Kalalau Trail

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Address northwest end of Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, HI 96746
Spectacular, breathtakingly gorgeous trail. Advanced hikers only.

• General: Photo Opportunity • Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Length: 10+ Miles • Hiking: Level: Experts Only • Hiking: Nature Walk
• Hiking: Out & Back Trail • Hiking: Ridge Hike • Sightseeing: Great Views • Sightseeing: Waterfalls • Water Activities: Water Sports

The Kalalau Trail is an 11 mile long (each way), out and back style hiking trail along the Napali Coast on the west side of Kaua'i. It's currently closed with no word on when it will reopen but we'll show you all about it here.

This is an infamous trail and intended only for the most advanced hikers. This is not a family friendly hike or one you would just randomly wake up and decide to do. The Kalalau Trail requires some advanced planning and preparations.

It is possible to hike part of the Kalalau Trail as the first 2 miles or so are often considered to be of moderate difficulty. If you're up for that challenge you'll end up at Hanakapi'ai Beach on the Napali Coast which is certainly an epic place to spend some time.

If you continue on beyond Hanakapi'ai Beach then make sure you're properly equipped and prepared for the difficult task ahead. This one is no joke with incredible narrow ledges where a slip and fall will almost certainly lead to your death.

There is a particularly scary section known as "crawlers" ledge that wraps around the mountain with what feels like 12 inches of path and vertical cliff on one side and a vertical drop off on the other. This alone has caused many advanced hikers to pack it in and head back the way they came.

The words "na pali" mean "high cliffs" for a good reason as the cliffs in this area reach around 4,000 feet above sea level. Views of the ocean are incredible, as are those of the Kalalau Valley and various waterfalls along the way.

The Kalalau Trail was originally built in the 1800s and if you're wondering how it looked back then, well, hike out and you'll see because this place is as close to unspoiled Hawaii as you're going to find. Parts of the trail were rebuilt in the 1930s but to call certain areas "sketchy" is an understatement.

Those who take the 11 mile journey will cross five valleys through lush landscapes and end at the spectacular Kalalau Beach. This isn't a day hike as the full journey takes a full day, each way, for most. If you're looking for a day hike then stick with the first 2 miles and stop at Hanakapi'ai Beach.

Because it takes a full day to reach Kalalau Beach at the end, you will be camping over night and thus will need to have a camping permit with you. Knowing the weather on this hike is important as as making sure people know you're going on it and when to expect you back.

If you're not in the mood for hiking this trail but want to see the Napali Coast, local companies offer tours via helicopter and boat.