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blueBlack Kalalau Trail

  4.9 ( 38 )

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19.1 mile 30.8 kilometer loop


Ascent: 5,141' 1,567 m
Descent: -5,140' -1,567 m
High: 750' 228 m
Low: 28' 9 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Ryan P

The Kalalau Trail, part of the famous Nāpali coastline, offers some of the best views on the planet!

Ryan P

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


The Kalalau trail, along the famous Npali coastline, offers stunning views and a challenging hike! It can be busy at times and draws crowds ranging from seasoned backpackers to walk-the-dog around the block enthusiasts. There are plenty of opportunities along the trail for amazing views of the coastline and ocean, so bring a camera!

Need to Know

There are streams that water can be pumped/filtered from. Use caution on this trail if rain is in the forecast. The Hanakapaia Stream, Hanakoa Stream, and the Kalalau Stream are susceptible to flash floods. Additionally, the trail can become extremely muddy and slippery after rain. There are composting toilets at Hanakapaia Beach, Hanakoa Camp Site, and Kalalau Beach.


The Kalalau Trail is the best of the best on Kauai! The trailhead is located in Hena State Park, at the end of Khi Highway (Highway 56). The trail itself is generally well maintained but expect it to be muddy, slippery, rocky, and uneven in many sections. The scenery is typical Npali coastline - lush vegetation, gorgeous waterfalls, and views for miles. If you only have a few hours, the most popular section of the trail ends at Hanakpai Beach where you can relax and watch the waves crash. Note: avoid swimming at the beach due to strong currents! Relax for awhile and backtrack to the car!

If you have more time and consider yourself an experienced, sure-footed, and adventurous explorer then continue on. The trail can be steep and narrow, so be cautious - particularly in wet and muddy sections. Camping is ONLY allowed, by permit, at the end of the trail at Kalalau Beach - mile 11. This is a one-way in-and-out trail... so backtrack to reach the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Mountain Apple

History & Background

The current trail was built around 1860 by the Hawaiian Government to foster transportation and commerce for the residents living in the remote valleys. Local labor and dynamite were used to construct a trail wide enough to accommodate pack animals loaded with oranges, taro, and coffee being grown in the valleys.


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Apr 3, 2019
Mike Zhang
Apr 10, 2018
Jeff Blakley
Mar 17, 2018
Larry Bee
Jan 16, 2018
Carl Gödecken
Went until the waterfall in the middle Nice macadamia nuts at miles 4-6 Great lemons/clementines at mile 6 14mi
Jan 16, 2018
Daniel Thevessen
Went to Hanakoa Falls 15mi
Jan 4, 2018
Ani Kruse
two miles out to the hidden beach with the fm and cornies. beautiful hike, lots of fun, but a bit slippery. crocs were not a great shoe choice. tiredR 2mi
Dec 29, 2017
kt friend
Nov 24, 2017
Stephen LaChance

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 38 votes


  4.9 from 38 votes
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132 Views Last Month
8,443 Since May 20, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Nick Wilder
Boulder, CO
Nick Wilder   Boulder, CO  
As if the trail weren't enough, at the very end, there is a waterfall landing directly on the beach. Power shower! Jul 27, 2015
Bryan lavapix
Kailua Kona
Bryan lavapix   Kailua Kona
This is a fantastic hike. If you'd rather not backpack and camp at the end it can be a very long there and back all day hike. I've done it before. You have around 11 hours of daylight to work with. Stash water along the way to save on weight if needed. Bring headlamps. Avoid the trail during storms. Gets very muddy and slippery. Be sure of your physical abilities before attempting as a day hike. Mar 8, 2017
This is one of my all time favorite experiences. We hiked in and stayed two nights before returning. Loaded packs on this trail was tough, no doubt, due to the slippery conditions on the trail. But water is readily available to filter, so that is one weight advantage. There was only one other person at the Kalalau Beach campsite, so we had the place to ourselves. What an experience. If you have time when you get back, do the day long kayak along the coast and see it from the water's perspective also. Great views! May 5, 2018

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