Razor sharp ridges with edges tinged in reds and yellows, cutting into towering sea cliffs draped in green. Deep valleys with lush forests disappearing into the island’s mysterious interior. Crystal clear waters tumbling down from the peaks above to form babbling streams that feed into the turquoise waters of the Pacific. Such is the Na Pali Coast, the breathtaking cliffs of the remote northern Kaua’i coastline. With eye-popping, out of this world scenery, it is no wonder that the Na Pali Coast is world-renowned for its rugged beauty. Enticing, seductive, and alluring, the only way to experience this Lost World is on foot by hiking the serpentine route of the Kalalau Trail.
Kalalau Trail: World Famous & Breathtakingly Beautiful
Stretching for 11 miles from Ke`e Beach to Kalalau Beach, the Kalalau Trail is a must see for any serious hiker. Rising and falling with the rugged terrain, the trail fords two streams and crosses through five valleys. The path is graded but seldom flat, and rarely does it return to sea level. Setting out from the trail head, the first two miles are easy enough, a series of rises and falls up to the first of two stream crossings. Here at Hanakapi`ai Beach you can relax, catch your breath, and even frolic in the stream (beware of ocean currents). The 2-mile side trail leads inland to the majestic Kalalau waterfall at the head of the stream. At 8 miles round trip, this is a great day hike for those who want to experience the Kalalau in all its glory but only some if its intensity. Proceeding from Hanakapi`ai requires an overnight camping permit (whether you camp or not), and the switchbacks and elevation gains get considerably more difficult.
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Crawler’s Ledge and Kalalau Beach
Hiking a steep 800′ ridge out of the valley brings you to the wildlife reserve, home to native lowland forest plants. At the Hanakoa Stream crossing is the first camping shelter, built near the site of terraced coffee plant farms from the 19th century. Wild coffee trees still grow here today and can be glimpsed just off the trail. After crossing the stream there is an eroded trail which leads to spectacular falls up the valley, though it can be impassable at times. The main Kalalau trail continues on for 5 miles to Kalalau Beach. The most harrowing section comes at mile 7. Nicknamed “Crawler’s Ledge,” this narrow portion of the trail offers jaw-dropping views of the ocean, but with precipitous drops and rough conditions. Once through, you drop down the switchbacks into the verdant valley below, the site of ancient Hawaiian fishing villages and taro fields. The valley is rife with waterfalls and scenic hikes, with sea caves at the water’s edge.
The Kalalau Trail is not for the faint of heart, but this day-long expedition is a once in a lifetime journey into some of the most spectacular back country on Earth. Ready for the adventure? Book your stay in one of our gorgeous vacation rentals today or contact us anytime for more information on the best activities!
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