Hike to Turtle Cave

Hawaii Turtle Cave Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Swimming, Hiking, Diving, Fitness, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    0.75 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    62 Feet

Easy Parking
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Repel down the cliffs of Kauai to visit a cave inhabited by sea turtles! 

Turtle Cave is located within a small bay on the Princeville side of Kauai. This hike requires swimming, repelling down a steep cliff and potentially high tides.  This particular access point is located on private property, so you should be staying in one of the rentals or traveling with a guest. 

When you turn right on Edward Rd, make your second left just before the dead end. You will want to park towards the end of the parking lot and walk between buildings 3 & 4 towards the ocean. 

Look for a sign that says "Warning High Surf Below" and this is where the dirt trail begins. The initial hike is along a red dirt path with minimal descent. As you continue, the trail morphs into an extremely rocky path requiring the use of existing ropes to repel downward. 

As you reach the bottom, you will need to boulder over several rocks until you see the opening face of the cave. Be sure to look for sea turtles as they are often swimming in the bay area if not sleeping inside - hence, the name Turtle Cave! 

You must be able to assess the tide and your ability to reach the cave. DO NOT attempt this during high tide or during the winter months. During the summer, you can typically swim or even wade up to the beach. 

Once you reach the beach, begin exploring the cave and be on the watch for turtles. If you are lucky enough to see the turtles, just remember they are protected by state and federal laws, which prohibit you from approaching them. 

Continue towards the back of the cave which slightly bends to reveal a second opening to the ocean. This is why you may also hear the term "Two Headed Turtle Cave". When you are finished enjoying this incredible adventure, simply return the way you came. 

Pack List

  • Dry Sack
  • Water & Snacks
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimwear
  • Water Shoes
  • Headlamp
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Overall rating: 

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I put the pin into my Apple Maps app and had absolutely no trouble finding the trailhead. I also had zero trouble descending to the cave. I could see that it may be treacherous if it was wet/muddy, but if you hold onto the ropes you will be fine. The only thing I would say is to be mindful of both the people staying at the Ali'i Kai resort (as they are paying to be there), but more importantly if you're lucky enough to encounter sea turtles do not harass them. This is their natural habitat and we don't want to ruin it for them!

4 months ago
4 months ago

Update: I think we took the wrong trail! Note: do NOT take the trail directly behind the warning sign at the turn-around at the end of Edward Rd. The directions listed here say to take a "second left" after turning onto Edward Rd., but there is no second left (just one), so I'm not sure where the proper trailhead starts. ----- I am an experienced hiker/backpacker and a total risk-taker, but this "trail" should not be attempted without ropes and climbing gear. I took some buddies there yesterday and there were no existing ropes to help us down - only tree roots. After 20 minutes or so of a super unsafe descent, I called it and we turned back for a super unsafe ascent. I can't imagine attempting this after a rain. My advice: DO NOT GO WITHOUT CLIMBING GEAR.

6 months ago
6 months ago

So just wanted to mention to anyone that finds this cave to be mindful that the animals you find here are endangered and the more people who find out and start to frequent this place, the more likely you'll push them out of this safe haven they have from predators and human habitat destruction. The locals are serious about keeping this place a secret from the growing number of tourists so if you do post photos or find out how to get there they have asked that you keep from tagging where this place is and telling more people how to get there. This is an extremely special place and preserving it would be the top priority.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Dan DeubleinExplorer

Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and editor of The Proper Function, an outdoor online editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.

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