Time: ~1 HOUR
Distance: 0.8 MILES
Elevation Gain: 100 FEET
Foot Traffic: HIGH
Challenges: Parking, Slippery and Uneven footing, Dangerous Surf
Sights: Tidepools, Turtles
What to Bring: Shoes with good grip, Swimsuit and towel
If you find yourself in the northern part of Kaua'i, a trek to Queen's Bath is a must do. Getting to the "bath" requires a short hike from a Princeville neighborhood to the coastline, but watch your step! The hike can be a bit slippery. Once you reach the coast, you can view or swim in one of the many natural tidepools, assuming the conditions are safe. And if you are lucky, you may even have a turtle join you for your bathing experience. You're sure to feel a sense of royalty after visiting this beautiful place.
We finally reached our last day on Kaua'i before flying south to the Big Island. It had been a whirlwind of adventures, including hikes, boat tours, and lots of good food and drinks. But we weren't quite done yet. We wanted to make sure squeezed in one final adventure on the Garden Isle--the majestic Queen's Bath. After some coffee and breakfast, my mom, dad, and I made the short drive into Princeville to take a look at, and maybe even a swim in this natural beauty.
The hike is a short walk from a lot in a Princeville neighborhood. You follow the trail until you reach the coast and then head north along the coastline to reach the bulk of the baths. Looks easy on paper, but this hike does have a few tricks up it's sleeve.
The first being parking. If you maps the directions to the trailhead, it will bring you to this spot in a Princeville neighborhood. Unfortunately there are only a handful of parking spots and Princeville being a resort/upscale neighborhood, parking violations are actually enforced. So you very well might have to wait an extended period of time to get a spot. Luckily for us, we had gotten an early enough start that we snagged the last space.
The next obstacle you will face is this relatively uninviting set of signs. This trail is "officially" closed, but that definitely doesn't stop people from going. Simply follow the fence line to the right, where you will find an opening.
This is where we made a minor mistake. After going through the opening in the fence, we continued straight through what seemed to be the obvious path.
Unfortunately, that led us to this very muddy and slippery slope with very few holds. Fortunately it's a short slope, but it definitely required a bit of balance and concentration. Good news was my parents made it down safe and sound! Not bad for mainlanders!
What we should have done, was hook an immediate left after passing through the fence opening and follow the fence line.
And then start the descent here, which is where the locked gate actually led. Makes total sense in hindsight! This path, which we used on our way back up, is much more gradual than our original route.
Oh well! The hike to the coast isn't anything crazy, but as you can see, it is muddy and the footing is uneven, so be sure to watch your step!
There's that ocean coming into view!
Almost there. There aren't tricks to the route, just follow the obvious beat down path. And if you took a wrong turn somehow, oh well just keep heading towards the ocean.
After about 25 minutes, we had reached the coastline.
One of the first things you will see is this sobering sign. Tidepools, while beautiful, are very dangerous. They are all over Hawaii, and at least once a year you will hear of someone drowning at one of these places. The most important thing is to assess when it is too rough to go swimming and NEVER turn your back to the surf.
Luckily for us, it was a very calm morning, so we would be just fine swimming. Follow the rocky coast north to find the majority of the tidepools. This link has a good description of how to find the best baths.
Here we are. Love those different rock colors surrounding the pool. The name Queens Bath came from it's use by Queen Emma who was queen consort to King Kamehameha IV in the mid 1800s. She used it as a place to relax. The original bath was actually located on the Big Island at Kalapana, until it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, so the bath was moved here. It is still used for relaxation, but with considerably different clientele.
Such as turtles! We saw tons of them swimming in and out of the open pools.
Good morning Mr. Honu, having a nice little breakfast?
As you continue along the coast, you will find numerous pools you can take a dip in. Which one you choose is up to you.
Those colors though! All the different shades of blue and green.
We found a nice big pool a little farther up the coast.
A shot of the parents taking a little swim. (Not included, my extremely ungraceful leap into this pool)
Well it wouldn't be a complete adventure without a drone sesh.
A shot of that Princeville coastline and the numerous pools.
Just a quick detour over Hanalei Bay. If you have some time to spend on this part of the island, I highly recommend checking this place out. That beautiful beach, deep blue water, and mountain backdrop are unreal.
But back to the baths.
Even a greater appreciation of this place's beauty with the bird's eye view.
Just one last taste of the Garden Isle before we head to the airport. Next stop, Big Island. Wonder what magic it has in store for us?
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Also Check Out:
- Hawaii Gaga's post about this hike - This post about Queen's Bath history