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Posted on Feb 23, 2014 | 1 comment

Kauai Backcountry Adventures: Tubing Kauai’s Historic Irrigation System

Kauai Backcountry Adventures: Tubing Kauai’s Historic Irrigation System

One of the most unique tours we went on while visiting Kauai was with Kauai Backcountry Adventures. We were beyond excited when they invited to host us on their Tubing Tour through Kauai’s historic irrigation system. If you’ve seen the picture for this tour pinned on Pinterest showing people inner-tubing on Kauai, you know why we were looking forward to going on this tour.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Drew testing out his equipment to make sure everything worked.

Heading Out with Kauai Backcountry Adventure

Once we grabbed our hard hats and head lamps, our adventure kicked off with boarding Kauai Backcountry Adventure’s four-wheel-drive vehicles for a tour of a former Lihue ranch hidden deep in Kauai’s tropical surroundings. The former ranch hosting the ditch and tunnel tubing is owned by Steve Case, America Online founder. Buying the Kauai ranch land for $75 an acre, Case, who grew up in Hawaii, wanted to invest some of his tech fortune into his home state as a way to help preserve the land from development.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

A historic water canal.

Kauai’s Historic Irrigation System

The historic irrigation system found on this ranch once provided water to vast sugar crops until 2000 when sugar production came to a stop on Kauai. The canals brought water down from the top of Mount Waialeale, one of the wettest spots in the world, to the dryer coastal regions on the east side. The sugar cane fields may now be gone, but the flumes, tunnels, and canals still exist, gently carrying water just as they did over 100 years ago.

If you think you could get your own inner-tubes and hop in the irrigation canals yourself, you can’t. Kauai Backcountry Adventures has exclusive access to the historic irrigation system hand-dug by plantation workers over a century ago. The only way to even find this hidden water system that runs through a beautifully, remote area of the island is with Kauai Backcountry Adventures.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Beautiful bamboo growing at Kauai Backcountry Adventures’ launch site.

A Tour of Kauai by Inner-Tube

When you arrive at the launch site you’ll learn about some of the plants in the area before heading down to the gentle flowing waters of the flume system. Staff helps you easily get into your tube to start your tour through miles of ditches, tunnels, and flumes. A slow gravity flow, like a lazy river, will take you for a mild floating thrill ride through the open canals of twists and turns going through five tunnels.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Drew enjoying the tubing tour.

Don’t be misled by the gentle waters, this is truly a fun and fascinating way to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in Kauai’s upcountry. The Tubing Tour has become so popular; it fills up weeks in advance. With lunch provided of sandwiches, Hawaiian chips, Kauai Kookies, and beverages in a covered picnic area, after the fantastic tubing tour, it’s easy to see why.

Make Your Reservations in Advance with Kauai Backcountry Adventures

You can make reservations to go on your own Tubing Tour with Kauai Backcountry Adventures by visiting their website-

Have you ever been on the Kauai Backcountry Adventures Tubing Tour?

All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2014.

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About Kimmy Hayes


Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.

1 Comment

  1. I’m glad to know about this in case we ever get to go back. I had no idea, but it sounds so wonderful to just drift down the ditches.
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