My favourite trail and hike in Hawaii.
Hands down, this is undoubtedly the most incredible hike in Hawaii and one of the best hikes I have done to far! It is situated perfectly between the ocean and the steep lush cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. Everywhere you look there is lush greenery, unspoiled beaches, roaring waterfalls and epic views.
KALALAU TRAIL - NA PALI COAST
Length: 17,5km (one way)
Elevation gain: 202 meters
Round type: Out & Back
Trail Condition: Well-maintained
The Kalalau Trail is a 35 km trail that leads from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. There is also many side trails to captivating waterfalls and beautiful valleys. I hiked the trail by myself and headed out early in the morning as I wanted to cease as much as I could of the day.
Starting off at Ke´e Beach, the first section to Hanakapi’ai is the most crowded as many people do day-hikes to the Hanakapi’ai falls. The views are amazing as the trail heads up the ridge and breaks into the lush jungle. Don’t forget to stop once you get above the jungle to have a peek behind you, here you will find the best view over the Ke’e Beach!
I actually skipped the Hanakapi’ai falls as I wanted to get passed the crowds and all the muddy trails. Even though the first section is gorgeous passing the Hanakapi’ai valley and entering the NaPali Coast State Wilderness Park is undoubtably a sight I will never forget. It feels like entering the world of the Jurassic Park!
The next section is through three valleys and as I didn’t have enough time to hike all the way to Kalalau Beach and back, I choose to hike through the three valleys and up to Hanakoa Falls. A great choice as I had the impressive fall all to myself. Swimming in the water and being surrounded by green walls, poundering water and just the noise of nature is an incredible feeling!
I figured out I still had some time before I had to turn back so I continued towards Kalalau Beach.This last section of the trail is very narrow and there is a part with a series of switchbacks that is referred as “Crawler’s Ledge”. Passing this part was kind of nail-biting at first but then I got so focused I forgot about the steep edges. I continued for about 1 km after Crawler’s Ledge when I understood that I had to turn back to get home before sunset. This was quite frustrating as I only had 3 km left and I was so close to the finish line. 3 km is 6 km as I had to hike back the same way again so I understood that I was defeated and had to go back. Everyone told me how beautiful Kalalau Valley and Beach is so I need to head back again to complete the hike and camp on Kalalau Beach.
For me this is one of the most amazing hikes I have done even though I didn’t have the time to hike it all. The NaPali Coast is …. truly a magical place.