Hiking the Pihea and Alakai Swamp Trails in Kauai, Hawaii

Stacia was still not feeling well so I ventured into Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park by myself. The long, twisting mountain road went from sea level to over 5,000 feet. The goal was to find native forest birds above “the mosquito line” where they were more abundant.

I was the first hiker to begin at the end of the road trailhead for the Pihea Trail. Almost immediately (and often) I was rewarded with this vista:
Pihea Trail

Eddie (Birdfreak) Along Pihea Trail

The trail was one of the roughest I’ve ever hiked; I carefully calculated each step as it was steep, rocky and slippery. Without cell phone service, deep in the Hawaiian forest, my goal was to avoid a twisted ankle or worse.

Pihea Trail

Native birds were difficult to find but I was serenaded by Japanese White-eyes most of the time. The Pihea Trail eventually merged with the Alakai Swamp Trail after two miles. Most of this part was boardwalk, although some of the planks were in desperate need of repair.

Alakai Swamp Trail

Pihea and Alakai Swamp Trail Crossroads

I found this bird, which I believe to be a female White-rumped Shama (non-native).

Eventually I reached a stream that I decided to not cross so headed back up the way I came.
Alakai Swamp Trail

As I hiked I heard an interesting sound and discovered a pair of ‘Anianiau that were courting. One kept following the other and then I saw him feed his mate. I managed this sub-par photo of one of them.

I could have hiked all day but wanted to get back to check on Stacia and I still had a one and a half hour drive back to the hotel. In all I hiked about 5 miles in one of the most beautiful, native forests in all of Hawaii.

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