NTBG After Hours

Yesterday evening we went on a cool hike with the Sierra Club. One of the hike leaders works at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens (NTBG) on the south shore and can give private tours. So we got to walk around both the Allerton and the McBryde gardens after hours and see parts of the property you don’t usually see on the daytime tours. Both gardens are in Lawai valley between Poipu and Kalaheo, but even locals don’t always know the difference:

  • The McBryde Garden is up in the valley and contains the various collections of plants. Plant lovers will be amazed at all the different varieties, some extremely rare and all well marked with tags. The paths are mostly service roads, except for the pretty trail along the stream. There are also a few theme paths: one displays the canoe plants that the Polynesians brought to Hawaii, the other presents various spice plants to your sight and smell.
  • The Allerton Garden is located in the lower valley and goes all the way down to Lawai beach. It is more formal with walkways, fountains and pools, yet follows the natural contours of the valley. It also contains many types of plants, but here they are chosen for their aesthetic rather than their botanical merit. Beneath the palms by the beach is the Allerton house which can only be visited through special paying tours.

A 20 foot (6m) waterfall carves a graceful S-shaped path through the rocks before fanning out into the pool below

A variety of palm whose name I did not catch has spread naturally around the pool at the base of the falls

On this hike, we went further up the valley on a closed trail to a little waterfall. Palms from the gardens have spread naturally around the pool at the base of the falls, making a unique setting. I don’t know of any other natural palm-tree ringed pool on the island.

The moon silhouettes the typical fan of a traveller

Something else you can’t see on the daytime tours:
a relative of the night-blooming cereus doing its thing.
Update: more info about this plant in a newer post.

The Sierra Club offers this hike several times per year, and I highly recommend it. They are timed to coincide with the full moon, but you’ll probably still want a flashlight. If you’re visiting Kaua’i, be sure to check out their schedule of hikes to see if there is one while you’re on the island. Because it is a private tour, you do have to be a member, but it’s worth joining just to go.

Printed from: http://great-hikes.com/blog/ntbg-after-hours/.
© 2024.


  1. Tiffany says:


    I am traveling to Kaua’i from November 6th to the 13th and am interested in hiking many of the more difficult trails to fully appreciate the island. I am an avid hiker who is used to strenuous desert hikes around southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon and I look forward to what Kauai’s trails and scenery have to offer. I am interested particularily in a hiking partner as I am unfamiliar with the island and am lost as to the sheer number of hikes I’ve read about. Even if that partner was available for one day hike, I’d appreciate the direction and advice.

    Any information you could provide would be helpful. I have already looked at the Sierra Club hike schedule and their only hike during my stay is on the last full day (12th Nov). I will plan to attend that hike, but want to get more in.



  2. Andy says:

    I’m sorry this is so late, I just remembered your comment on my blog and realized this was your week of vacation. I have been swamped with my computer job, so I haven’t had time to go hiking recently–nor reply in time.

    I hope you did get out to hike this week, any of the hikes in the guide books will give you a different perspective of Kauai. Actually, the Sierra Club hike on Saturday to Waipoo Falls is one of the best in that area–it has the best views and it’s relatively easy.

    If you receive this in time, a hike suggestion for tomorrow, Friday would be Maha’ulepu starting at the beach in front of the Hyatt. If you’re willing to drive to Kokee two days in a row, then I suggest the 11+ mile Nualolo-Awaawapuhi loop starting near the Kokee Museum. It’s got gorgeous views over Na Pali and plenty of hikers to be a safe trail. An alternative on the East Side is the Wailua River kayak with any of the guided or unguided outfitters. It’s 2+ miles of easy paddling and a one-mile hike to a pretty waterfall each way. On the North Shore, I recommend the Okolehao trail that begins in the wildlife refuge along the Hanalei River. Feel free to ask for further details on any of these.

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