The Queen’s bath of Kauai is a shallow pool of ocean water surrounded by igneous rocks. Accessible via a short trail, this popular sinkhole is located in the north shore town of Princeville.
History of Queen’s Bath
This tidal pool in Princeville was not the first queens bath of the Hawaiian islands. It is said that the original queen’s bath was located on the big island at Kalapana. It was formed after a lava tube collapsed and the cavity was filled with freshwater from the springs.
Later on, due to a volcanic eruption, the pool was destroyed by the lava, which led to the tidal pool of Princeville taking its name. In the ancient days, the queen’s bath was a place meant for the royalty and they often visited the pool when they wanted to relieve their stress. The location is named after queen Emma, who was the mother of prince Albert (after whom the elegant town Princeville is named).
How to reach Queen’s Bath
The queen’s bath boasts of a lava coastline which can only be accessed via a trail. The trail-head is located near a Kauai vacation rental along the Kapiolani loop in Princeville. When you reach Princeville on the Ka Haku road, take a right and drive up the Punahele road for about 0.4 miles to reach the trailhead. The parking space is limited and is often full during the summer months. If you wish to spend more time in the region, you can choose to stay in any one of the vacation rentals or condos in the area.
The trail demands a good 25 minute moderate level hike. The trail is often muddy and slippery and its best to wear appropriate footwear and even carry a support stick for your safety. The trail starts with a warning sign reading “Many People Have Died Here” which is a reminder to be cautious and have a safe experience.
The trail takes you through a stream and a small waterfall that is a beauty to watch. It also serves as a perfect resting spot on your way back from the Queens bath as you’ll be tired. Post the hike you will be welcomed by a rocky landscape which is one of its kind. Unlike most beaches on the island, this is a complete lava-rock coastline beautified by tidal pools and amazing scenery. Post the hike, it only takes a 5 minute trek over the rocks to reach the Queen’s bath.
One important point of caution is that there are many pools along the coast which people mistakenly perceive to be the Queens bath. The Queens bath is a closed sinkhole that is located towards the left at a distance of about 250 yards.
The other pools are open and can be tempting, but are equally dangerous as they are accompanied with high turbulence. These pools are sometimes attended by locals and adventure seekers for cliff diving into the ocean. It’s a risky adventure and not recommended. Since they are open pools, there is a high risk of getting dragged into the ocean. Pay special caution while trekking over the rocks as strong surfs can cause a fall ending up with a bruise or a sprained ankle.
The pool has crystal clear water, beautiful stones and marine life which makes you feel as if you are swimming in an aquarium. The waves keep striking the rocks at regular intervals thus refreshing the pool water. The pond is filled with marine species like the angel fish, Hawaiian sea urchins, the ghost fish and other tiny fishes. Sometimes you can even spot sea turtles in the ocean that come to feed on the algae growing on the rocks.
When to visit Queen’s Bath
The best time to visit Queens bath is during the calm summer months. The Winter waters are rough and too dangerous as the strong waves seem to have no mercy. The Queens bath becomes almost invisible due to the strong winter currents and it is best that you stay away from the coast during such conditions.
Though it is dangerous, It’s a refreshing experience to swim in the warm summer waters in the Queens bath during favourable conditions. While some tourists can’t resist taking a plunge into the pool, others prefer staying at a distance and take in the view. After your hike if you find that the surf is rough, you can still enjoy the stunning vistas to reward your hiking efforts. If you are visiting Kauai during the winter months, it’s better you skip the place and save it for your summer visit for a calmer and safer experience.
- Please check the surf report the morning you plan to visit queens bath. If the report is not conducive for a visit, its best to skip the day and visit some other time. As the conditions may sometimes appear to be calm, it may be a temporary situation and is always ideal to check the surf reports before you go.
- Don’t play on the rocks between the pool and the ocean. Even when you are in the pool, exercise caution as the large waves might crash you against the rock walls.
- Make sure that you’ve rightly found the Queen’s bath and don’t jump into the other pools as they are associated with high turbulence.
There is a reason why the Queens bath is considered as one of the world’s deadliest ocean water ponds. However, when you exercise caution and appreciate the dangers associated with the place, you can have a safe and fulfilling experience.
Like the secret beach, the Queen’s bath is often secluded and is one of the island’s best kept treasures. Let not the dangers associated with the place hamper your perception of it. Carrying the legacy of the Hawaiian royalty, the Queens bath indeed makes you feel very special.