While the cliffs provide incredible views, they’re also what make the hike so perilous. The trail starts at Ke’e Beach and ends at Kalalau Beach where there’s a campground. I chose the island of Kauai for our vacation because it is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The nā pali (high cliffs) along the shoreline rise as much as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the Pacific Ocean. Well, the easiest way to visit the Na Pali Coast is to take advantage of the services of a tour that will take you to the location by boat. Here's everything you need to know about hiking or backpacking the Kalalau Trail. Stay aware of falling rocks from overhead, Na Pali's coastline is crumbling and fragile; Pack your trash and protect the environment; You'll be hiking along a cliff, don\t use your phone or camera while walking. It takes 8 hours to complete the 11-mile hike one way to the destination beach, assuming the weather is good. The mosquitoes are pretty bad here though, whereas at the beach they’re mostly nonexistent. Following some key tips can help make your experience on this coastline safe and fun. Due to its remote location, it is not advisable to swim here anytime of year. I figured their online system would probably let me book 14 days out starting at midnight Kauai time. Na Pali Coast Hike. The Kalalau Trail (Kalalau Trail Description) provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. Sabbaticals have completely revolutionized my life. The most popular hike on Na Pali is to Hanakapi`ai where you will find a lush river valley. While the northeastern part of the island boasts world-record rainfall, the southwestern part of the island is much drier. Not to mention, the last thing you want on Crawlers Ledge is an overly large pack on your back. Do NOT attempt to cross the river when it's high. For the adventurous hiker, the strenuous eleven-mile "Kalalau Trail" is another incredible way to experience Na Pali. This ended up being extremely fortunate, because I saw a red announcement on the page: Napali Coast camping permits are currently available 2 weeks in advance. There is no potable water available on the Kalalau Trail, and all river water should be filtered. While there are some incredible hikes near Waimea Canyon, there is also an easy-to-access lookout point which requires only a 2-minute walk from the parking lot. The only other way to access this hidden coastline is by boat. You can hike the first 2 miles to Hanakapiai Falls without a permit but any further than that you will need the permit. I’ll check back tomorrow. This is an easy journey to a beautiful beach, perfect for a short day trip. I’d figured out what was happening: the permits were so limited, and in such high demand after the parks were closed for a year, that they were simply all taken within seconds of becoming available. The Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, including Kalalau Trail, is run by the DLNR. Continuing beyond this point requires a permit which you must purchase in advance, and permits can be difficult to obtain. Na Pali Coast stretches fifteen miles along the north west coast of Kauai between Ke`e Beach in Haena State Park to Polihale State Park in Mana. This hike begins at the parking lot of Ke'e Beach at the Northern most point you can drive to on the island. Is there a way people are booking further in advance somewhere else? The Nā Pali Coast State Park is a 6,175 acres (2,499 ha) Hawaiian state park located in the center of the rugged 16 miles (26 km) along the northwest side of Kauaʻi, the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island. You’ll want to top off whenever you can so you’re not left parched in the stretches of trail that have no cover and leave you exposed to the baking sun. It is a minimum 3-day round-trip journey for most people to hike all the way to Kalalau and back, which means that you h… You can hike 8 miles (roundtrip) to a waterfall or 4 miles (roundtrip) to Hanakapi`ai Beach (the beach is only there during summer months – be careful as ocean conditions can be dangerous and there are no lifeguards). These streams are also your only water source—and you’ll need to drink a lot more water than you can carry. This is where I learned the exact time at which the reservation window was to be extended on August 1st, 2019 and how I was able to snag a permit the moment they became available. It took over a year for the parks to finally re-open in June of 2019. In fact, it’s home to the Waimea Canyon (known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”). In preparing to publish, I figured I should include a link to obtain a Napali Coast Park camping permit as a convenience for those who may come across this post via search. This is how people lose their lives on Kalalau Trail. This is a rare occasion where we’re taking a full blown vacation over a sabbatical week—our first vacation since 2016! The trail drops to sea level at the beac… Dogs are also able to use this trail. The Kalalau Trail has grown to become a world famous backpacking trip. Today, Na Pali boat tours still offer the easiest way to explore this amazing coast. I saw this post on Reddit the other day, and I’m afraid this might be me when I come back. The stretch from Ke`e to Hanakapi`ai is particularly muddy; On the trail, proper footwear is crucial; Prepare to get dirty - anything white, will most likely be stained Kaua`i dirt red by the end of your adventure; Sun protection is a necessity under Hawaii's strong rays; Hydration is critical due to the strenuous trail and humidity – make sure to begin drinking a lot of water at least 2 days ahead of time and bring plenty of water with you. A similar foot trail linked earlier Hawaiian settlements along the coastline. Kauai has consumed my dreams for months. The trail traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted pali. While the trail is open to the public, most visitors only ever hike the first two miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach. Best nearby. You’d think the risks would deter most people, but they seem only to enhance the allure. Wait it out. Koke'e Mountains (148) 4 mi. ... • Select Location “Napali Coast State Wilderness Park”. One misstep, or muddy slip, will send you cascading hundreds of feet to a sure death on the rocks and waves below. Photo: Frugal Frolicker (used with permission). This is where the Kalalau Trail begins. Even if you could, it would be a long time before anyone could get to you. The trail traverses five valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted cliffs. Hawaiians relied on canoes to access Na Pali's numerous valleys, nearby Ni`ihau and outlying There is no cell service. 11 miles of hiking along the Na Pali Coast on the North Shore of the island of Kauai. I work six weeks and take off every seventh week as a sabbatical. Na Pali Coast is accessible via a strenuous foot trail that traverses 11 rugged miles from Ke`e Beach to Kalalau Valley. Mezmerizing and ominous is the Nā Pali Coast, the northwestern side of Kaua’i where no roads or homes exist. Keep in mind, you’ll likely have a backpack weighing something like 30lbs with all of your camping gear, which will keep you at a moderate pace. Na Pali Coast Ohana is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the preservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Napali Coast State Park, Kauai, Hawaii. What does one have to do to get a permit? Labeled the hike on Kauai, the Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trek into paradise. To think I was only a few weeks out from running into Mark Zuckerberg. Amazingly, no injuries resulted from the flooding, but landslides damaged roads and caused highway closures which cut off access to the northern part of the island entirely. If there’s a holy grail of all hikes in Hawaii, it’s got to be the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. You want to complete this stretch in as dry, and wind-free, conditions as possible. The people in the group are incredibly helpful, and the search feature will reveal a wealth of information about the trail and how to prepare. Hiking beyond Hanakapi`ai Valley requires a state permit, where the trail continues on to Hanakoa Valley, eventually ending at magnificent Kalalau Valley. Originally built in the late 1800s, portions of the trail were rebuilt in the 1930s. The Kalalau Trail is a trail along Nā Pali Coast of the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii.The trail runs approximately 11 miles (18 km) along the island's north shore from Keʻe Beach to the Kalalau Valley.The trail has been named one of the most beautiful, and dangerous, hikes of the United States. COVID-19 UPDATE: CLOSED THROUGH FEBRUARY 28 > LEARN MORE. I’ve spent more hours, days, and weeks that I can count reading, watching, researching, and acquiring backpacks, camping gear, water filters, camera mounts, dehydrated food… and I’ve had a BLAST doing it all. Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HI. The Waimea Canyon is over a mile wide and stretches 14 miles in length, but perhaps most impressive are its stunning depths of more than 3,600 feet. I selected my desired location, filled out all of the fields on the form, and instead of using the date picker, I manually typed the future date I wanted in the input box. I went back to the park reservations page to copy the link (something I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t writing this post). It’s considered the off season, but it’s great for reliably good weather. Reddish orange terrain contrasts with lush green grass and, when there isn’t a spectacular blue sky, the canyon takes on a purplish hue in overcast weather. Day hikers are surprised to find the stream they just crossed 30 minutes ago swelled to much larger than it was before. Nature & Wildlife Areas. Residents of more than 50 years said this was the worst flood they’d ever seen, which makes sense as it may have just been the rainiest day in U.S. history. Zuckerberg invested north of $100 million in a 700-acre plot of land with his own private beach on the north shore of Kauai, so his visiting the Na Pali Coast Trail is not terribly strange. 11 miles of hiking through both large and small valleys, snaking one's way around cliff faces, enjoying amazing views, and exerting a lot of energy will take you all the way to Kalalau Valley, the official end of the trail. This is enough room for one foot. I love beaches, and I love mountains, and Kauai is everything in one package. Beginning at Ke`e Beach and ending at Kalalau Valley, this challenging but rewarding hike, earned the Sierra Club's rating of "9" out of "10" in degree of difficulty. The tourist boat departs from Port Allen on the West Side. But with the new cap on daily visitors, the limited number of permits required to venture beyond the first few miles of the trail (to experience Kalalau Beach), disappeared almost as instantly as they were made available. It’s known as the garden island. I had to try one more time. From all accounts I’d read, this was truly a journey of a lifetime. Message from the DLNR, "PLEASE NOTE: Camping permits for Nāpali coast are extremely popular, and often sell out well in advance, particularly during the summer. Opakapaka Grill and Bar (139) 4 mi $$ - $$$ Bar. You want to pack as light as possible, because it’s a long trek, and you’ll soon wish you left unnecessary items behind. The park previously saw 3,000 visitors per day, but daily access upon reopening was limited to just 900. I checked the timezones and found that Hawaii time is 5 hours earlier than my local time. October is when Kauai starts to get an increase in rainfall and trails get really muddy. People have died on this trail, but it’s typically not from falling off one of the cliffs. You cannot call for help if you twist an ankle. How to obtain a permit to hike the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast of Kauai. Anyone going farther than Hanakapi`ai will need a permit. The Na Pali Coast Trail in Haena State Park is one of the most beautiful, difficult, and dangerous hikes in the world. If it’s not, you might as well turn around. On August 1st, when the reservation window extended to 90 days, I was able to secure camping permits for our trip in September. The group is moderately sized, and posts in there typically garner something like a few dozen likes. If you are searching for the world's most challenging and breathtaking Kauai hiking experience, look no further than the Garden Island of Kauai. Experience the Nā Pali Coast scenery face-to-face, a Kauai hiking experience to never forget. Na Pali Coast Kayaking Photo. Hāʻena SP now requires advanced reservations for entry except for those with valid camping permits for the Nāpali Coast SWP and Hawaii residents. Hiking: (808) 587-0166. For me though, Kalalau will be a very rare treat. Many of which will become apparent as you hike through the jungle on your way through the Na Pali coast. I think I’ve had just as much fun anticipating as I will experiencing. I started to worry, because I already have a place booked to stay in Kauai. Kee Lagoon, Na Pali Coast. Photo: Aaronbernstein | CC BY-SA 3.0 (used with permission). On Crawlers Ledge, a rocky path hugs the outer edge of a cliff that provides no more than 18 inches of standing area and as little as 6 inches in a few narrow places. The only other ways to view the Nā Pali Coast is either by kayak tours, boat tours, or air tours. Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park & Kalalau Trail: In-order to access the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park as well as the Kalalau Trail, visitors have to go through Hāʻena SP. This means you’ll need to filter water as you go, and while many streams cross your path along the way, there are some stretches of many miles where there is no water source. The first step is to create an account on the Hawaii government website. It rains more on Kauai than anywhere else in the world, and rainfall high up in the mountains has to come down. This is what creates the signature waterfalls Kauai is known for, but it’s also what causes streams to swell. Some people break the hike to Kalalau Beach into two days, opting to stay overnight in Hanakoa Campground at mile 6. While my planned trip wasn’t until September of 2019, I decided to look at the system for acquiring a camping permit back in July. 2 Restaurants within 5 miles. Had I done that, I would have been sorely disappointed to find the dates I wanted already booked. Kalalau Tail on Kauai's Napali Coast is a advanced hike along hanging valleys, jagged emerald cliffs, mountain streams and back to sea level to Kalalu Beach Beginning Oct. 15 visitors to Kauai may avoid 14 day quarantine with proof of negative COVID-19 test. "The trail bed is narrow and crumbly, and I've talked with many people who have either fallen off the trail or seen it happen." Once you have an account, you can access the online reservation system. • Click “Continue” at the bottom of the page. By far the most popular way to hike the NaPali Coast is on the Kalalau Trail which begins at Kee Beach. This 11-mile trek takes hikers into the heart of the Napali Coast, which is only seen by boat, by air, or on this hike. I guess I better try earlier in the day!”. Kauai’s Kalalau Trail is arguably the most famous hike in all of the Hawaiian Islands and is the only land access to the Na Pali Coast. Over the months, I’d spent untold hours researching this “bucket list” hike, desperately hoping everything would work out for us to go. Possibly the most exclusive beach in the world—complete with your own private waterfall—Kalalau Beach is accessible only by an 11-mile hike along the Na Pali Coast Trail. A week later, I checked the reservation system again—this time, in the morning. All that remained was getting the elusive permits. While the trail is open to the public, most visitors only ever hike the first two miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach. There is a large parking lot at Ke'e beach where the start of the trailhead is also located. Unforgettable. Besides being miserably muddy, it’s far too risky to attempt something as precarious as Crawlers Ledge with anything less than optimal weather. Instead of the red error message this time, it let me through! Rugged cliffs rise straight out of the ocean to dramatic heights of over 4,000 feet. In under a minute—about 30 to 40 seconds—all of the permits were gone. The Famous Na Pali Coast Hike – Kalalau Trail. There are no roads, and not even boats are allowed to land on national park shores. As of August 1, 2019, permits will be available 90 days in advance. After being closed for over a year, adventure seekers were more eager than ever to hit the trails. You can make it to Kalalau Beach in a day by hiking for around 8 hours. From there, you immediately start hiking upward, with great views of the beach down below. Must be a busy time of year. Every single one of the spots for the next 14 days was taken. "The Only Way to See the Na Pali Coastline... Hanakapi`ai Beach has hazardous ocean conditions and no lifeguard on duty. It begins with a gentle, two mile hike to the spectacular Hanakapiai Falls. The next morning, I set my alarm for 4:56 AM. I had planned to publish this post back in July, but something happened right before I hit publish. NOTE: The Na Pali Coast is currently closed indefinitely due to flooding. Na Pali Coast (Kalalau) Trail is a 22 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. All rivers, including Hanakapi`ai River can be dangerous, particularly during and after heavy rains, where strong currents and flash flooding can occur. If you're hiking to Hanakapiai Falls, don't bother removing your shoes when you're crossing the river the first time by the beach. Image via: thegoldenscope.com. warning There is no other way through. Kauai is able to maintain its “garden island” reputation in large part because it receives more rainfall per year than any other place on earth, raining 330 out of 365 days. Much of Na Pali is inaccessible due to its characteristic sheer cliffs that drop straight down, thousands of feet into the ocean. All of the spots were taken. The total elevation gain is well over 5,000 feet each way. It’s not worth it! Possibly the most exclusive beach in the world—complete with your own private waterfall—Kalalau Beach is accessible only by an 11-mile hike along the Na Pali Coast Trail. But after reading enough trip reports from other hikers urging others to “not make the same mistake we did,” and to “stay at least two nights,” I thought better of it and decided we will stay two nights and make the hike back on day 3. Photo: David S., Hawaii.com member. click logo to donate Nā Pali Coast ʻOhana is a grassroots non-profit foundation dedicated to the preservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Nāpali Coast State Park, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi. “Wow,” I thought. We’re fortunate to even be able to go because torrential rains in 2018 caused devastating floods which rendered parks in Kauai inaccessible for over a year. This, and its remote location, allow Na Pali to remain one of the most beautiful and pristine coastlines in the world. For me, that’s enough encouragement to keep moving and complete the 11 miles in one day. Are those who make reservations in person given a longer time frame? The 11-mile trail is graded but almost never level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys. State park officials are experimenting with a new daily limit on park. Sushi Girl Kauai (266) 4 mi $$ - $$$ Japanese. I initially planned for us to hike to the beach in one day, camp overnight, and return the following day. Kauai Hiking | Kalalau Trail and Hanakapi'ai Trail (Nā Pali Coast). In this environment, safety is critical. The Kalalau Trail on the Hawaiian island of Kauai weaves through one of the world's most famous natural wonders, the Na Pali coast. Usually, I stay home and rest or pursue side projects. State parks Haena, Na Pali Coast, and Polihale were all closed indefinitely to allow for the clearing of landslides and repairing of trails. Buy permit online (click the "Reservations Tab" and create an account). The cliffs feature lush foliage from top to bottom with folds as though the landscape were draped in green satin. You can rebook a missed flight, but you only have one life. Hawaiians relied on canoes to access Na Pali's numerous valleys, nearby Ni`ihau and outlying islands. The next day, I checked and, once again, all of the spots were taken. Starting at sea level and making its way up the coast, at times, you're over 1800 feet above the ocean with breathtaking views. 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. A vast array of verdant valleys, waterfalls, sea caves and gorgeous vistas lay ahead of you. Zero were available for every one of the next 14 days. Zero available. They were increasing the reservation window from 14 days to 90 days! Photo: Keven Siegert (used with permission). The climb from sea level to high altitude and back earns the trail its 9-out-of-10 difficulty rating. You can get a permit to camp at designated spots in Hanakapi`ai. Please plan accordingly.". Sunday, January 10 2021 Breaking News. Curious, I tried to see if I could select a date in the next 14 days. This is one of the most famous hikes in the world and last weekend, we finally got to experience it. Parts of Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park were filmed on Kauai. The footing is twice as treacherous after the island's abundant rainfall turns the track into a greasy slip 'n slide–not amusing when you're edging along a 300-foot cliff that spills straight into a rocky surf. I started to worry I might not be able to secure a permit, and that these months of dreaming, researching, and preparing had all been for naught. The Best Way to See the Na Pali Coast in Kauai . Epic NaPali Coast Hike Best Hiking Trails on Kauai. The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. Bridges are still undergoing nightly reconstruction work as of August, 2019. All the while carrying a 30-40 pound pack of camping supplies. September is an ideal time to visit the Na Pali Coast Trail. The trail-head officially begins by Ke’e lagoon, in Ha’ena State Park (not to be confused with Ha’ena COUNTY Park, which is East and a short drive (or even a short walk), and where you used to be able to camp and can now only day park. At first glance, I couldn’t figure out what it was about this one particular photo that caused it to receive 1.2k likes. DO NOT cross flooded streams. The Kalalau Trail is an 11 mile long trail which winds through several valleys, hugging the Pacific ocean along the Na Pali Coast as it goes. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Kauai Hiking Napali Coast: It is very important to stay updated on the current conditions of the Kalalau Trail and the Napali Coast State Wildnerness Park. The hike begins at Ke'e beach, at the end of the road on Kauai's North shore. So I woke up at 5:15 AM Central Time and checked the system. We are traveling to Hawaii in September, 2019 during one of my Seventh Week Sabbaticals. The earliest you could acquire a permit at the time was 14 days in advance. It begins at Ke’e Beach and leads deep into the Kalalau Valley and along the Nā Pali Coast. Zero available. The trail is an amazing experience. 16 Other Attractions within 5 miles. The Kalalau Trail is in the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park which is part of the Hawaii State Parks system. Something must be broken.”. A starry night on Kalalau Beach. There are no lifeguards. it may have just been the rainiest day in U.S. history, obtain a Napali Coast Park camping permit. As soon as the second hand on my Apple Watch struck 5:00:00 AM, I clicked “Continue”. There are no security guards. The trail is a challenging 11- mile, the coastal trail along the Na Pali Coast. Kaua’i Hiking Napali Coast. “Huh. • Click Browse for Availability. If the size wasn’t dramatic enough, the canyon features a gorgeous rainbow of colors accented by waterfalls. I don’t always travel when I’m on a sabbatical. In making the 22-mile round trip to Kalalau Beach and back, hikers must cross a dozen streams. This is the Kalalau Trail. There are no lights. I logged into the website. Sometimes the Hanakapi`ai River can be impassable and it has been known to strand people on the western side. The trail, and Crawlers Ledge, is the only way to get to Kalalau Beach. Camping: (808) 587-0300 You can hike 8 miles (roundtrip) to a waterfall or 4 miles (roundtrip) to Hanakapi`ai Beach. Helicopter Tour. Our flights are booked as well, and we’re traveling there no matter what, but I couldn’t obtain a permit until 14 days prior to my arrival at the earliest. Or call: Website +1 808-464-0840. The Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail is the very end of the road here on the North Shore of Kauai. “You’ve got to be kidding me. The trail ends at the secluded Kalalau Beach, which sits below Kalalau Valley. Nā Pali Coast State Park (1,953) 1.6 mi. 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