There are many amazing reasons to visit Kauai, but seeing the Nā Pali Coast is definitely number one on the list. With jungles and emerald green cliffs plunging down into aqua marine waters, it is truly a majestic site. The hike along the Nā Pali Coast is by far one of the most beautiful trails in all of Hawaii.
This stunning coastline remains surprisingly intact, purely due to its remote location. The only way to access it by land is by hiking the Kalalau Trail. The Kalalau Trail is a strenuous 11-mile hike one way, from Ke’e Beach to the Kalalau Valley. It is a difficult hike, but one that is also very rewarding! It requires multiple days to complete, and a camping permit from the Hawaii State Park. The only other way to view the beautiful scenery of the Nā Pali Coast is by kayak tours, boat tours, or air tours.
Although the full hike is 11 miles, most people opt to hike only pieces of the trail, making the first few miles of the Kalalau Trail a popular day hike.
What to Bring
– Proper Footwear
– Light rain jacket – depending on weather conditions
– Camera (it’s freaking gorgeous!)
There are two most common day hikes: hiking from Ke’e Beach to Hanaka’I’ai Beach, or hiking from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai Falls.
- Ke’e Beach to the Hanakapi’ai Beach (4 miles roundtrip)
The trek is a fairly easy 4 miles round trip hike, two miles out and two miles back. This hike hugs the gorgeous rugged coastline and is a well laid out path. There are even stairs in the beginning of the hike.
Towards the end of the hike the path opens up to a lush river valley. From there it is a short walk to the Hanakapi’ai Beach. Be warned though, this beach can be dangerous depending on ocean conditions, so proceed with caution as there are no lifeguards.
- Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai Falls (8 miles roundtrip)
This trek is an extension of the first hike. After hiking the first 2 miles out to the river valley, you will then hike another 2 miles into the Hanakapi’ai Valley to a remote waterfall. The two miles to the waterfall is more difficult, as it can be muddy and slippery. The path is not as clearly laid out, and you have to walk through river streams. It is important to be extra careful during this hike. During my trip a fellow hiker fell, injuring her leg, and she had to be rescued by helicopter. Since you are hiking into the center of the island, you also will no longer will have those gorgeous coastline views. But the waterfall at the end is a massive 300 feet tall and definitely worthy of the 8-mile trek roundtrip!
Over to you, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!