Hawaii February 04, 2016
This One Hike In Hawaii Will Give You An Unforgettable Experience
Kauai’s Na Pali Coast is perhaps the most beautiful and remote areas in all of Hawaii. While you can view this magnificent coastline from the air via helicopter tour, one of the best ways to experience the area’s incredible natural beauty is to hike the Kalalau Trail.
The eleven-mile trail begins at Ke’e Beach and takes hikers on a journey along high, rugged cliffs, coastal valleys, and ending at the stunning Kalalau Valley.
While extremely experienced hikers may complete the 22-mile journey in one day, most people choose to camp overnight, and make it a two or three day excursion.
The Kalalau Trail is the only land access to this section of the rugged Na Pali Coastline, and traverses five valleys through lush jungle and towering sea cliffs.
Using trekking poles, wearing hiking boots with awesome treads, and loading heavy items at the bottom of your pack to lower your center of gravity will all help you stay steady on the trail.
The trail also requires hikers to cross three streams that are known for water levels that can rise and fall rapidly, especially when it is raining. The streams do allow access to freshwater, though purification is still necessary.
The trail is, at times, narrow, rocky, and quite dangerous. In fact, according to Backpacker.com, it is one of the most dangerous hikes in America.
The narrow paths along high cliffs can be intimidating and quite dangerous. Hikers are encouraged to exercise extreme caution due to often muddy conditions as well as loose rocks on the path and from eroding cliffs above.
Campers must obtain permits, and are only allowed to set up camp at Hanakoa and Kalalau beaches. You can hike to Hanakapi’ai stream and beach, at the two-mile mark, without a permit, but you will need one to continue on your journey.
Fun fact: Though Kalalau Beach is the most remote beach in all of Hawaii, it is rumored that there are illegal squatters who live in the valley – including nudists, hippies and Vietnam War veterans – who seek the solitude provided by the serene Na Pali Coast.
There is no denying the phenomenal, panoramic views from along the Kalalau Trail, though, unless you are an experienced hiker, I would stick to just admiring the beauty of the Na Pali coast through photographs until you've done enough hiking to be comfortable with anything.
This magnificent hike should be on everyone’s Hawaii bucket list – that is, if you’re up for the challenge.