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“Fantastic and Challenging Hike” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail
Kauai, HI
808-587-0400
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Ranked #3 of 129 Attractions in Kauai
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Hiking Trails, Outdoors
Activities: Hiking
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Owner description: Kauai's hiking trail along the Na Pali coast.
Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Fantastic and Challenging Hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2012

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.

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Redondo Beach, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Pretty views”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

We decided that we had to hike the trail to the waterfall (eight miles total) since we missed-out on this during our first trip to Kauai two years back. The hike was very strenuous and challenging and we did not pack nearly enough water and the sunshine was beating down most of the hike. The eight miles took us nearly ten hours to complete, with stops and photo opportunities combined.

The views within the first 0.5 miles were gorgeous, however we didn't find the waterfall worth the remaining miles. It was an adventure we will never forget yet not so sure it was a safe hiking trail altogether. If you are in great physical shape and enjoy living on the edge, make sure you arrive at the parking area early in the morning.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Palm Beach, florida
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great views from half mile mark”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2012

I only made it about a half mile up. This trail is supposedly rated a 10 of 10 for difficulty. The first half mile was straight up but the payoff was pretty good both of the Napali coast and Ke'e beach where you start. Hint if you don't want to hike it when you get to Ke'e beach go about 200 yards down the beach keeping the water on your left and then turn around you can see way down the Napali

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJ
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Great hike but know thyself”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2012

We recently tackled the 2 mile out/2 mile back Kalalau Trail hike to Hanakapiai Beach. While we are not “hikers”, my wife and I do daily fast pace walks of 30-45 min and my daughter is a runner, so we are all in decent physical condition.

I thought we had a good idea of what to anticipate, but were still a little surprised at how challenging it was if you don’t want to take all day to do it (not that we were passing by tons of people on the trail). As a non-hiker, the thing you don’t anticipate is not necessarily the physical aspect of the hike, but the mental aspect i.e. the concentration required to carefully navigate the slippery rock and root strewn sections, thinking “Jeez if I step wrong here or have my foot slip off this rock, I could twist an ankle pretty bad and screw up the rest of my vacation”.

Also, in retrospect, at the risk of rubbing true hikers and adventurers the wrong way and/or seeming somewhat wimp-ish, I would argue that for some it is totally not necessary to go all the way down to Hanakapiai Beach. IMO the “payoff” at that beach is not worth the extra effort of that last descent, tricky stream/rock crossing to the beach, and ascent back up. When you get to the part of the trail where you can finally see the beach and it starts to descend to it, that could be a good spot to turn around and save yourself a good 45+ minutes and the extra mental and physical effort associated with that, perhaps making the overall experience less arduous and more pleasant for us non-hikers.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Be In Shape/Bring Water”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2012

First, parking is crazy no matter how early you get to the end of the road. We had to park about a mile away. Next, be in good shape for the 2 mile trek to the 1st beach. The return trip is uphill and rugged so make sure you have plenty of water. Views were spectacular. Then head to the beach down the road a couple miles where there is camping, a lifeguard, showers, and easy parking. Great way to end the hike.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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