Powerline Trail Horseback Riding

South of Princeville or east of Wailua on Kauai, the Powerline Trail is a popular 13 mile horseback riding route with awesome views of the lush forests. It is along an old dirt road cut through a wilderness-like setting in the 1900s for power line installation. Unfortunately, during the installation of new towers in the early 2000s, the majority of the route got really beat up and is heavily rutted.

It runs from Princeville in the north, along a southeastern route to a point west of Wailua. The route ranges from 650 to 2,000 feet in altitude. It is still occasionally used to service the electric lines. The route starting from Princeville is easy to intermediate. The route starting from Wailua is advanced due to a challenging climb right from the start. Therefore, many start the route in Princeville and head south for 8 miles to the ridge and then return via the same route. The first 1.5 miles are nice and climb gently. Then all goes to hell with a steep, washed out climb that is followed by a deeply rutted slick clay section.

To reach the horseback riding trailhead from Princeville, head east on SR56 to Kapa ka Street (between milepost 27 and 28, and marked by Princeville Ranch sign). Head south on Kapaka Street for 1.8 miles to the signed trailhead near the large water tanks. To reach the southeastern trailhead from Wailua, head west on SR580 (Kuamoo Road) for 6.6 miles to the end of the pavement. Ford the river and continue up the dirt road for 0.25 miles to the trailhead sign on the right (yes, the trail is that extremely rocky, gnarly climb heading north).


Local Contact(s):  Hawaii Visitors (808) 245-3971; Hawaii Trail & Access System (808) 274-3433; Outfitters Kauai (808) 742-9667; Kauai Weather (808) 245-6001.

Recommended Book:  "Ultimate Kauai Guidebook" from Andrew Doughty

Best Season:  Any

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Hanalei Beach Park Campground or Haena Beach Park Campground (808) 241-4463

Luxury Loding:  Princeville Hotel; Hanalei Colony Resort

Breakfast Restaurant:  Wake Up Cafe, Hanalei; Java Kai, Hanalei

Date Published:  

Date Updated:  7/6/2016


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For horseback riding the Powerline Trail in Hawaii, our printable trail guides offers trail descriptions, maps, lodging suggestions, driving directions, levels of difficulty and points-of-contact.