Hanakapi'ai Beach

MODERATE 138 reviews
#3 of 3 trails in

Hanakapi'ai Beach is a 3.4 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
3.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1131 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
2 days ago

Amazing views, well maintained trail. Gets 4 stars instead of 5 because this is the portion of the Na Pali Coast that has a lot more foot traffic. If we had more time, my wife and I would have done the entire 11mi coast and camped out at the end. Since there are handfuls of people who only go out to the first beach and back, you're bound to get caught up in a couple of spots behind slower hikers or have faster ones get caught up behind you. Overall, well worth it!

14 days ago

Scenic trail. Well maintained. Brought our 7 month old along without a problem. River was too high to cross, but saw the whole beach from other side of river no problem.

1 month ago

A beautiful hike! Able to see the coast line, which is one of the best parts of the island. It was a bit muddy when we went in March, but with careful footing it was not too bad. Would recommend this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail that is accessible but quite muddy in rainy season. Plan ahead and bring lots of water and wear proper shoes. The diversity of the panoramas is fantastic. Enjoy

2 months ago

Crowded but worth it for the amazing views along the coast.

2 months ago

Awesome views. I recommend picking up a walking stick at the trailhead. A kind person gave me his stick part the way up and it was invaluable.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome among awesome trails. If it rained (often does) plan extra time for slippery downhills, particularly near the stream around 1.6 mi. Some people do this hike every day they visit Kauai, I can see why. Hiking poles very helpful.

3 months ago

Awesome hike, but be prepared for the mud and a few slips here and there!

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views! Special location. This was our fifth or sixth time on the trail. It’s always been a bit muddy, yesterday was no exception. Plan to finish with muddy shoes. Best to start as early as daylight allows. This helps with traffic, parking and mud.

hiking
3 months ago

We’re in decent shape and made it to the beach in exactly 1 hour with taking pictures. The mud can really slow you down. One of the more beautiful places on earth is at the 1/2 mile make in this hike.

3 months ago

Amazing hike! Definitely heed the warnings at the trailhead, conditions and unpreparedness can make this trail very dangerous.

The beach is beautiful. During low tide, you can access a tunnel on the left side of the beach. You can go inside but be careful you don’t get stuck in there.

3 months ago

I have never been more thankful for my waterproof boots with excellent ankle support. The trail is very slick, muddy, and uneven. However, it really was a cool experience just to hike on the Na Pali Coast! My favorite parts of the trail were when it opened up to the views of the Coast further down. I also loved the views of the ocean along the way. The beach at the end is great for hanging out, having a snack, and watching the waves. We were debating continuing to the Falls but ultimately decided to head back. Awesome trail, and a must-do on Kauai.

3 months ago

very muddy, but really gorgeous views and lovely beach at the end of the trail

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely beautiful and challenging!! It rained on me for about 15 minutes which made for an extremely muddy trail, you're either climbing up and down slippery rocks or mud. Lots of up and down but the unreal views the whole time and wild beach are totally worth it. I personally wouldn't bring a young child because it's easy to slip and fall but I saw a lot of families and parents carrying babies on their backs. The drive up is gorgeous too. I tracked it as 4.2 miles and got it done in a little over 2 hours, including 20 or so minutes on the beach in the middle. Definitely do this hike just bring good boots!!!

4 months ago

Amazing trail with beautiful views

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this trail, it is challenging if you are not an active person but very doable. Your shoes will be muddy, I recommend taking a walking stick from the pile at the trail head, you will need this for the mud spots and also to cross the water/ rocks. Unless you don’t care about wet feet. Also a lot of people came back covered in mud from slipping. Don’t forget water and bug spray. Not as hard as you think, worth it for the views. Bring a snack for the beach before you head back. Just as challenging on the way back.

hiking
5 months ago

Outstanding views!

hiking
6 months ago

It is an awesome hike! It's rather challenging in the last quarter mile as the grade is rather steep. Take at least a liter of water per person. You cannot avoid getting your shoes muddy. Warning to parents: there were a couple topless women at the beach. They were sunbathing or changing clothes -- not walking around indiscreetly. Nevertheless, topless.

6 months ago

Wouldn't leave the island until you hike this one. Slippery in the morning after heavy rain. Proper shoes and water...you will need it!!! Go to the falls it's worth every step

hiking
6 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail after a morning of snorkeling. I’m a hiker and he is not but I wanted to take advantage of the trail head being right there and the fact that we had a parking spot. So anyhow this hike can be done for non hikers as long as the trail is dry, which it was on 9/24. I was fortunate to have hiking shoes in the car which I suggest. He however only had water shoes. These worked but I do not suggest them at all. Make sure you have a thick sole to absorb the very rocky trail and a nice tread. Many hiked in Tevas and a few locals were barefoot. The hike is longer than 2 miles, that was agreed by everyone we saw. It can be quite hot as it is exposed. Views are well worth the hike and the beach is gorgeous. Saw lots of kids on the trail and parents carrying baby’s in packs. Great family hike. Carry lots of water and have a snack at the beach.

6 months ago

Worth every minute!

7 months ago

Gorgeous!

hiking
7 months ago

Lots of people

7 months ago

The view is mesmerizing!

hiking
8 months 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
8 months 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

8 months 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!

8 months 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!

8 months ago

Worth the hike for the views alone.

hiking
9 months 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.

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