Kalalau Trail, Kauai
The odd thing about me putting this tip in this category is that THIS IS a beaten path! :) It’s just one that leads you away from all the other beaten paths on the island.
The Kalalau Trail runs most of the length of Nâ Pali Coast on the rugged north shore of Kaua‘i. Starting at Ke‘e (kay-ay) Beach and terminating at Kalalau Beach, it is eleven miles of hiking along one of the most beautiful coastlines.
Some precautions: This area is remote and can be dangerous. You’ll encounter narrow rocky trails with steep drop-offs. If it rains, runoff flows on and across the trail (see video linked below) and can be strong. Bring a poncho in case it rains. Cell phones do not work out here and help is always a long hike back to Ke‘e. So be very careful. Bring a couple liters of water per person and some high-energy snacks. Wear a good sunscreen, maybe a hat, and an easy-going attitude.
Although it is not required to hike too far on the trail to get some awesome views, most people simply choose the two-mile hike to Hanakapi‘ai (hah-nah-kah-pee-eye) Beach. If you're really in for a long day-hike, from that beach you can venture inland for another two miles to Hanakapi‘ai Falls. I've never done it, but they say it's really nice.
I have put together my pictures and video of the three hikes we have made along this trail. You may view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOlWDfPLVQs .
If you would like to hike beyond Hanakapi‘ai Beach, the trail continues along the coast for about another 9 miles to Kalalau Beach. However, to go further, the state requires you to obtain a camping permit.
I have another video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQMqJgYA7zs ) of my ultralight flight over Nā Pali. It has some good shots of this entire coast. It gives you a better idea of the ground on which you are walking
Whichever way you choose to see Nâ Pali, you cannot lose. Just be sure to experience it!
The Kalalau Trail is an 11 mile roundtrip hike on Kauai. We wimped out and only hiked 4 miles to Hanakapiai Beach. It was a bit scary, with narrow paths, drop offs, and wet ground. The views were incredible and well worth it. Make sure you take lots of water!!
This is the trail that starts at Ke'e Beach, and climbs through the Napali Coast. This hike is WAY HARD! Don't take that to mean that we are wimpy girls who don't know what we are doing - we know how to hike, and this trail is WAY HARD. We rate it a 9 out of 10 for difficulty - any more difficult, and I don't think you could actually call it a 'trail'. If you're going to do it, we seriously recommend a walking stick. We got about a mile in, and it started to rain. Wear clothes you don't care about, because the red-dirt of Kauai does not wash out easily. The photo shows what Susan looked like when we finally got out of there.
This is the trail that goes the 11 miles through the Napoli mountain range. Many people start the trail, but not many go far! Not only is it steep, but it has some hazardous footing---uneven rocks, lots of thick roots, slick spots from water runoffs, cliffs---and that's just in the 1st mile. That's as far as we got, but it took about an hour each way, and had some fantastic views. After seeing the trail, I definately would not recommend trying it on a wet day! We did see some really hearty soles, though---some regulars that whized by us barefooted or even carrying surfboards. We're told if you go about 2 miles, you can reach yet another beautiful Kauai beach and surfing area. For the really hearty, you can hike to the other side of the range (to Polihale park) and camp along your way. That requires special permission, though.
Just walking around Kauai you are bound to come across wild chickens and roosters. While we were hiking, and stopped off at a water fall and pool, I spotted this one!
Kalalau trail -a very beautiful and fragile environment.Leave only foot prints and take back pictures and memories.Pack out what you pack in.Preserve the beauty of the trail for others to enjoy.