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Kalalau Trail

Na Pali Coast State Park

Kauai + Niihau, Hawai'i

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Kalalau Trail

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  • Start of the Kalalau Trail from Ke'e Beach.- Kalalau Trail
  • View through the vegetation to the Napali Coast.- Kalalau Trail
  • Waterfall view along the trail.- Kalalau Trail
  • View to the Napali Coast from near Ke'e Beach.- Kalalau Trail
  • Insects along the trail.- Kalalau Trail
  • Unidentified mushrooms along the trail.- Kalalau Trail
  • Muddy Kalalau Trail lined with tree roots.- Kalalau Trail
  • Hanakapiai Beach warning along the trial.- Kalalau Trail
  • A section of the muddy trail.- Kalalau Trail
  • Tropical flowers along the trail.- Kalalau Trail
  • Waterfall swimming holes.- Kalalau Trail
  • View from the trail.- Kalalau Trail
  • Ke'e Beach, the beginning and end of the Kalalau Trial.- Kalalau Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing views and waterfalls. The Jurassic Park coast.
Cons: 
Steep areas with loose rock and mud. Three major stream crossings.
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Region:
Kauai + Niihau, HI
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
22.00 mi (35.41 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Kalalau Trial provides the only land access to this part of the rugged Napali Coast, known for being featured in the sweeping helicopter flyover shots in the film Jurassic Park. The there-and-back hike is 11 miles each way from the trailhead at Ke'e Beach for a total of 22 miles round trip. Some expert hikers can complete the 22 miles there-and-back in one day, but most hikers require two days or more with a camping permit.

While the views are astounding, the challenges are also significant. The Kalalau Trial was listed by Backpacker Magazine as one the "10 Most Dangerous Hikes" in the U.S. and by Outside Magazine as one of "The 20 Most Dangerous Hikes" in the world. This is for two main reasons: some eroded areas of the trail are along high, narrow cliffs, and there are three major stream crossings along the way (Hanakapiai, Hanakoa, and Kalalau) where waters can rise quickly with Kauai’s rain and become impassible.

The most strenuous part of the hike occurs after Hanakapiai Beach, where the trail climbs from sea level to 800 feet in 1.25 miles. In total, the trail traverses five valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach. Camping is only allowed at Hanakoa or Kalalau, and permits are required to camp. As of March 2015, hikers are allowed to go to Hanakapiai and up to Hanakapiai Falls as a day hike without a permit, but permits are required to hike past Hanakapiai even if you don’t plan to camp. The authorized camp sites do not have tables or drinking water. Composting toilets are available at Hanakapiai, Hanakoa, and Kalalau.

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