Do: Hike the Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Today I wanted to share with you the beautiful Na Pali Coast! The above picture was taken during our Jack Harter Helicopter Tour (which we also highly recommend). You can only access this amazing terrain by foot (or view it from boat or helicopter), as there are no roads that lead you through this magnificent beauty.

J and I only did the first leg (2 miles each way) of this incredible hike (total 11 miles each way) to  Hanakapiai Beach; but if we had more time, we would have loved to do the next stretch (another 2 miles) to the waterfall. Nonetheless, we were plenty wiped out from the trek we did! It was definitely more strenuous than any of the hikes we’ve done in LA (see “Do” for reviews of local hikes) and over the course of our hike, there was sun, clouds, rain, dry path, puddles and river crossings!  I can see why people recommend bringing two pairs of shoes (water and regular hiking); though I hiked pretty comfortably in my Keens.

My first piece of advice would be to start at the correct beginning of the trail.  The trailhead begins at Ke’e Beach.  J led me down a very “wild” path. We both thought that it was the correct trail as we had read reviews about how difficult the Na Pali coast hike could be. However, after things got a little too junglelike (see below), I suggested we turn around. Lo and behold – we found a nicely maintained trail at the start of the beach! (on the Left at the entrance of the beach)

View from the hike. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
J at the top of mountain – 1 mile mark. 
There was some brief drizzle. The north shore of Kauai is known to be wet, so be prepared for a shower at some point even if your hike starts off sunny. It is not safe to do this hike during heavy rain, as there have been flash floods before and the path gets very muddy and slippery. 
We had to cross a rive to get to Hanakapiai Beach and it was rainy and high tide so we stayed far away from the ocean. But there was an incredible sight to behold…. hundreds, even possibly thousands of stacked rocks from former hikers. J and I made a little stack of our own before turning around and heading back.  
If you want to do the full hike, guides recommend training, as well as plan on backpacking and camping overnight. You’ll need a permit to do that, and you can find info for that here.

For more information on the Kalalau trail, here are some resources:
yelp reviews

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I am a mom, wife, daughter, sister, doctor, adventure enthusiast, food lover, and photographer. I spend a lot of time researching fun things for my family to do, explore and eat - so I created this space to share some information that might be helpful to others.

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