“The Kalalau Trail, part of the famous Nāpali coastline, offers some of the best views on the planet!”
— AB CD
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
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.