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Which river to kayak on our own

La Mirada...
Destination Expert
for Kauai
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16,014 posts
136 reviews
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Which river to kayak on our own

We'll be on Kauai for 2 weeks this September. We would like to rent a 2 person kayak and go up one of the rivers and hopefully do some fishing. From what Kauai Revealed has to say, the Wailua is going to be crowded. We don't want to go with a tour. I was thinking maybe the Hanalei. Any suggestions?

Thanks to everyone who's be replying to my previous posts. TA Forums are GREAT!

3 Chihuahuas

Rochester,NY
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357 posts
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1. Re: Which river to kayak on our own

I have a good friend who I've visited on Kauai several times and she has taken me for several kayak trips down the Wailua River. It's an easy paddle and there's a beautiful waterfall on the north fork of the river that you can hike to. It has a pool (very cold!) that you can swim in at the base of the waterfall. It's a good place to stop and have a picnic lunch. The river has never seemed crowded to me on any of the trips I've made there. It's one of my favorite things to do when I visit Kauai.

Bradley, Maine
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14 reviews
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2. Re: Which river to kayak on our own

3 chihauhaus ... I'd make sure you get some recent responses from locals or double check when you get there. Recent flooding wouldn't get me on a river I'm not familiar with.....

Winnipeg Manitoba
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3. Re: Which river to kayak on our own

The Kahiliwai river is pefect and not crowded.There are in effect 2 beaches at the mouth of the river-one is oceanside the other is river side.I agree with baxterME check with the locals before you go.

Kauai, Hawaii
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4. Re: Which river to kayak on our own

Aloha, kayak lover.." Chihauhaus "

Erica and I have been fortunate to have kayaked most every river on Kauai...and enjoyed each and every one.

Your idea of the Hanalei is really about the best for what you want to do. Dont really know about fishing, you might have more scoop on that.

Both the Wailua, and Hanalei might be in your plans if you like a short hike to a secluded water fall from the Wailua.

HANALEI: Easy kayak, longer than the Wailua. Very little traffic, and no ski boats, or Smiths large boats as on the Wailua. And less kayak company traffic.

We really enjoyed kayaking up the Hanalei, then turn around, and let the current assist you, and instead of calling it a day, paddle out into Hanalei Bay, around the headland where the Princeville Hotel is located, and

make a beach landing at HIDEAWAYS to snorkle.

But, you might just want to kick back and fish, it is great that Hanalei gives you lots of choices.

WAILUA: This is a fun paddle. Upstream, take the right fork. NOT TO THE FERN GROTTO.

As you paddle up this fork, you will note approaching shallow water. Tie your kayak up to a tree, and walk ( hike) to the beautiful hidden falls. Might take a lunch and water with you. Really nice.

We have done the Wailua a couple of times...however, I heard thru rumor control that they now required a guide.

Which is not necessary. Maybe other posters who kayak can help us out with this.

I did see a lot of kayakers with zip kayak experience wind up crossing the bow of the huge Smith Boats, or uncontrolled from one side of the Wailua to the other, winding up in the mangroves. This was usually up stream, downstream with the current,they did much better.

Maybe that is the reason for the rumor that I heard. Hope it is not true, as the Wailua paddle and hike is a special experience.

Kahiliwai is also an easy and fun paddle,and very, very few people. Smaller stream, and you do have to wend your way thru some branches of a fallen tree, but that is added fun.

September, when you will be there the weather should be nice on both shores. HAVE A BALL.

NOTE: We have done the above Hanalei trip with Kayak Hanalei, to learned how to enter the reefs at HIDEAWAYS, and work thru some of the light surf at the head of Hanalei Bay.

We have done this twice, ( different ) visits, and feel pretty confident we can get get thru and back out without a huli ( turning over ), or smacking into the reef.

So, HIDEAWAYS might be something to think over first. Perhaps your friend will have experience at this section. HOWEVER, the

river, and the bay should be no sweat. In fact we did some kayak surfing on some small waves returning back to the river from hanalei bay.....that was FUN !!

Have a great visit, and fun paddling.

Denny

Georgia
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69 posts
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5. Re: Which river to kayak on our own

I am leaving in 11 days and have already booked a Kayak for the Wailua river. They have just cut the number of Kayaks down that can go without a tour. They only allow a certain amount every day. So you may still Kayak on your own you just have to reserve the Kayak early.

La Mirada...
Destination Expert
for Kauai
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6. Re: Which river to kayak on our own

So many thanks to everyone! I do think the Hanalei is probably the right choice for us. We're not real experienced kayakers, so I'm not too sure about trying to get to Hideaways. We did a 4 1/2 mile ocean tour near Kona on the Big Island last year. Water was very calm and it was tons of fun, however we are both in our 50's (I got tired) and my husband has nerve damage in his left arm, so paddling to keep up with the tour was hard on him. A calm river where we can paddle, stop, drift, and fish would be just perfect. Definately, we will check the local conditions before any attempt to kayak.

I hoping to get some feedback on the freshwater fishing, both river and reservoir. I do know that there is a trout fishing at Pu'u Lua Reservoir in Koke'e, weekends only in September. Just not sure if the access road is 4WD or not (I'm sure we'll have a Neon or something similuar). Hopefully, I will get more replys to this post or I'll just do a new post.

Thanks again everyone!

3 Chihuahuas