The Kalahiwai River is the “Other” river on the north shore of Kauai. Traveling by board or kayak on this river makes you feel like you are entering another era.
The Kalihiwai River is a short one – perhaps a mile and a half. You get in at Kalihiwai Beach (directions below). Pull to the parking lot and look to your left. There is a local road and a little ramp that leads down to the river. Launch your paddle board there.
Going up the river is super easy, though we encountered some tree branches hanging over the river which we had to sort of crawl through. It’s worth it though. You go under the highway bridge which is spectacular. Then a little ways up the river turns to the right and eventually the shallow water forces you to beach your board.
If you are wearing good water socks you can walk up further upstream. We weren’t the day we took a picture, but it looks to be an awesome water hike. Be aware that there’s a bit of a current when you are in that shallow water.
Honestly, though, it feels like you’ve entered the Jurassic Park world. Very private and serene. Could be the best paddle on Kauai, even if it’s short.
How to do it
We brought our own inflatable paddle boards with us, but you can also rent them from Kayak Hanalei. Bring some good straps with you and then you have the choice of inflating the boards when you arrive, or attach them to your car’s roof. I use straps by Husky that I got at Home Depot.