Taking a hike in the pristine natural environment on the island of Kauai is one of the top activities for many individuals, couples and groups who come here for a vacation. One of the best areas for hiking on Kauai is along the Napali coast, an area raved about across the globe for its beautiful and unique surroundings. There are many different trails and sites to choose from of course, so be sure to consider where you want to go before you set out.
The most famous hiking trail on the Napali coast is the Kalalau Trail. This is located within the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. The trail extends for 11 miles, with several additional trail offshoots, from the trailhead in Ha’ena State Park, through Hanakapi’ai, Hanakoa and finally Kalalau.
This 11-mile trail through is broken into four different sections. Depending on the level of exertion you’re looking for, any specific sites you may want to view, and how long you want to spend, you’ll be able to tackle different challenges.
The first part of the trail is the Kalalau Trailhead. From here, two miles takes you to the beach at Hanakapi’ai. Within just a half a mile or so from your start, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the Napali coastline. At a leisurely pace and with time to enjoy your destination, it’s roughly a half day, or 4 hour, excursion.
To move beyond Hanakapi’ai, you’ll need a permit. It also will become more strenuous and advanced. To navigate the entire trail and come back, it’s really a backpacking expedition, and there are two well-known camping sites at different destinations.
The next phase of the trail is a 2 mile journey leading you to a beautiful waterfall. This is the point of the trail that many individuals want to reach. It’s a 300-foot tall waterfall which is absolutely breathtaking. It’s recommended that you avoid the final portion of this trail if there is rain or other bad weather, as flash floods could occur, and crossing rocks and streams may be slippery.
From there, you can continue another 4 miles to Hanakoa. You’ll reach the highest point of the trail as you pass through the Hono’o Napali Natural Area Reserve. You’ll also be able to find another waterfall, this time even higher. It’s the 500-foot Hanakoa Falls, and it’s another pristine destination which has to be seen. If you’ve made it this far, it may be time to call it a day and visit the campsite located along the Hanakoa Stream.
Still, there’s another 5 miles of trail left. You’ll pass Pu’ukulua, or the Red Hill, and then Kalalau Stream. You’ll end up with a steep downhill hike which takes you to the Kalalau Beach and campsite.
If you make it all the way there and back, you will have completed a once in a lifetime experience you’ll always cherish!
For more information about the trail, permit requirements, and more, visit Hawaii State Parks website. Of course, you can also feel free to consult with our on-site concierge here at the Koloa Landing Resort for more information at anytime!