Hiking is a great way to see some of Kauai’s grandest sights, but unless you’re up for an overnight adventure, you really can’t see all that the Garden Island has to offer this way. There’s just so much here to explore and going by your own two feet limits you. The good news is that a great alternative exists and that alternative is readily offered via the Kauai ATV tours.
Kauai ATV Tours operates in southern Kauai with its headquarters in Koloa. However, while you can visit with the team and buy tickets at the Koloa headquarters, the group’s two tours both start at a staging area near old Koloa Sugar Mill just outside of town at the end of Muhaulepu Road. Once you get here, the tour guides will get you situated with a properly sized ATV machine and then you’ll be sent off onto a truly unique off-road adventure deep into Kauai’s unspoiled backcountry.
Exactly where your ATV adventure with Kauai ATV takes you will depend upon which of their two main tours you opt for:
Makauwahi Cave Tour
Taking off from the old Koloa Sugar Mill, guests will drive their ATVs across old plantation trails and through forest regrowth. You’ll see towering mountain landscapes on one side and long ocean blue vistas on the other as you make your way towards the famous Makauwahi Cave Reserve.
The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is one of the most important dig sites on the Hawaiian islands due to its offering an incredible 10,000 years of the sedimentary record. Digs here have enabled experts to record conditions during and even before human colonization of the Hawaiian islands, making it potentially the richest fossil site in the entirety of the Pacific Island region.
To appreciate the Makauwahi Cave Reserve in full requires good mobility. You will need to crawl on all fours in order to enter the cave’s entrance due to that entrance being a natural outlet. Once inside, expect some walking and hiking amidst uneven terrain and tight corridors.
If you prefer to soak in the sun rather than traipse in the dark, opt for Kauai ATV’s Waterfall Tour. This extended adventure takes guests across 23 miles of diverse off-road trails meandering in and around the 22,000-acre historic Grove Farm. Enjoy kicking up dirt and mud on your adventure machine as you drive up on the natural landscapes used as backdrops for blockbuster films like Fast & Furious and Jurassic Park.
Of course, as the name of the tour suggests, the real highlight of this 3-4 hour tour is the waterfall. After you power through the Wilcox tunnel, a .5 mile unlit tunnel cut through the Haupu Mountain Range, you’ll find yourself at the base of a waterfall and plunging pool. This is the perfect place to jump in and clean off some of that dirt and grime collected on the way.
Speaking of which, ATV tours are dirty. You will get mud on you and that red mud will not rub off easily. Do not bring any expensive, delicate items on this trip but do bring a love for things fast, muddy, and wild.
-It bears repeating, you will get dirty on this trip. Leave anything that cannot get wet, muddy, or dirty behind. Overall, the less you bring and have to keep an eye on, the better. Nicely, Kauai ATV will provide guests with a complimentary bandana that’ll protect their face during the ride and become a cool souvenir piece afterward.
-Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 25 ages or older and all guests who want to drive must be 18 and have a valid driver’s license.
-While the Waterfall Tour is wheelchair accommodative, the Maukauwahi Cave Tour is not. Call Kauai ATV directly for any questions or concerns you might have regarding personal mobility.
-Bring the right shoes for your tour. If you are booking the Maukauwhi Cave Reserve Tour, this means closed-toe shoes that are comfortable to hike in. If you are booking the Waterfall Tour, this means water-friendly shoes.