Kauai’s Best Hiking – Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail

While the south side of Kauai offers incredible beaches, shopping and dining at The Shops at Kukui’ula, the north shore also holds its special share of wonders. A few of them being its tropical landscape, celebrity homes and magnificent hiking trails. The most popular hiking trail, the Kalalau Trail, features 11 miles of lush jungle terrain, babbling rivers, secluded beaches and incredible Ocean views.

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Curving along the famous Nā Pali (high cliffs) Coast and State Park, the Kalalau Trail begins at “The End of The Road,” otherwise known as Ke’e Beach. Welcoming visitors and locals, the first stretch of the trail is moderately strenuous. Beginning with one mile uphill and one mile downhill, this leads you right past the Hanakapiai River and to Hanakapiai Beach.

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Moving past the beach you discover incredible mountain scenery; tall native trees, vibrant flowers such as Awapuhi and high grasses. A mysterious green bamboo forest makes up a leg of the trail, the ancient stalks whistling and creaking as the breeze gently shifts them side to side. Past the brush and into the clearing you will find the magnificent Hanakapiai Falls, a massive waterfall pouring down from hundreds of feet above into a large, dark pool. The water is crisp and refreshing, the perfect place to cool off and eat your packed lunch.

About four miles past you will find Hanakoa Valley, a hanging valley with no beach access. Continuing on four miles past Hanakoa, you will finally reach Kalalau Valley. A large, flat-bottomed valley approximately a mile across. Another half a mile to hike down a stretch of red dirt appropriately named Red Hill and you will find yourself at Kalalau Stream, the last obstacle before you can kick back on the warm white sands of Kalalau Beach.

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Kalalau is most recognized for starring in films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean and Jurassic Park. Visitors can also enjoy the beauty of Kalalau Beach without the hike! Daily boat, kayak and helicopter tours are available. Including the passionate and local individuals that create Island Pursuits, Kukuiula’s own adventure team. Here to help you explore the island’s best kept secrets and rich cultural past.

Of course we always recommend exercising extra caution when out and about in the remote reaches of Kauai. When it comes to these trails, Mother Nature is wild and unpredictable. Which of course, is part of her charm. At this time camping is only permitted on the beach at Hanakoa Valley and Kalalau Beach. Permits can attained online and printed. So get out there and start exploring!