Hanakapi'ai Beach

MODERATE 53 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.

4 days ago

10 days 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!

1 month ago

Bit of a work out and slippery when wet. Gorgeous views along the way. Wet crossing at last beach.

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hiking
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3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views throughout the hike. You definitely should have some sort of traction shoe due to mud, roots, and lots of water on the trail. Bathrooms at the rocky beach end (midpoint).

3 months ago

3 months ago

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hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This really was a wonderful hike, and I loved the opportunity to go, but I don't think people realize how tough it is. I went with my wife and her sister and husband; we are all in fair shape and in our late twenties and early thirties. We are not avid hikers but we are good shape from running. This hike was challenging both for the elevation gains and the trail condition. It rained heavily during our hike and the trail was very muddy and slick. There were people in flip flops and with very elderly hikers, as well as young children with or without carriers. I do not recommend this hike if you don't have good shoes or if you're not in good shape unless you are guaranteed good conditions. We saw multiple people who had fallen, and me and the other guy in our group had to pull an obese man to safety after he fell in the stream crossing. The views are amazing and the hike was worth it if you're up to it, so I definitely recommend. We had to cut ours short (we had planned to go to the falls) due to the river rapidly rising and it was still worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful beach at the end of this hike! The real treat though was the view of the coastline just after the beginning of the hike. If you can't make it to the beach, at least go see that! It's absolutely breathtaking. The trail was a little more difficult than expected, but my girlfriend is (or was, before this!) a beginner hiker and she had no problems. Might be difficult if you have knee problems.

hiking
4 months ago

Difficult trail to rate. You start at the HI State park and I have been to parks in developing countries that have better facilities! The parking lot is very rough, as in if you have a car you will need a spotter so you don't high center on rocks and you will only be able to park in certain stalls. Did I mention this is the official parking for for the park! The Trail itself had wonderful scenery but was very, very busy. As a lot of tourists (non-hikers) do this trail I saw a lot of really bad trail etiquette. Radios blaring in backpacks, people passing on other on difficult sections, etc. I don't know if the views make up for this.

The difficulty of the trail itself really depends on the weather. Most of the trail is steep on mud. When dry it's fine, if there is rain it turns to grease. My tip is to arrive early, have walking sticks, take your time on the mud and bring a towel and beach shoes for the one large stream crossing at the end.

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

We've done the full hike, all the way to the Falls three times; in my 40's, 50's and almost 60, always in the winter months when it tends to be quite muddy. The trail to the beach is moderate, but a little tough on the knees. The trail from Hanakapi'ai Beach to the Falls I would regard as strenuous, and treacherous, due to it's slippery and muddy conditions. I probably won't do it again, the last time was very difficult, but, if you are on Kauai, and in reasonable shape, this is an absolute must do. The views and the experience are unforgettable. If you are going to go all the way to the Falls, get an early start, you want to get to the Falls before the sun slips down behind the mountain, it's a lot more fun to swim in the pool beneath the Falls while it's still in the sun.