pono Pineapple Company in the 1900s . After extracting pineapple juice for food-flavoring purposes, the waste was dumped into the ocean from the end of the pier. A steam locomotive was hired for the purpose and dumping was done on Sundays.
This concrete structure, today, stands as a symbol of the bygone industry. However, the access to it is blocked for public safety.
While the path is completely safe for people who use it, there are certain etiquettes you need to follow for a healthy experience:
- Keep to the right
- Signal while passing or yielding slower traffic (especially pedestrians). Be alert as some playful kids may suddenly come in your way.
- Be Courteous – respecting people with different skill levels and different modes of travel.
- Do not litter – Keep the area clean. Use trash carriers to keep litter.
- Bring dogs on a leash and clean up after them.
Kauai’s coastal bike path is used by people of all age groups- It may be kids attempting their first bike ride, moms walking their toddlers or senior citizens taking an evening stroll.
Kauai’s vision of building community oriented towns is unraveling with every completed phase of the bike path. While the locals have a great time, many tourists flock here too with the desire for a royal experience.
So, get ready to rent a bike and cruise along the Royal Coconut Coast of Kauai like a king.