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“Beautiful views..” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail
Kauai, HI
808-587-0400
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Ranked #4 of 236 things to do in Kauai
Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Hiking
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Owner description: Kauai's hiking trail along the Na Pali coast.
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Beautiful views..”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

Me and my wife only took the first two miles of the trail to Hanakapi"ai Beach, where we took another trail to the Hanakap"ai falls. The part of the Kalalau Trail the we walked was a little strenuous but worth it for the amazing views. If you are in Kauai I would say this is a must see. Loved the time I spent on the trail and it was one of the highlights of my trip.
I will say that if you are going further on the Kalalau trail that it does get extremely dangerous. There are spots such as " crawlers ledge" where you are basically hanging off a cliff thousands of miles in the air. There was no such dangers during the first two miles and unless you are an adrenaline junky I suggest you stop there.

Visited June 2012
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Saskatoon, Canada
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13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

We are young (30 and 38) experienced hikers and consider ourselves very fit, and would rate the full trail as "difficult". We completed the full hike in June 2012. We spent 5 days on Kalalau beach before hiking back out, and had beautiful weather and dry conditions the entire time. We both agree that despite the challenge, this hike was the best that we have ever done! We would do it again.

Hike to Hanakapiʻai beach: We saw all kinds of people, ranging in age from very young to old, and very fit to not-so-much, attempt the first two miles. Our advice - leave the flip flops and very small children at home, dress appropriately for a hiking, bring LOTS of water and a snack, start early to avoid the heat, and don't attempt if you have mobility problems. The hike back from the beach climbs 800 feet in 1 1/4 miles and is extremely hot and exhausting in the sun.

Hike to Hanakapi'ai Falls: We both agree that this stretch of the hike was the most technically challenging part of our entire hike...lots of ups and downs over boulders, stream crossings, and at times the trail is poorly marked. Made more difficult for us because we had large packs that I didn't feel comfortable stashing at the beach. However, we thought it was worth it, and really enjoyed the refreshing swim at the end. As a bonus - we started early enough that we were the only ones there! Our advice - only so this portion if it's dry, you have good shoes (so glad we had hiking boots...pitied the folks with flip flops), and you are fit.

Hike to Hanakoa Valley: This part was moderate - mainly just ups and downs to deal with, not terribly challenging. We were tired when we got to the valley (due to our 4 mile additional falls hike with the packs) and so decided to set up camp. We thought the camp sites were fine (get as far away from the composting toilets as you can!) and the stream was nice to wash off and refresh. There were bugs, but they weren't unmanageable.

Hike to Kalalau beach: More challenging - the trail is narrow and exposed at points, and there is loose gravel/clay, but we didn't feel unsafe. Mostly just took our time and were cautious. I thought crawler's ledge wasn't that bad, but the switchbacks just before it (or after, if you are returning) were awful to climb back up in the sun. These would be a nightmare in the mud, I think. I thought this portion (from Hanakoa valley to Kalalau) was the most scenic. Both us do not like heights, and no portion of the trail bothered us - we were too busy concentrating on the trail ahead and were to put our feet next! A comment about the recent falling death at Kalalau - we were at Kalalau when this happened...very sad, but accidents can happen anytime/anywhere - everyone should be cautious at all times. We don't think this should discourage anyone from hiking this trail - it truly appeared to be an unfortunate accident.

The hike back was MUCH easier and faster than our hike in, and took us only 6.5 hours with lots of short breaks and a lunch stop at Hanakoa Valley. Start back early to avoid the heat.

Our advice to those attempting the whole hike - pack light (sleeping bag liner was enough for us), make sure to keep hydrated (there are lots of streams along the way and we treated our water with a Steripen), eat snacks frequently, stay as long as you can (we thought 4-5 days was perfect) and make sure you take the time to enjoy the stunning Na Pali coast!!

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IOWA
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“best hike in Hawaii”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2012

This is a strenous hike. It is beautiful and hilly. The terrain is sometimes rocky and slippery. I can only go as far as the first beach. It is 4 miles round trip. Plan on about 3-4 hours. For us its closer to 4 as we spend a bit of time at the beach cooling our tootsies.

Visited April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
34 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 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.
Redondo Beach, California
Level Contributor
35 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 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.

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