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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Thursday
Sep092010

Kapa'a to Kealia Bike Path - Kauai's Prettiest Coastline

It doesn't get any better than this: A bike, a backpack, bathing suit and snorkel, and miles of rugged coastline, easily accessible along a paved bike path.

It is hard to believe this scenic route is just steps away from the congested hub-bub of Kapa'a Town, but, starting along the coast, just about parallel to the entrance to Cost U Less, the Kapa'a - Kealia Bike Path traverses the quiet, palm line Coconut Coast all the way through the business district, and half way to Anahola.

Once the path starts to climb and wind along the gentle sea cliffs just past Kawaihau Road,  it follows the original grade of Kauai's first highway, which probably followed railroad tracks that enabled plantation managers to get their sugar cane out of the up-lying fields and out to market.

Leaving Kapa's Town, the path winds along the white topped cobalt waters of the sea until it comes alongside of the expansive Kealia Beach -- a local favorite surf spot. Don't stop here, however, for the best of the coast is yet to come!

Back in the 1990s, when the Kealia Sugar Co. went out of business and sold its lands to a real estate developer, around 200 junk and abandoned cars were removed from the area between Kealia and Anahola. Part of the planning negotations with the County involved development of a bike path/ coastal recreation area, and work started on the bike path that we have today.

An old dirt road that traversed this area and led to Donkey Beach -- a notorious nude beach of old -- was graded and paved; archaeological sites identified and preserved, picnic shelters, and landscaping installed. Today the secluded Donkey Beach is a haven for surfers, but please don't swim here! There is no lifeguard for miles and the currents are treacherous.

Better yet, continue up the bike path until it ends, then hike one of several dirt trails that traverse the coastline until you come to a picturesque little cove.

Amidst the black lava rock boulders and coral formations a multitude of brightly colored fish sway like tiny dancers in the wave tossed current. This protected cove is picturesque and secluded. Hiking trails continue up the coast.

Future plans by Kauai County include bike path extensions from Lydgate Park to Kapa'a Town and in other areas of the island. Presently the Lydgate Park area of the apth is embroiled in heated debate with Hawaiian preservation groups who feel that disruption of the beach north of the Wailua River would disturb ancient sites.