Imagine yourself running or jogging in a picturesque location with the breeze gently grazing over your skin. How does that make you feel? Running in Kauai feels ten times better than that.
Running probably will be a new addition your bucket list of adventurous activities to do on the Garden Isle. Different kinds of terrains, beautiful landscapes, and stunning backdrops never cease to amaze people with love for running.
Whether you like jogging, running or are training for an event, Kauai has the best tracks to serve the intended purpose. Keeping the practicality in mind, it’d be ideal to choose running tracks or routes close to where you’re staying. There’ll be more flexibility in terms of choosing a track if you’ve a vehicle.
The following list of running tracks are segmented based on location for your convenience.
Best Places to Run on Kauai
South Shore Locations
If you’re in Poipu, it’s a great opportunity to run along the rocky coastline or explore the side roads along the golf courses.
A much anticipated running path in Poipu is the Poipu beach/ Spouting Horn Park Run. It starts at Poipu beach, with an initial short sandy stretch. As you approach the west end of the beach, near the Sheraton, follow the Poipu beach road leading to Waikomo stream. There is a sidewalk covering most of the distance. Once you reach a junction, turn left onto Lawai road, following the sidewalk, all the way to Spouting Horn park.
In addition to the track mentioned above, there are numerous other side trails that run along the golf courses in the region. The 5 mile dirt track starting at the Hyatt hotel on Poipu Road and the 12 mile Brennecke’s run, are worth exploring as well. The latter is a part of the same route of the Koloa Plantation Days Family Run/ Walk that happens once a year.
You can also check Polihale beach and dirt road if you’re on the south shore.
East/ West Side Locations
Kapaa bike path (Ke Ala Hele Makalae)
By providing a neatly built path with the entire stretch hugging the coastline, Kauai’s local government has transformed many runners’ dreams into reality. Popularly known as “the path that goes by the coast”, it’s a great place to break a sweat while enjoying the natural beauty of the island.
The path can be split into different segments based on the accessibility and running ability. The different access points to this bike path are located off Nalu Road near Lydgate Beach Prk, Off Kuhio Highway at Wailua Beach Park and at Kealia Beach.
Don’t be surprised if you have to squeeze your way through bikers and walkers along the path.
One more interesting running trail to explore is the Kanaloa Hulhulu Meadow. The best way to access it is if you’re camping at Koke’e State Park . It’s an uphill run leading to the Puu O Kila lookout and ends with a breathtaking view of the Napali coast. Another trail in Koke’e state park is the alakai swamp trail. Although it is mostly used for hiking, the rapidly varying terrain can be both an exciting and challenging experience for runners.
North Shore Locations
Hanalei Beach Run / Weke Road
People flock to “the jewel of north shore” to experience the touch of moist sand under their feet.
The firm, yet, soft sand of Hanalei Bay serves as a good variation from the hard ground we usually jog on. Depending on your choice, the beach run can be done barefoot or with shoes. However, it is advisable to do it barefoot considering the knee deep stream crossings you’ll have to cross if you’re willing to run the complete stretch.
If you start at the Hanalei Pier, till the end of the beach and back is a little more than 3 miles. This short, uninterrupted running interval is filled with stunning backdrops and can be completed with utmost ease.
If running on the beach is not your thing, you can try the Weke Road, which is a paved street that runs along the bay. There are very less shoulders along the path and it is best to run along Weke Road when the traffic is minimal.
Wai Koa Loop Trail
After completing this 5 mile stretch, you can boast about having run through the largest mahogany plantation in the U.S. Starting at a family park, you’ll be gradually coursing through a private property and savouring gorgeous mountain views in the background.
The park has all the amenities like picnic area, restrooms, playgrounds, gift shops, coffee stands and more, which is a boon to runners post completion of the circuit. The trail is mostly flat, with slight variations in terrain. You’ll be mostly running through grass and dirt.
The trail starts behind the Kilauea Miniature Golf and Botanical Gardens. Wai koa Loop Trail branches out into other trails like the Wai koa Loop- Kalihiwai Ridge and Wai Koa Loop- Kilauea Lighthouse trails. They stretch for 8 miles and 12 miles respectively, with the latter being the longest running trail on the north shore. Both these trails are a mix of dirt and paved paths, with an even combination of flat and hilly terrain.
If running on a beach or dirt track doesn’t appeal to you, the well paved concrete track at Princeville Spa might be what you need. It starts where the old Princeville Spa/ Tavern restaurant used to be and goes all the way till the St.Regis Hotel.
Once you start from the parking lot, you’ve to run west along the bike path until you reach the Princeville fountain. Then, you need to cross the Ka Haku road and follow the bike path all the way to St Regis and turn back. Once you cross the Ka Haku road, there are many paths you can turn on if you wish to explore new paths and add more miles to your run.