Secret Beach aka Kauapea
A legendary North Shore Kaua'i destination, Kauapea is commonly referred to as "Secret Beach" because for a longtime as the public access trail was a hidden and not well known. The secret is out these days and visiting this remote beach is easier then ever due to the increased visitor flow. The walk down the forested trail into "Secrets" is part of the experience, relaxing the mind, oxygenating the body, preparing you for a magnificent world-class beach at the end of the footpath.
HIGHLIGHTS: A huge wide-open remote access beach, with expansive scenic view of Kilauea Lighthouse. A legendary North Shore beach that is powerful, raw, and wild.
ACTIVITIES: Long beach walks, and swimming when ocean is calm.
WARNINGS! Swimming is not often safe here, nor recommended.
Due to hazardous rip currents and pounding surf, this beach can be very dangerous.
The remote unprotected nature of the beach also limits chances for a safe rescue.
Look to the local residents present for advice about the days' conditions, often a good signal is weather the locals are letting their children swim. If in doubt, don't go out! Consider a visit to Anini Beach, a nearby County Beach Park
AMENITIES: Ample parking, no restrooms, closest are in Kilauea town center.
Kauapea beach requires considerable effort to reach, via a steep and winding trail of of a mile that can be especially vulnerable to hazards after rains. It is not recommended for individuals with knee, back, or heart health conditions. The hike in is mostly downhill, and therefor almost completely uphill on the way out. The change of elevation is approximately 800 feet. Plan accordingly, bring water, and other necessary supplies to the beach, and leave only footprints.
On the Beach:
The view of Kilauea lighthouse is paramount in the scenic and panoramic appeal of this beach. Perched on the cliffs above representing the furthest northern point of the State of Hawaii. Kauapea has shifting sands that change the length and width of the beach throughout the year as a relentless open ocean pushes them around.
The summer conditions provide the widest and longest beach, and often the only safe swimming. The beach can stretch hundreds of yards in both directions and creates 4 different zones. The beachfront at the foot of the trail is called "1st Beach", to the left is "Zero's", to the right are "2nd and 3rd Beaches".
In the winter, huge surf can inundate the sands, and can actually sweep away parts of "Zero's" and "2nd Beach" disconnecting them from "1st Beach" access. Black lava rock ridges are exposed creating a striking visual contrast to the soft golden sands, and ocean's azure blue. The ocean here can get unruly so North Shore high surf warnings should be headed, and this beach should be avoided during these events.
Since "Secrets" is often questionable for safe swimming, a good approach to this beach is come earlier in the day then assess if swimmable. You will lose the crowds and get good parking. If the beach appears unsafe for swimming, the nearby Kalihiwai or Anini Beaches are safer alternatives and only minutes away.
The only limitation on your time at "Secret's" is food, water, and restroom so plan appropriately.
Closest town: Kilauea
Take Kuhio Highway/ HI-route 56 West through Kilauea town. Once you have passed the gas station on right, mile marker 35, then miniature golf course on left, prepare to turn right onto Kalihiwai Road.
Take Kuhio Highway/ HI-route 56 East through Princeville, passing Princeville Airport, then crossing Kalihiwai River Bridge, and passing "Kalihiwai Ridge" on right.
Look ahead for Kalihiwai Road on left, and prepare to turn.
Make the turn onto Kalihiwai Road and it will quickly turn left, follow the paved road and then look for a gravel road on the right that slopes uphill and is cut into the hillside. Follow this county maintained gravel road and it will plateau then slope downhill to the parking lot at roads end. The trailhead is to the left of the parking lot where the big boulders are located.