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  • Features

    Beach, Birdwatching, Camping, Cave, Forrest, River, Views, Waterfalls, Wildlife

  • Difficulty

    Strenuous

Kalalau Trail is one of the most difficult and challenging hikes on Kauai. Follow in the footsteps of ancient Hawaiians. This 11 mile stretch of coast is the original trail used by the Hawaiians who lived in Kalalau Valley and other valleys along the Napali. The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to the Napali Coast on Kauai.

Ke’e Beach To Hanakapi’ai (2 Miles) The first two miles of the Kalalau Trail ends at Hanakapiai Beach. In the case of high water or heavy rains do not attempt to cross the river. Hanakapiai Falls and beyond Hanakap’ai is recommended for experienced hikers only. The challenging hike to the falls takes you two miles further into the Hanakapiai Valley, a 120-foot waterfall. Keep in mind that by adding the Hanakapiai Falls portion to the trip will make it an eight mile round trip.

Hanakapi’a to Hanako  NOTE: Hiking permits are required to hike beyond Hanakapi’ai Valley.

This portion of the trail becomes strenuous and steep as the trail climbs 800 feet out of Hanakapi’ai valley. The trail traverses the Hono o Na Pali Natural Area Reserve in hanging valleys of Ho’olulu and Waiahuakua beforeyou enter Hanakoa Valley.

Near the Hanakoa Stream crossing, a rest area and facilities including a composting toilet and two roofed shelters.

The trail crosses the stream well back in the valley, therefore there is no shoreline access at Hanakoa. In fact, Hanakoa is a hanging valley without a beach – the stream exhausts itself over cliffs at the ocean’s edge.

For experienced hikers in excellent shape, allow for a long day (8+ hours) to complete the round trip from Ha’ena State Park to Hanakoa. Day hikes beyond Hanakoa are not recommended.

Hanakoa to Kalalau ( 5 miles) The remaining 5 miles after Hanakoa the trail becomes drier and more open with less opportunity for shade. Many prts of the trail are narrow and have steep drop offs on the ocean side. Use extreme caution. Hike through lush valleys, forge up steep inclines of jagged sea cliffs, cool off in cool mountain streams and drop back to sea level to Kalalau Beach.

Reconstruction of the trail happened from 1935-1937 and continues to be maintained to fight erosion from weather, feral goats and wild boar. Remains of lava rock terraces built by the Hawaiians can still be seen today. These terraces in these valleys were used to cultivate the taro plant, a staple in the Hawaiians diet similar to that of the potato.

Camping Permits are required for any hiking beyond Hanakapiai Valley

Hiking Kalalau requires a bit of planning and general conditioning. A maximum stay of 5 nights is allowed in Na Pali Coast State Park. Within the 5-night maximum. No two consecutive nights are allowed at Hanakapiai or Hanakoa. Designated camping areas along the trail do not have tables or drinking water. Composting toilets are available at some of the sites.

Fun Ways To Explore NaPali Coast

Hanakapi’ai to Hanakoa (4 miles) The stretch of trail beyond Hanakapiai is the gateway to Kalalau, one of the most difficult and challenging hikes on Kauai. The challenging and strenuous hiking begins a switchback and 800 feet climb out of Hanakapiai valley. This is an enchanted hike, famous for its breathtaking beauty, hanging valleys and iron red and emerald green cliffs that rise thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean. The trail takes you through the hanging valleys of Ho’olulu and Waiahuakua before entering Hanakoa Valley.  A variety of native lowland forest plants and birds can be seen in this area. After crossing the Hanakoa Stream you will find a rest area for hikers and backpackers. Facilities include a composting toilet and two roofed shelters. The shelters are set amongst the old taro terraces. The trail crosses the stream deep in the valley and there is no shoreline access from Hanakoa.

Hanakoa to Kalalau ( 5 miles) The remaining 5 miles after Hanakoa the trail becomes drier and more open with less opportunity for shade. Many prts of the trail are narrow and have steep drop offs on the ocean side. Use extreme caution. Hike through lush valleys, forge up steep inclines of jagged sea cliffs, cool off in cool mountain streams and drop back to sea level to Kalalau Beach.

Reconstruction of the trail happened from 1935-1937 and continues to be maintained to fight erosion from weather, feral goats and wild boar. Remains of lava rock terraces built by the Hawaiians can still be seen today. These terraces in these valleys were used to cultivate the taro plant, a staple in the Hawaiians diet similar to that of the potato.

Camping Permits are required for any hiking beyond Hanakapiai Valley

Hiking Kalalau requires a bit of planning and general conditioning. A maximum stay of 5 nights is allowed in Na Pali Coast State Park. Within the 5-night maximum. No two consecutive nights are allowed at Hanakapiai or Hanakoa. Designated camping areas along the trail do not have tables or drinking water. Composting toilets are available at some of the sites.

Hiking Tips

Heading into Kauai’s interior and remote terrain offers dome of the most beautiful backdrops on the world. By doing a little planning and being prepared you will make your hiking trip one of your best Kauai experiences.

  • Hiking Plan Always tell someone where you are hiking (name and location of trail) you plan to hike and when you plan on returning.
  • Water  Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. Carry your water bottle in your hand and drink small amounts often. Make sure if you are drinking water from any streams or fresh water sources you purify your water with a purifier is certified to filter microbial leptosporosis or giardia (not all do).
  • Food  Carry high-energy, salty snacks as well as meals. The hike out is much easier when you provide your body with enough calories to support the extreme physical activity you are engaged in.
  • Weather Check the weather before you set off on your hike. Kauai Weather Forecast
  • First Aid It is important to know that cuts in tropical climates should be monitored closely. Don not expose open wounds or cuts to river water.
  • Proper Footwear There are a variety of footwear options to choose from. The best advise is to wear what is comfortable for you. Do not break in new shoes along a hiking trail.
  • Clothing  Dress in layers so you can protect your skin from the tropical sun. Wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen is recommended. A light rain jacket is recommended.
Kalalau Trail SKU UPC Model

Disappointed

Jan 04, 2015 by Jeff Sambur

The place is beautiful. No doubt. It\'s a shame the Hawaiian Park Service turns a blind eye to the squatters and squalor.
Please read my thoughts if you are considering hiking this.

http://jeffsambur.blogspot.com/2014/12/occupy-na-pali.html


Awesome Hike!

Mar 27, 2014 by Brandy

My husband and I just did this hike in March and it was truly beautiful! It had been raining so good hiking shoes made the difference on the slippery trail rocks and mud. I wrote a review on my blog and psoted some photos of our hike too - http://www.thewaterfalls.ca/?p=1753


Favorite Place To Hike

Feb 22, 2013 by Tanya

Awesome hike along the Na Pali coast. Highly recommended for those looking to a challenge and solitude.


4.0 5.0 3 3 The place is beautiful. No doubt. It\'s a shame the Hawaiian Park Service turns a blind eye to the squatters and squalor. Please read my thoughts if you are considering hiking thi Kalalau Trail

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