Kalalau Trail is the world famous, ultimate Kauai hike that everyone talks about and
would like to accomplish if they had the time. It generally takes you a couple of days to
complete the round trip hike. Most people who do the complete 11 miles, either get
picked up at Kalalau Beach, or spend the night on the beach then return hike the
The hike begins at the end of the road at Kee Beach on the North Shore. Pick up a good
hiking stick at the trail check-in station. From the beginning you start an incline, which
seems to be a vertical rock stream bed. The first ¾ of a mile is fairly steep and rocky
and can be muddy, but 25 minutes into your hike you get a great overlook of Kee Beach.
If you don't have much time at least hike up to the overlook, it's worth the trip up. Stop
and take photos of your first view of the Na Pali Coastline and Kee Beach.
Continuing on the trail switches back and forth following the coastline as you
continue to climb. Occasionally you get viewpoints of the incredible coastline.
The last half a mile to the Hanakapi’ai Beach is slow going back down hill and is steep
and muddy as the trail crosses several small streams. 2 miles from the start you reach
Hanakapi'ai Beach. You have to cross a pretty fast moving stream by hopping boulders.
The reward is a beautiful beach that has rock caves carved out of the cliffs. Many people
stop here and make this their final destination before their return. The views back are
just as amazing. In the winter months there may not be a beach at all, just rocks, but it
still definitely worth the trip.
If you have time (another 3-4 hours) another 2 miles inland is a beautiful 300-foot
waterfall you can swim in. The trail begins right of the stream from the beach. The hike
to Hanakapi'ai Falls is muddy because you cross the stream several times. Several of
the stream crossings are challenging. Along the trail are several bamboo forest (they
sound like a wind chime forest) and lots of mud. At the falls take a minute to see all the
ferns lining the wall around the falls. Several smaller falls are along the trail, which
creates a very peaceful sound as you hike. If you decide to swim, be careful of objects
coming over the falls.
Round trip plan on 7-8 hours but it can be done in less time if you don’t spend
time at the beach and falls. Total hike to the falls and back is 8 miles. I have actually
done 3 miles in on the Kalalau Trail, backtracked to the Falls, and back out in just 6
hours. A total of 10 miles.
If you decide to go past Hanakapi'ai Beach you will need a permit. At the 6 mile mark is
Hanakoa Stream which is your first chance to replentish your water. A mile upstream is
another great waterfall, Hanakoa Falls. Mile 7 is the most challenging mile because the
trail is narrow and has loose very fine rock that moves as you walk. There isn't anything
to hold on to so you have to go very slow. Your final destination comes after entering
Kalalau Valley at mile 10. Kalalau Beach is 11.2 miles from your start and will take you a
good 9-10 hours to accomplish.
|Items needed for your hike:
*Binoculars are nice to have but not necessary.
*Hiking sticks are usually located at the start of each trail- Just look around and there will be a pile somewhere.
*A Towel is nice if you plan on swimming on the hike.
Condos In Kauai Kalalau Trail