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Kaua‘i is absolutely magical and deserves a slow pace to savor its jaw-dropping beauty. And what better way to embrace that “chill isle” spirit than ditching the car and absorbing the scenery on two wheels?
Exploring new places by bike gives you a perspective that walking or driving a car can’t. It’s why I set out to share the many incredible car-free bike paths you can find across the USA by biking a bike path in every state.
The Kapa‘a Bike Path is an incredible bike path on the east side of Kaua‘i that runs alongside the ocean, offering breathtaking views of the Hawaiian landscape.
This is a really fun way to spend a few hours on Kaua‘i as a family, couple, group of friends, or even solo like I did!
If you’re curious about seeing the beautiful Coconut Coast by bike, this guide to the Kapa‘a Bike Path (also known as Ke Ala Hele Makālae) on the island of Kaua‘i is for you—whether you cycle regularly or you haven’t been on a bike since you were twelve!
Keep reading for an overview of the bike path, where to get a bike in Kapa‘a town, trail tips, bike path photos, and a map.
Note from Naomi: Is it Kapaa or Kapa‘a? You might commonly see this Kaua‘i bike trail referred to as the Kapaa Bike Path.
After a fair amount of reading about the Hawaiian language, I’ve chosen to include what are called diacritical markings: the glottal stop (‘okina [‘]) in the spelling of Kapa‘a and Kaua‘i and the macron (kahakō [ō]) in Ke Ala Hele Makālae out of respect for the revival and preservation efforts of the language by Native Hawaiians. Check out these language resources if you’re curious to learn more: Hawaiian Language Considerations from the University of Hawai‘i, Hawaiian Language Guide from the tourism board, and Hawaiian Diacritical Marks from the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.
Kapa‘a Bike Path Overview
The Kapa‘a Bike Path is a paved multi-use path, currently split into two disconnected segments that total about 7 miles. This easy and beautiful Hawai‘i bike trail goes through several beach parks and offers stunning coastal views as you cycle along the eastern side of Kaua‘i (known as the Coconut Coast).
Technically called Ke Ala Hele Makālae, which means “path that goes by the coast,” most people simply refer to it as the Kapa‘a Bike Path or Kaua‘i Bike Trail.
Highlights include: turquoise waves crashing on the black lava rocks, the chance to see wildlife, beautiful stretches of beach, towering palm trees, and plenty of places to eat.
There are plans underway to connect the two existing segments between Lydgate Park and Kapa‘a, as well as to build additional sections. Eventually, the bike path will be about 17 miles and will run from Nawiliwili (south of the airport) to Anahola (a bit north of where it currently ends). The Ke Ala Hele Makālae bike path development has been led by the nonprofit Kaua‘i Path, and you can check out a planning map and more about their efforts here.
Currently, the bike path is continuous for about 4 miles from the town of Kapa‘a to Ahihi Point, so this guide only covers those portions. I hope to return one day in the future and update this once the bike path is complete!
Kapa‘a Bike Path Length and Information
Length: Approximately 7 miles of pathway each way (about 2-3 miles between Lydgate Park and Wailua Beach Park, disconnected 2-mile section, and 4 miles from Kapa‘a town to the northern tip at Ahihi Point)
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Kapa‘a Bike Path Parking and Trail Access
If you have your own bike, you can find parking at Lydgate Beach Park for the southern segment of the trail.
For the northern segment, you can park on the street in town and walk to the path. Alternatively, there are parking lots at the following:
- Kapaʻa Beach at the end of Niu Street*
- Waipouli Beach Park at the boat ramp on Kaloloku Road*
- Kaiakea Point (ramp path leading down to main path)
- Keālia Beach parking lot
*Included based on research sources and Google Maps—I did not visit these locations.
If you’re renting from one of the places in Kapa‘a, you can park near the rental shop and easily hop onto the path from there.
If you’re renting from Keko Kaua‘i in the Coconut Marketplace, there should be plenty of parking at the marketplace, according to Google reviews.
Where to Get a Bike: Kapa‘a Bike Rentals
If you’re just visiting Kaua‘i or are a local without your own bike, there are several options for bike rentals in Kapa‘a. I used Holoholo Bike Rentals and was quite happy with them, but I’ve included a couple other options based on research to save you some time.
Rental prices mentioned below are for two hours to give you a baseline comparison, but they all offer longer periods including daily and weekly rentals.
1. Holoholo Bike Rentals
Rental Cost: Starting at $20–$25 for 2 hours // E-bikes $40 for 2 hours
Holoholo Bike Rentals is a newer, family-owned shop in Kapa‘a with a few options for bike rentals. They’re located right on the bike path, so it’s a super convenient place to rent.
They have single-speed beach cruisers, geared bikes, and e-bikes. All rentals include a helmet and bike lock. Additionally, they offer wagon attachments for kids (keiki trailers), bike baskets, and the option to arrange a sunrise rental.
Personally, I prefer something more than a single speed if I’m biking for very long, so I opted for the geared bike with a basket for my camera gear.
You can rent the bikes for anywhere from 2–8 hours, and weekly rentals are available.
Fun fact: “holoholo” means to go for a walk, stroll, or ride in Hawaiian.
Get details here on the Holoholo Bike Rentals website.
2. Hele on Kaua‘i
Rental Cost: Starting at $20–$30 for 2 hours // E-bikes and tandems $50 for 2 hours
Hele on Kaua‘i is another great bike rental option located conveniently in Old Kapa‘a Town very close to the bike path.
They offer a good selection of bikes including single-speed beach cruisers (adult and kid sizes), 3-speed city bikes, hybrids, tandems, trikes (usually reserved for customers with a disability), and e-bikes. If you have kids, they also have several attachments available: trailers, tag-alongs, and tyke toters.
You can rent the bikes for anywhere from 2–6 hours. Daily and weekly rentals are also available.
All Hele on Kaua‘i rentals include a helmet, bike lock, front handlebar bags, and custom maps.
Get details here on the Hele on Kaua‘i website.
3. Keko Kaua‘i
Rental Cost: $25 for 2 hours
Located in the Coconut Marketplace, Keko Kaua‘i offers bike rentals from the south side of Kapa‘a town.
If you rent from here, the ride will be about 12 miles round trip.
Their free mobile app, “Kauai Bike Explorer” (Android and iPhone), has a helpful map that includes recommended photo stops, food, restrooms, and meeting points (in case you need assistance from them).
They offer 7-speed cruisers, and rentals include a helmet, lock, and cellphone holder.
Get details here on the Keko Kaua‘i website.
Scenic Kaua‘i Bike Trail Tips
Stay in your lane. Just like driving, stay towards the right if you’re going at a slow pace, pass on the left (and look over your shoulder to make sure nobody is coming on your left).
Don’t wear earbuds so you can remain aware of your surroundings (nature makes a better soundtrack, anyway).
When passing other cyclists or pedestrians, yield to oncoming traffic, and use a bike bell or say “passing on your left” loudly enough so they’re aware of your presence.
Move to the side when you stop, and don’t stop suddenly in case someone is behind you.
Keep an eye out for wildlife! Besides the inevitable roosters darting across the path, you might be lucky enough to spot whales, monk seals, or sea turtles.
Speaking of wildlife, please give animals plenty of space, even if they look like adorable friends who absolutely want to be pet (spoiler: they don’t). It is actually really stressful to animals when humans encroach on their personal space.
Monk seals are endangered and must be given at least 50 feet of space (150 feet if it’s a mother with a pup).
Check out these helpful and quick tips about viewing marine wildlife in Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i takes this very seriously, and there are fines and potential jail time for not following their wildlife protection laws.
I spotted quite a few whales in the distance as I was biking this Kaua‘i bike path.
Kaua‘i Bike Path Route and Recommended Stops
This incredibly scenic bike path provides varied views, starting out level with the ocean and gradually inclining to a slightly elevated viewpoint. It’s easy and fairly short, so even if you don’t bike regularly, it’s doable.
Along the way, there are several picnic pavilions with bike racks if you want to rest in the shade or enjoy a picnic lunch.
For food, there are a lot of options in Kapa‘a town, including some food trucks right on the path north of Holoholo Bike Rentals. (Personally, I spent the morning biking, and my husband picked me up and we headed to Leong’s Meat House, which I wholeheartedly recommend for some great poke.)
The route below starts from Holoholo Bike Rentals in Kapa‘a, but from Hele on Kaua‘i it’s about a mile longer (round trip).
If you are biking from farther south on the trail where there are incomplete sections of the trail, I recommend talking with the folks at a bike shop. Keko Kaua‘i has a free “Kauai Bike Explorer” app (Android and iPhone) with a route plotted out to cover those sections going north from the Coconut Marketplace. Also, check out some recent tips from Reddit and an August 2023 reviewer on Traillink.
Length: 7 miles (round trip — out and back)
Start: From Holoholo Bike Rentals, head left to go North. The trail is not particularly scenic starting out, but after about a third of a mile, the views improve.
Continue for another half mile to reach Kaiakea Point, which has some spots to pull off for photos. This is one of the stopping points where I saw whales spouting in the distance, so remember to keep your eyes peeled in the winter months!
Here the bike path is located just below a scenic turnout, and you can head up there on the zigzag pathway if you want an elevated view.
Continue on and once you pass the little peninsula, you’ll be biking toward and alongside Keālia Beach for about a half mile. This beautiful sandy beach is lifeguarded if you feel like taking a dip (or perhaps on the way back!), but as always make sure you watch for signage about the surf and consider your comfort level and skill.
In about another mile, you’ll arrive at Pineapple Dump, which is an interesting history stop with great views. In the early 20th century, the local pineapple cannery so many pineapple trimmings to dispose of, they regularly dumped them off the end of this cement pier into the ocean.
Pineapple Dump is a good resting point, where you can read about the area’s agricultural history, rest in the shade of a pavilion, and get some nice bike path photos on the pier.
Next, continue on towards the end of the bike path at Ahihi Point. Don’t worry, there’s still another gorgeous beach view ahead.
Less than a half mile from Pineapple Dump, you’ll arrive at a pavilion overlooking the secluded Donkey Beach. This beach is only accessible by pathways leading down from the road (or from the bike path). You can pause at this overlook if you’d like, or continue on past the trees as the path wraps around the beach from above.
If you have your bike rental for a longer period and you brought some beach gear, you could also venture down the paths to Donkey Beach. While I didn’t do this, it looks pretty straightforward. Note that there aren’t many people around this area, so you’d want to make sure your bike is securely locked (and it could still be risky to leave it behind).
Reviewers mention that the shore break is rough, the current is strong, and there are no lifeguards, so swimming is probably not recommended.
As you can see from the drone video footage, this beach is stunning and pretty quiet, so it could be worth venturing down to enjoy a picnic or just snap some photos.
End: Continue past Donkey Beach to the end of the paved path. It’s about a quarter mile past the tree tunnel access to Donkey Beach.
From here, head back the way you came on the bike path.
Kapa‘a Bike Path Map
Feel free to open up this Google My Map and make a copy into your own Google account. Access it on the web to edit your copy or simply view it on the Google Maps app on Android or iPhone. Never used Google My Maps? Check out my guide to planning a trip with Google My Maps for more info!
Have you cycled the Kapa‘a Bike Path? Do you have any tips to add?