Kauai is known for many things, among them the stunning terrain that lies along the northwestern coast. Impassible by vehicle due to the sheer cliffs that plummet down into the sea, the only way to experience this stretch of scenic coastline is by boat or via the Kalalau Trail. Even hiking a short way along the trail reveals picturesque views of the famed Na Pali coastline, with tropical foliage framing the azure water and dramatic mountain backdrops. Bring your hiking boots along on your Kauai getaway and explore the scenic Kalalau Trail!
A Difficult, Rewarding Hike
The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trail that traverses extremely rugged terrain. If you hike the entire trail, it will be a tough 22-mile hike round trip and is not for the faint of heart. Hiking the entirety of the trail means you will get to experience the beauty of the secluded Kalalau Beach, where many hikers opt to camp before making the tough return trek. However, permits are required and must be secured far in advance. The full hike should only be completed by experienced hikers, as there are many steep drop-offs that plunge far into the ocean below, and the trail becomes very dangerous with heavy rains.
If you’re not up for the full trek, there is still much to be enjoyed along the Kalalau Trail. Even hiking a half mile in will reveal stunning coastline views. Two miles in, hikers can cross a stream and then relax at Hanakapiai Beach. This beautiful, secluded beach is best left for lounging along the shoreline and refueling, as the dangerous current causes it to be the site of drownings every year. Care should also be taken in crossing the stream prior to the beach, and crossing should not be attempted when there are potential flash flooding conditions. Hiking along the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Beach is a 4-mile return trek, making it a great day hike along the coast.
Those who want to trek further can follow the split of the trail inland after Hanakapiai Beach, hiking two miles further to Hanakapiai Falls. This cascade tucked deep in the valley is a dramatic 300-foot waterfall. You’ll likely have worked up enough sweat by this point to enjoy a refreshing dip in the cold water at the base of the falls. As an 8-mile return trek with plenty of elevation gain, be sure to start early in the day and bring a lot of water if you plan on going this far. A permit is required to proceed any further down the Kalalau Trail.
Don’t forget to stop by the Kalalau lookout just a couple of miles from the trail!
Enjoy Nature on Kauai
Whether you’re in search of a casual day hike or a challenging backcountry camping expedition, the Kalalau Trail is sure to deliver! Contact us today to book your Kauai escape.