Hanakapi'ai Beach

MODERATE 71 reviews
#3 of 3 trails in

Hanakapi'ai Beach is a 3.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hanalei, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1551 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

walking

beach

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

bugs

muddy

rocky

washed out

This is the first 2 miles to Hanakapi'ai Beach along the Kalalau Trail in the Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii. This first portion of the trail is heavily used. The trail is often muddy and slippery due to sporadic rainfall. It is not recommended for children under age 6. The hike to Hanakapiai beach is by far one of the most beautiful trails in all Hawaii. The first two miles of the Napali Coast trail is breathtaking. The Hanakapiai Trail will climb steadily for the first mile to an elevation of 400 feet. Dont let this discourage you, as soon as you reach the first mile vista, you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Napali coastline and an aerial view of Kee beach and the coral reef that creates the protective lagoon at Kee beach, perfect for snorkeling during the summer months. As you make your way along this portion of the Kalalau Trail you will switchback from coast to valleys, over fresh water streams and waterfalls. As you make your final descent into Hanakapiai Valley you will discover jungles of twisted vines, wild ginger, bananas, guava, varied Ti plants and at the end the cool waters of Hanakapiai Stream. The crystal clear river that flows from the falls two miles up river is a refreshing reprieve for tired, hot and muddy feet. Cool off in the river the ocean here is NOT for swimming. When you reach Hanakapiai stream you will need to cross the stream by boulder hopping. The beach is on the other side and during the summer months this beautiful beach is great for sunbathing, exploring the rocks and caves. But at no time is swimming recommended. The views from the beach back up the valley are magical. Most people make this their turn around point, but for those with the time and endurance can trek up the river trail another two miles through bamboo forest; the hike is 4 miles round-trip to beach, 8 miles round-trip to Falls. Caution: During heavy rains and high surf this trail can be extremely dangerous near the river and the shorelines. Do not attempt to cross the river during heavy rains. Flash flooding can occur without notice.

hiking
5 days ago

Agree with other commenters, this is definitely a "Must Do" while on Kauai. The views along the cliffs are awesome and the beach is a wonderful reward for the hike...

hiking
7 days ago

This hike is a MUST do if you are in kauai. I did not have time to do the falls or to go further down the trail, but wanted to at least see this hike as it offers incredible views of the na pali. The beginning is tough as you traverse Rocky, muddy, and steep inclines but when you hit the summit you are good aside from some switchbacks. After 2 miles of up and down, you hit the beach for a break and dip in the ocean. It was not bad, but don't swim too far as it can be rough, and has an undertow

hiking
10 days ago

12 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

17 days ago

My husband and I completed this hike today and I have to say we LOVED IT!!!

The views were breathtaking and astonishing I've never marveled at such beauty! Him actually being to quite a few countries said this was astonishing and a new favorite.

Experience should tell you (as well as all the signs on how to cross a river) that you should actually wade across the rivers and not jump across the rocks as that is far more dangerous. It was simple enough honestly many people were able, but for everyone it's different.

Hanakapi'ai Beach (half way point) was also very delightful! There was actually a pool of water (separated by much much sand from the ocean) that many families and children enjoyed. We also delighted in the water!

GPS confirmed the trail signs off slightly. It took us 6 hours out and back. Swim at your own risk just as you hike at your own risk don't rely on this as advice as the weather patterns and rain contributes to drastic changes in the hike daily. Much luck if going!

17 days ago

So beautiful! Go on a weekday to avoid larger groups of people. The beach is so tranquil and just before you get to the beach you cross a river that feeds directly into the ocean, a one of a kind view!

25 days ago

Worth the hike for the views alone.

hiking
26 days ago

Unbelievably beautiful. Trail was steep and wet in places, and we ended up hiking during the hot part of the day, but the views are amazing and playing in the fresh water pond on the beach was fun for the kids.

hiking
27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, busy trail but no trouble getting to and from the beach. Pictures don't do the views justice and this is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been at even if we didn't swim.

1 month ago

Great hike to a beautiful beach. Really crowded. I would suggest trying to go during the week!

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Wow! I really loved this hike! It's probably a shorter hike than we made it, but stopping for pictures along the way were definitely worth it! The stream meets the ocean and a few caves right on the beach and around the corner to the left. The ocean is pretty rough and they have a sign posted on how many have lost their lives to either the ocean or flash floods, so be careful!!! Since we were there on June 10, 2017 the sign said "834." Better luck swimming in the icy cold waterfall in the valley.

hiking
1 month ago

This is gorgeous hike, but I think a lot of people go out there without proper attire. If it rains, it's going to be incredibly slippery. When we went, there were a lot of us grabbing walking sticks to try and help us grab some traction. It was really difficult to progress up some of the slippery slopes. However, many people told us that the trail is much easier on sunny, clear days. But this is the Napali Coast. It likes to rain. All in all, absolutely beautiful hike though. Best views ever.

2 months ago

2 months ago

What an incredible hike! We hiked the trail in May after a couple of relatively dry (for Kauai, anyway) days. Even Kawaikini was relatively cloud free throughout the day. This meant the trail was drier than usual, which made for a great hike. We saw all ages out on the trail, and I would feel comfortable recommending it to just about anyone up for a little challenge. There is one section at about a third of the way in that is a wet descent over rocks. There are two ways to go, and I'd highly recommend the side closer to the ocean for cautious trail goers.

Regarding the wet crossing, we were able to boulder hop across without any problem; no wet feet for us. My wife has shorter legs and found it a little challenging, but I was able to stride right across (6'0" tall). Granted, this was in May.

In terms of difficulty, I feel like this trail is on the tough side of moderate for casual hikers. I've hiked Sharp Top in Roanoke, VA on three occasions, and its rated hard on All Trails. This felt equally as difficult, and I left the trail with blisters today. Granted, my feet are not in shape (first hike since fall), and I'm in new boots (hrmmmm).

You won't beat the environment on this trail though. Simply an incredible place to be. I'll take the blisters, thanks!