I figured their online system would probably let me book 14 days out starting at midnight Kauai time. Some people break the hike to Kalalau Beach into two days, opting to stay overnight in Hanakoa Campground at mile 6. A starry night on Kalalau Beach. Many of which will become apparent as you hike through the jungle on your way through the Na Pali coast. We are traveling to Hawaii in September, 2019 during one of my Seventh Week Sabbaticals. I chose the island of Kauai for our vacation because it is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. 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 trail is an amazing experience. Photo: David S., Hawaii.com member. In making the 22-mile round trip to Kalalau Beach and back, hikers must cross a dozen streams. Beyond the initial two miles of the Na Pali Coast trail, on the road less traveled, hikers are rewarded with jaw-dropping views unlike any available elsewhere on the planet. There is a large parking lot at Ke'e beach where the start of the trailhead is also located. There is an overflow parking lot about 0.25 miles down the road if the first lot is full. In fact, it’s home to the Waimea Canyon (known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”). 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. Please plan accordingly.". Best nearby. Zero available. Epic NaPali Coast Hike Best Hiking Trails on Kauai. All the while carrying a 30-40 pound pack of camping supplies. The calm surf of the summer months allows for kayaking, while year-round trips are available on sailing catamarans and rigid hull rafts. But besides being difficult, the Na Pali Coast Trail is also considered one of the most dangerous trails. 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. 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. 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 trail traverses five valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted cliffs. It begins at Ke’e Beach and leads deep into the Kalalau Valley and along the Nā Pali Coast. 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. By far, the best way to view the Na Pali Coast is by Helicopter because most of the areas are inaccessible by land or sea. Following some key tips can help make your experience on this coastline safe and fun. ... • Select Location “Napali Coast State Wilderness Park”. "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." That would have been at the previous maximum of 14 days prior to our planned trip. 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. Anyone going farther than Hanakapi`ai will need a permit. Over the months, I’d spent untold hours researching this “bucket list” hike, desperately hoping everything would work out for us to go. Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HI. While the trail is open to the public, most visitors only ever hike the first two miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach. 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. It’s not worth it! 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. Buy permit online (click the "Reservations Tab" and create an account). The trail starts at Ke’e Beach and ends at Kalalau Beach where there’s a campground. In under a minute—about 30 to 40 seconds—all of the permits were gone. 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. To think I was only a few weeks out from running into Mark Zuckerberg. For the adventurous hiker, the strenuous eleven-mile "Kalalau Trail" is another incredible way to experience Na Pali. 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 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. Experience the Nā Pali Coast scenery face-to-face, a Kauai hiking experience to never forget. Unforgettable. 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. The Kalalau Trail is in the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park which is part of the Hawaii State Parks system. • Click “Continue” at the bottom of the page. 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. As soon as the second hand on my Apple Watch struck 5:00:00 AM, I clicked “Continue”. 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. The nā pali (high cliffs) along the shoreline rise as much as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the Pacific Ocean. 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. You can hike the first 2 miles to Hanakapiai Falls without a permit but any further than that you will need the permit. 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. If there’s a holy grail of all hikes in Hawaii, it’s got to be the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. Today, Na Pali boat tours still offer the easiest way to explore this amazing coast. Since our trip is in September, I hadn’t planned to check back in to the reservation system until the end of August. While the trail is open to the public, most visitors only ever hike the first two miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach. If you are searching for the world's most challenging and breathtaking Kauai hiking experience, look no further than the Garden Island of Kauai. Labeled the hike on Kauai, the Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trek into paradise. At first glance, I couldn’t figure out what it was about this one particular photo that caused it to receive 1.2k likes. Hāʻena SP now requires advanced reservations for entry except for those with valid camping permits for the Nāpali Coast SWP and Hawaii residents. Ke’e Reef Lagoon. There is no potable water available on the Kalalau Trail, and all river water should be filtered. Curious, I tried to see if I could select a date in the next 14 days. This is an easy journey to a beautiful beach, perfect for a short day trip. Photo: Aaronbernstein | CC BY-SA 3.0 (used with permission). 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. This is the Kalalau Trail. The trail traverses the untouched, rugged Na Pali Coastline in Kauai and gives access to Kalalau Beach, often said to be the number 1 beach in the world. I initially planned for us to hike to the beach in one day, camp overnight, and return the following day. For me though, Kalalau will be a very rare treat. Had I done that, I would have been sorely disappointed to find the dates I wanted already booked. The Kalalau Trail is a strenuous 11-mile hike, one way. Kauai Hiking | Kalalau Trail and Hanakapi'ai Trail (Nā Pali Coast). Sabbaticals have completely revolutionized my life. I didn’t complete the purchase, since my trip wasn’t until September, but I went back to the reservation form and refreshed. You want to pack as light as possible, because it’s a long trek, and you’ll soon wish you left unnecessary items behind. Zero were available for every one of the next 14 days. I started to worry, because I already have a place booked to stay in Kauai. The trail is a challenging 11- mile, the coastal trail along the Na Pali Coast. You cannot call for help if you twist an ankle. Is there a way people are booking further in advance somewhere else? The Best Way to See the Na Pali Coast in Kauai . The water will recede as fast as it flooded. There is no other way through. The full Kalalau Trail spans 11 miles along the Na Pali Coast and requires permits and overnight camping. State parks Haena, Na Pali Coast, and Polihale were all closed indefinitely to allow for the clearing of landslides and repairing of trails. Those who’d completed the trail, and made it to Kalalau Beach, say it was a highlight of their life and something they recall often. The most popular hike on Na Pali is to Hanakapi`ai where you will find a lush river valley. You’d think the risks would deter most people, but they seem only to enhance the allure. The trail head is clearly marked and so is the trail. 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. While the cliffs provide incredible views, they’re also what make the hike so perilous. 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. Continuing beyond this point requires a permit which you must purchase in advance, and permits can be difficult to obtain. Na Pali Coast Hike. Must be a busy time of year. warning The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. I checked the timezones and found that Hawaii time is 5 hours earlier than my local time. The climb from sea level to high altitude and back earns the trail its 9-out-of-10 difficulty rating. The trail can be experienced in pieces and the most popular section of this trail is from Ke`e to Hanakapi`ai, where you will find a lush river valley. For me, that’s enough encouragement to keep moving and complete the 11 miles in one day. Originally built in the late 1800s, portions of the trail were rebuilt in the 1930s. Rugged cliffs rise straight out of the ocean to dramatic heights of over 4,000 feet. Not to mention, the last thing you want on Crawlers Ledge is an overly large pack on your back. The Kalalau Trail (Kalalau Trail Description) provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. Usually, I stay home and rest or pursue side projects. There are no security guards. You can’t gain access to this dramatic untouched portion of the island, however, unless you plan a tour or embark on a treacherous hike. This is enough room for one foot. It’s known as the garden island. 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. State park officials are experimenting with a new daily limit on park. Helicopters circle the island, taking you on an unforgettable tour that feels like you’re being whisked through a 60-minute screensaver. Helicopter Tour. Another lucky break was discovering the Kalalau Trail Facebook Group. The next day, I checked and, once again, all of the spots were taken. The only way to access it by land is by hiking the Kalalau Trail. The first step is to create an account on the Hawaii government website. 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. The state park was formed to protect the Kalalau Valley. Hawaiians relied on canoes to access Na Pali's numerous valleys, nearby Ni`ihau and outlying islands. Camping: (808) 587-0300 I think I’ve had just as much fun anticipating as I will experiencing. 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. Even if you could, it would be a long time before anyone could get to you. You want to complete this stretch in as dry, and wind-free, conditions as possible. The group is moderately sized, and posts in there typically garner something like a few dozen likes. You can hike 8 miles (roundtrip) to a waterfall or 4 miles (roundtrip) to Hanakapi`ai Beach. 16 Other Attractions within 5 miles. The mosquitoes are pretty bad here though, whereas at the beach they’re mostly nonexistent. The only other way to access this hidden coastline is by boat. A similar foot trail linked earlier Hawaiian settlements along the coastline. It rains more on Kauai than anywhere else in the world, and rainfall high up in the mountains has to come down. 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. "The Only Way to See the Na Pali Coastline... Hanakapi`ai Beach has hazardous ocean conditions and no lifeguard on duty. 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. Every single one of the spots for the next 14 days was taken. This is a moderate pace that accounts for occasional photo breaks. Besides being miserably muddy, it’s far too risky to attempt something as precarious as Crawlers Ledge with anything less than optimal weather. The real danger is flash floods. 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. “Huh. The Kalalau Trail on the Hawaiian island of Kauai weaves through one of the world's most famous natural wonders, the Na Pali coast. The Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail is the very end of the road here on the North Shore of Kauai. The surging water can wash you away in seconds. 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. The cliffs feature lush foliage from top to bottom with folds as though the landscape were draped in green satin. 2 Restaurants within 5 miles. Image via: thegoldenscope.com. This is where the Kalalau Trail begins. Kee Lagoon, Na Pali Coast. On August 1st, when the reservation window extended to 90 days, I was able to secure camping permits for our trip in September. Be smart and don’t cross streams when they are flooded, and you’ll be just fine. The trail ends at the secluded Kalalau Beach, which sits below Kalalau Valley. Opakapaka Grill and Bar (139) 4 mi $$ - $$$ Bar. Zero available. Once you have an account, you can access the online reservation system. While the northeastern part of the island boasts world-record rainfall, the southwestern part of the island is much drier. 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. 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. 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. Website +1 808-464-0840. I had planned to publish this post back in July, but something happened right before I hit publish. There are no roads, and not even boats are allowed to land on national park shores. How to obtain a permit to hike the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast of Kauai. 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. 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. The Kalalau Trail has grown to become a world famous backpacking trip. The trail traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted pali. The Nā Pali coast itself extends southwest starting at Keʻe Beach extending all the way to Polihale State Park. It’s considered the off season, but it’s great for reliably good weather. Are those who make reservations in person given a longer time frame? Starting at sea level and making its way up the coast, at times, you're over 1800 feet above the ocean with breathtaking views. 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. People have died on this trail, but it’s typically not from falling off one of the cliffs. Taking a hike in the pristine natural environment on the island of Kauai is one of the top sightseeing activities for many individuals, couples and groups who come here for a Kauai vacation.One of the best areas for hiking is along Kauai’s North Shore ‘s Na Pali Coast, an area raved about across the globe for its beautiful and unique surroundings. The total elevation gain is well over 5,000 feet each way. it may have just been the rainiest day in U.S. history, obtain a Napali Coast Park camping permit. From all accounts I’d read, this was truly a journey of a lifetime. Photo: Frugal Frolicker (used with permission). Something must be broken.”. Or call: This hike begins at the parking lot of Ke'e Beach at the Northern most point you can drive to on the island. The 11-mile trail is graded but almost never level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys. Na Pali's remote location makes help and rescue challenging. Nature & Wildlife Areas. These streams are also your only water source—and you’ll need to drink a lot more water than you can carry. Na Pali Coast is accessible via a strenuous foot trail that traverses 11 rugged miles from Ke`e Beach to Kalalau Valley. 11 miles of hiking along the Na Pali Coast on the North Shore of the island of Kauai. 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). 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. 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. 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. In this environment, safety is critical. The Famous Na Pali Coast Hike – Kalalau Trail. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Kauai has consumed my dreams for months. After being closed for over a year, adventure seekers were more eager than ever to hit the trails. I logged into the website. Much of Na Pali is inaccessible due to its characteristic sheer cliffs that drop straight down, thousands of feet into the ocean. I saw this post on Reddit the other day, and I’m afraid this might be me when I come back. Photo: Keven Siegert (used with permission). It begins with a gentle, two mile hike to the spectacular Hanakapiai Falls. Hiking: (808) 587-0166. If it’s not, you might as well turn around. This is what creates the signature waterfalls Kauai is known for, but it’s also what causes streams to swell. This is a rare occasion where we’re taking a full blown vacation over a sabbatical week—our first vacation since 2016! By far the most popular way to hike the NaPali Coast is on the Kalalau Trail which begins at Kee Beach. The Na Pali Coast Trail. The park previously saw 3,000 visitors per day, but daily access upon reopening was limited to just 900. I don’t always travel when I’m on a sabbatical. There are no lights. You can get a permit to camp at designated spots in Hanakapi`ai. Kaua’i Hiking Napali Coast. You immediately begin climbing up and old trail, build with paving stones, but somewhat slippery and crumbling. In April of 2018, Hanalei, Kauai received a record of 50 inches of rain in just 24 hours. 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. DO NOT cross flooded streams. Parts of Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park were filmed on Kauai. 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). The earliest you could acquire a permit at the time was 14 days in advance. This, and its remote location, allow Na Pali to remain one of the most beautiful and pristine coastlines in the world. What does one have to do to get a permit? 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. Wait it out. I’ll check back tomorrow. This is one of the most famous hikes in the world and last weekend, we finally got to experience it. HONOLULU (KHON2) –A 41-year-old Kapa‘a man died Sunday while hiking the Kalalau Trail on the way to Hanakāpī‘ai Beach on the Nāpali Coast. The Na Pali Coast Trail in Haena State Park is one of the most beautiful, difficult, and dangerous hikes in the world. With 180-degrees of the electric blue Pacific, majestic ridges and unspoiled beaches, every inch of this tropical trail boasts epic views. Bridges are still undergoing nightly reconstruction work as of August, 2019. It takes 8 hours to complete the 11-mile hike one way to the destination beach, assuming the weather is good. Sometimes the Hanakapi`ai River can be impassable and it has been known to strand people on the western side. Sushi Girl Kauai (266) 4 mi $$ - $$$ Japanese. The only other ways to view the Nā Pali Coast is either by kayak tours, boat tours, or air tours. You can make it to Kalalau Beach in a day by hiking for around 8 hours. I love beaches, and I love mountains, and Kauai is everything in one package. 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. 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. 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. Due to its remote location, it is not advisable to swim here anytime of year. What’s not so easy to reach is the marvelous Kalalau Beach. I guess I better try earlier in the day!”. • Click Browse for Availability. All that remained was getting the elusive permits. The trail drops to sea level at the beac… 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. Hiking beyond Hanakapi`ai Valley requires a state permit, where the trail continues on to Hanakoa Valley, eventually ending at magnificent Kalalau Valley. 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. 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. As of August 1, 2019, permits will be available 90 days in advance. 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