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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 trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 22.0 mi Elevation gain 6,177 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Backpacking Camping Hiking Nature trips Running Beach Cave Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Muddy Over grown Rocky Washed out
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Getting There

Advance reservations are now required for all visitors (except state of Hawaiʻi residents). Limited overnight parking is available with a valid overnight camping permit; otherwise you must pre-book a shuttle or private pickup when camping overnight. Please see state park website for reservations and information https://www.gohaena.com/. The island of Kauai is called the Garden Isle for many reasons. Many of which will become apparent as you hike through the jungle on your way through the Na Pali coast. The hike begins at Ke'e beach, at the end of the road on Kauai's North shore. You immediately begin climbing up and old trail, build with paving stones, but somewhat slippery and crumbling. Long legs are a bonus here, as well as excellent grip on your hiking boots. The hike heads up and along the edge of the hills, very close to the ocean. There are great views of the Pacific here, as well as majestic jungle mountain views.

Squeeze in on the narrow roadway shoulders or on the many roadside pull overs, parks and overlooks.

Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources: (808)587-0166

Use caution while hiking as the trail is dangerously steep and narrow. Hike with a buddy. Permit required to camp.

Drive to the end of the highway on Kauai's Northwest shore. You will find parking at Ke'e beach, and the trailhead is off of the parking lot, about 20 yards from the beach.

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Reviews (644)
Photos (2114)
Recordings (359)
Completed (1485)
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Matty Hay Lum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 22, 2020
BackpackingBugsMuddyOver grownWashed out

I have to leave a few warnings, I usually don’t remark on the trails because I don’t have much to say that everyone else had said. 1. Parking is NOT included with your kalalau camping rsvps. This was an oversight on my part and the sullen faces ticket taker at the entrance was immensely NOT helpful, tried to dissuade me from hiking (told me the trail was muddy, which I already knew), asked me multiple times if I was going to hike all the way and spend the night (with a dubious look on her face) and finally straight out told me no, I needed a parking permit. My mistake. I thought since I paid $175 for the permit it would include parking at the entrance of the park it was located in. So I parked at the state park 0.75 miles down the way without any no parking overnight signs and got an abandoned vehicle ticket for $160 after 3 nights parking there. It was a clean brand new looking rented Camero. 2. The first 6-7 miles of this hike is a slog in sloshy clay mud through a tropical rainforest. I slipped and fell multiple times and that’s with poles. I counted over 80 mosquito bites on me with deet bug spray, they bit me through my hiking leggings. I should have brought the permethrin. It was super hot and humid so I don’t know if a long sleeved shirt would have helped 3. After hanakoa the hike became what I expected. Mile after mile of beautiful coastline, fresh fragarent breezes and mist falling around me with rainbows everywhere. The next 4-5 miles I wended in and out of coastline view and mangrove forests. 4. Kalalau on the weekends even during CoVid was busier than I liked. I was surprised so many people made it. 5. By the time I was done with the whole thing I could barely move. This hike is not for anyone that’s not in great shape. I thought I was in decent shape but perhaps I was mistaken 6. I was warned profusely about crawlers and the clay ledge and I have to say I wasn’t even sure where it was. Sure there was cliff side hiking, but I never once felt it was unsafe or I would fall. With that said I’m not afraid of heights at all and I saw people crawling on the way back. 7. This hike seems longer than 11 miles. In fact I haven’t met one person who said it wasn’t. All of our gps watches and apps marked 12-14. An important fact to remember if you minimize the water you carry based on the mileage and where to get water next. Was it worth it? Yes I’m glad I did it. I will likely not do this trail again. It was beautiful at the end but imo not worth the 6 mile slog through mud and ants. The trans catalina trail has most of what this hike had to offer without any of the inconveniences and hassles. Bring poles and bug spray

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Joanna Rogow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 21, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Truly amazing hike and views. We hiked in 11/19 and out 11/20. Some recs: - you do need a parking permit but don’t need to print it out. We decided to stay overnight at the last minute and parking was sold out but we called the number on the Go Haena site and left a message. We received a call back an hour later and a very helpful woman helped us secure a spot and a QR code to show at the gate. - We didn’t bring gear but rented from Kayak Kauai and bought the rest from Walmart. - The hike was amazing. The views are incredible and the beach at the end is epic. It’s worth every second. - I read lots of reviews and didn’t hear anyone else mention that this tracked as significantly longer than 11 miles each way. Our trackers showed closer to 14 miles each way. No real issue, just do not be disappointed by the mile markers. - Our first day was the day after a massive day of rain. Because so much of the trail is covered by trees the mud was surprisingly light. The second day it did rain a good amount and the trail was significantly more muddy. Nothing crazy. - Seems like everyone needs to mention Crawlers Ledge so I’ll just say I’m not sure which part was Crawlers Ledge - there’s about a mile that’s tight and steep on the ocean side. It’s totally doable. Just watch your step despite the amazing views and you’ll be fine. - The mosquitoes and ants are very real. Bring and use bug spray, and take a look before setting down your bag. We’re three pretty active people, started at 8, stopped at the first beach for a fairly long break, and then took a few rest and water breaks along the way, and arrived to the beach by 4:30. Hope this info helps! Truly a wonderful hike, not to be missed.

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Davis C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 18, 2020
HikingMuddy

Lost a pair of maui jim sunglasses on 11/19 between mile 2 and 5. If found please email mail4davis_at_comcast.net. Will mail back cookies!! Great hike though, left early at 6:20 with headlamps and made it to the beach at 1:30. Second time ive done this hike, always tougher than I expect it to be, but so worth it. My wife and I backpack alot, and this is our favorite trail! Plenty warm at night, leave the sleeping bag at home, just a light blanket will work.

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Mike Fannon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 9, 2020
Hiking

Hiked in on 11/8 and out on 11/9. All I can say is - wow. My wife described the beach as "spiritual". Absolutely one of the most magnificent places I have ever been. Lets get down to the details.. We started at 5:45am. In total it took us ~9 hours with food / water stops. Perfect weather on both days. Mile 1-2 - Very well maintained with built in steps. An absolute breeze. I recommend taking your shoes off to cross the stream. Mile 3-6 - I'd describe this as the "slog" of the trail. Some views, but mainly a dense jungle hike with not much of a breeze. Lots of ups / downs / switchbacks here. Once you reach Hanakoa, you're more than half way there! Also, not much to see or do at Hanakoa. Unless you're hiking in late in the day, just commit to doing it all in one push! Mile 7-9 - What some describe as the "crux" I found to be my favorite miles. To start, crawlers ledge is very wide. There is plenty of room to walk it. I had nearly psyched myself out on it, and when we arrived my wife goes "wow, its so much wider than I thought". Don’t watch videos or pictures that try to make it scary. It isn't. Also, its even easier on the way back because its mostly uphill. As for the red clay sections after crawlers ledge, it was dry when we did them so we flew right up, but I can see how they might be a bit precarious if there has been heavy rain. Mile 9-11 - Just a beautiful decent into the beach. Fully exposed section where you can almost taste the salt water in the breeze. Once you cross the final stream you're about a half mile from the beach. 100% take your shoes off here to cross. The water moves fast. A few hikers coming out gave us a pro-tip to go as far toward the waterfall as possible for the best camping. HIGHLY recommend you do this. We had a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean, with a fire pit (which we didn't use) and the waterfall directly behind us to shower / fill up water. Overall - Nothing can be said of Kalalau Beach that hasn't already been said. It's the most beautiful place I've ever been. But it was a challenge. Here are some recommendations: 1) It got cold at night. Bring a sheet or sleeping bag. We didn't and we were freezing. 2) No one could have prepared me for the heat / humidity. I am 5'9, 155lbs and I drank 8 (yes, EIGHT) liters of water on the way in and still felt dehydrated. On the way out I drank 6. Please bring electrolyte packets / salt tablets. I'd say overall this was the biggest challenge I faced. 3) Your feet take a beating. Bring blister pads. Doing this in one day and out the next is doable, but difficult. 4) If you are only staying one night, leave as early as possible & use headlamps. We arrived around 2pm and had 4.5 hours of daylight left to explore the beach and caves. 5) Trekking poles are immensely helpful. Bring them. 6) The trail is quite literally covered in ants from mile 1 to mile 11. Be very careful putting your pack down because they will crawl all over it. 7) Bug spray. Bring it. 8) Agree with many other people leaving reviews - if you can stay more than 1 night - you should! 9) If you are scared or worried about crawlers ledge - don't be! You got this! Just remember so many people cross it every day and its truly not bad at all.

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Henri Vos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 9, 2020
Hiking
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Paul Robson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 6, 2020
Camping

We did the hike in two days. Hiked in on day 1, spent the night at Kalalau and back on day 2. This is one of the most unique and spectacular hikes I’ve done, with incredibly varying scenery throughout and stunning views of the coastline. Kalalau itself is an exceptionally beautiful beach and I wish we would have had at least one full day to relax there. Here’s a few observations: 1) having a pole or stick was very helpful. There’s a lot of up and down. 2) bring bug spray 3) this is a proper jungle hike and it gets muddy. Have good hiking boots 4) crawlers ledge is not very scary except on the hike in I did it while it was wet, would recommend doing it when it’s dry, might be worth waiting for it to dry if it’s just rained. 5) the quality of firewood on Kalalau is decent but unless you’re Rambo do yourself a favour and bring some fire starters. 6) there’s loads of fresh fruit in the jungle. Passion fruit, wild avocado, lemons, limes, papayas etc. Keep an eye out for them and try some. 7) for any rock climbers here, there’s opportunity to do some bouldering at Kalalau. The rock higher up on the wall is not solid and should not be attempted (as per the official guidelines) but you could have a bit of fun on the lower sections where the caves are on the far end of the beach. 7) if possible, get a permit for two nights on Kalalau because you’re not gonna want to leave!

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Cole Rogers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 28, 2020
HikingClosedGreat!MuddyWashed out

Hiked in 10/27 and out 10/28. I would highly recommend doing this trail, however as has been said many times you need to be very cautious with this. On the hike out, I took a pretty bad face-first fall. Much of the trail is covered in long leaves, which covers what's beneath them. I tripped on something hidden, and then lightly scraped by knee on a hidden rock. It could have easily been much worse. The big challenges came the next day. It rained hard overnight as I was camping on Kalalau beach and it rained into the next day. The first problem this caused was crossing the rivers, which were really raging. The Hanakoa stream in particular was very dangerous. After spending some time trying to look for a safe place to cross, it was clear it was not going to happen so I ended up having to turn back around and walk up to the little covered picnic table they have there by the river. I met a group of locals who were also waiting it out, we waited for about 90 minutes. The rain died down a little, but it appeared it had started downpouring again higher up so we made the decision to attempt a crossing. We had to fully walk in the water, as opposed to before when I was just hopping rock to rock. To cross the second half, we had to have someone on the other side grab our hand as we waded through stomach deep, fast moving water. This definitely would not have been possible alone. The second challenge from the rain was the mud. Some parts of the trail, near the Crawler's Ledge region especially (but not itself, since the ledge is just rock it's not actually that bad), were completely covered in (angled) mud that had slid down the hill. At one spot I tried for about 15 minutes to dig foot holes into the mud to get a grip, or look at potential other ways around, but there weren't any. I made it across but it was rather dangerous. When I finally reached the trailhead, I found that they had closed the trail. That was certainly the right call. TL;DR: Pay very close attention to the weather forecast for rain, if you are hiking solo do NOT attempt this trail if there's much rain in the forecast. Be at least prepared to camp longer than expected if you end up getting stuck behind a river. Some random notes: - Lots of goats! Just be careful when they are walking above you and watch for falling rocks - Crawler's Ledge is much scarier looking in pictures than it actually is. It didn't feel like the most dangerous portion of the trail to me. - Kalalau beach has (outhouse) bathrooms, as well as a waterfall at the end with a PVC pipe which you can use to angle water into a makeshift shower. - I parked at Haena beach park (1 mile from entrance), and put my permit in my window just to be safe. The attendant at the park entrance said this was fine (legally). There is an issue with break-ins if you park directly at the trailhead, but at least at Haena there's a streetlight you can park under. Parking here only added 20 mins on the way up. - The trail was covered in ants which quickly walk up you if stay still long. The first break I took I set my bag down on a rock and stood still to eat a snack. Not long after I looked down to find ants all over my legs, and my backpack was fully swarmed in ants. - There were only 3 other parties (4 people total) when I camped at Kalalau (granted it was a Tuesday during COVID).

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Cesi Barahona
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2020
Hiking

This trail has a LOT of ups and downs!geographically. it's challenging enough without a pack, but my friend and I were going to camp at Hanakoa. I had to turn back, but she kept on. Looking forward to hear her review of Hanakoa!

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Brett Rasmussen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

Land of the goats.

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Riley Snyder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingScramble

Challenging and beautiful.

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Serena Ho
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 29, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyScramble

One of the most beautiful trails I’ve been on. Highly recommend

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Keith O’Leary
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
Nature tripsBugsMuddyRockyScramble

Fair Warning: this trail is very dangerous. I’m an experienced fit hiker and I slipped and fell like 4 times. It’s so beautiful, so naturally, you’re going to feel inclined to look around in awe. When you do this be sure to stop walking first. While walking this trail your head must be down the WHOLE time. There are so many rocks and one misplaced step could be fatal. There is no room for error. I twisted my ankle really bad making this mistake on my way back. My only other fair warning to all is to eat a hearty meal with plenty of carbs and protein the night before you hike in and out. Don’t neglect a big dinner the day before. I made this mistake the night before I hiked out. I was toast because the beginning on the way back to Haena state park is straight up incline. So that’s my warnings. If you’re careful to do those have a blast! This trail was the most amazing I’ve ever dreamed of doing. I was in awe the whole time. The beach at the end is gorgeous. And make sure you go all the way down to the end of the beach to check out the last cave as well. This place is truly magical. I also met 4 amazing people in only 5 days at Kalalau. One of whom is now a good friend! Enjoy every minute and take it all in. :)

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Zed Henry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyOver grownRockyWashed out

Hiked Oct 2019. One of my favorite trails in the world. The trail is strenuous and precarious in a couple places, but the views and the experience are absolutely incredible. I highly recommend staying at the beach over night because of the dark sky, I’ve never seen so many stars anywhere else, and the sunset is unbeatable. Wear good gripping shoes and take a trekking pole. Be aware that crawlers ledge is not as thin as you might expect, but if you are scared of heights it takes some motivation. Also there are (were?) 2-3 other spots after crawlers that are/we’re washed out and were more precarious than the ledge. If you’re on the fence, just do it!

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Brian Greenfield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2020
Hiking
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Henri Vos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking
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