Kauai Hiking | Kalalau Trail & Hanakāpī’ai Trail (Nā Pali Coast)
Kalalau Trail (11 miles)
Hanakāpī’ai Trail (2 miles)
If you are searching for the world’s most challenging and breathtaking Kauai hiking experience, look no further than the Garden Island of Kauai. Here, the treacherous and ominous 11-mile Kalalau Trail awaits you, where you can experience the Nā Pali Coast scenery face-to-face, a Kauai hiking experience to never forget.
If you find the 11-mile Kalalau Trail to be too strenuous, then a popular Kauai hiking trail is the 2-mile Hanakāpī’ai Trail, which is also the first 2 miles of the Kalalau Trail. Both trails begin at Kē’ē Beach. After 2 miles of Kauai hiking, you will end up at the beautiful Hanakāpī’ai Beach, a sandy beach surrounded by a heavenly rainforest-like valley. Hiking 2 miles further into the valley, one will discover an amazing waterfall which creates a refreshing, bubbling stream, that winds through the valley, cuts through the beach, flows over large boulders, and finally goes out to sea.
Continuing on, the 11-mile Kalalau Trail comes to an official end at Kalalau Beach. Depending on the season, Kalalau Beach may be a narrow strip of sand, or a long, expansive, sandy beach. Hikers must obtain a permit to camp overnight here, and it is highly recommended to do so as the treacherous Kalalalu Trail demands recovery with a good night’s sleep before returning to Kē’ē Beach.
Important Points for Kauai Hiking on the Kalalau Trail
- Plan the Kalalau Trail hike by making an advanced reservation for camping in the “Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.” Rates are $15 per person per night for Hawaii residents, and $20 per person for non-residents. [Buy Camping Permit]
- To access the trailhead for the Kalalau Trail and the Hanakāpī’ai Trail you must arrange for your parking/transportation in to Ke’e Beach. [Buy Shuttle Pass / Parking Permit]
- Be advised that hazardous conditions prevail on the Kalalau Trail. You must be aware of the dangers presented from falling rocks, flash floods, and hazardous cliffs.
- Should you not be able to make the entire 11 miles to Kalalau, permits allow camping at Hanakoa, which is 6 miles in from the trailhead.
- Open fires are prohibited.
- All water from streams must be treated.
- No trash service whatsoever, so please respect the land and haul out what you haul in.
A word of warning: Only attempt this if you are well-educated on the terrain of the trail which is extremely difficult for even the most-experienced hiker!