Rather than following the typical route of hiking four miles to Hanakapi'ai, we set our sites on seeing Hanakoa Falls, about 1/2 mile from mile six on the trail. We departed the trailhead around 7:30am and hiked to the 6-mile point and got there around 10:30am. We then started trying to find the 1/2 mile hike to the falls. We poked around along the streams and eventually found a trail that led to some dripping water off a rock which was a bit disappointing. We almost turned back but decided to give it one more try and eventually found the correct trail to Hanakoa Falls, and we were so glad we did. The falls have a large (and chilly!) pond, which was very invigorating in the warm temps. Perhaps because the trail was so difficult to find, we had the falls to ourselves. To find the trail to the falls from mile six - follow the path beyond the picnic tables and look for the trail, keeping the stream to your left. The path isn't clearly marked, but it it worth the trouble.
The trail along the coast is narrow in many areas, and includes very rocky and heavy root areas that could easily trip you if you are not careful. Be sure to bring plenty of water as there is no potable water on the trail. We carried four liters of water each and drank nearly all of it. Also, if you are afraid of heights, this is probably not the hike for you as in many areas there is a very steep drop to one side. This might not be the right hike for a beginner.
The views are truly spectacular and well worth the hike. Next time we'll bring camping gear and make the entire 11-mile length of the trail.
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