Kalalau Trail
Kalalau Trail
5
Nature & Wildlife AreasHiking Trails
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
End the day with some of the best camping in Hanakoa and Kalalau—this 11-mile trail along the Northern Na Pali coast is challenging but incredibly scenic.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • RCola4Life
    Wichita Falls, Texas1,294 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful hard hike
    Not for the weak, elderly or children. Please don’t wear flip flops people. The trail is hard muddy, slippery hard on the body. Hard ups and hard downs. Really no flat east parts of the trail. An easy 8/10 on difficulty for hiking. Being 40 and in great physical condition I can admit it was very hard. The rewards of views and the beach at the end of the trail make it all worth it. You should be able to do it in about 2 hours add in a little more time if you want to hang at the beach for a bit. Brings snacks and plenty of water you will be sweating your butt off.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 21, 2023
  • Robin D
    Livermore, California89 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful
    This hike is beautiful but harder than I remembered. Of course we’re a few years older now(64 and 66). Conditions were good with minimal rain in the past 3 days. Wear good hiking boots and hiking sticks are very helpful
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 23, 2023
  • Emily R
    1 contribution
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful, tough, marred by overdevelpment and lack of maintenance
    It is tough, 11+ miles out with 4,000 feet of climbing on a trail that is often rocky and sometimes muddy. There is a lot of exposure, nothing that is technically challenging, but could be mentally challenging if you don't feel comfortable (it was fine for us). You would definitely want to be feeling fit before you go in order to enjoy it. We were out for three nights, which I think is pefect. We hiked all the way out in a day and stayed at the beach two nights (we day hiked the next day up to the pools, which are very nice). The camping is nice, with a waterfall for fresh water collection and washing. The ocean is pretty rough, so not great for swimming. Then we hiked out in two days, camping at the midway point (Hanakoa), which is pretty nice. The 1/2 mile hike to the Hanakoa Falls and large pool is an ABSOLUTELY MUST, but stay back from the cliff edges as there is falling rock. Be aware that there are mosquitoes at those sites and pigs (put all your stuff up high). There are bathrooms (composting toilets) at both camping areas, and they are pretty disgusting, but definitely better than all those people pooping in the woods. The trail could definitely benefit from more attention and maybe a camp host. Finally, be prepared for the tour helicopters. This was probably the aspect of the hike for us that was the most disappointing and unexpected. They are buzzing by all day long and many fly inland so it is really noisy. Not what we expected from a wilderness area. I'm glad we did it, the views are absolutely astonishingly beautiful and the trail is cool and a great challenge. Everyone we met was very nice. Hanakoa Falls is incredible and the beach camping was cool. Probably wouldn't do it again, though. p.s. Permits are REQUIRED and are released 90 days out at 12am Hawaii time, they go in a few minutes.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 10, 2023
  • Cyndi L
    Bradenton, Florida199 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing Beauty
    This hike is Beautiful with quite a few scenic lookouts!! I love being able to look up the coast to NaPali, down the coast to Ke'e Beach, over the ledge and through the trees to the gorgeous turquoise water below. The trail takes some effort, but I would not call it difficult at all, and the beach and cave are rewarding! It does have some steep areas, both up and down. Just wear good hiking shoes/boots and be ready for some mud. Bring enough water for the weather and definitely bring a healthy snack. Be sure to secure your parking space or shuttle ride prior to coming here. We started hiking right around 7am and there were of course no crowds, but on the return hike, it was getting busy. We are 60ish and we each used a walking stick, which was helpful but not necessary. Crossing the stream was easy. I hope to come back and hike the entire 22 miles. We just couldn't make it happen this trip.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 19, 2023
  • Emma
    Christchurch, New Zealand89 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great walk even in the rain
    We had fun on this walk. It was raining on and off and toward the end it really set it but it was still warm and very enjoyable. Great views along the way and a really fun track. There had been big winter swells come through early (only mid October) so the beach at the end was pretty rough but still cool to get to and to see. Hard to believe that some days it can be flat! Some good hills and nice tropical landscape to walk through. A little frustrating though that when booking I couldn’t book a car park and had to book the shuttle but when we got there there were plenty of parks.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 29, 2023
  • shane z
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma30 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Incredible hike to the beach
    Make sure you make a reservation through the state park website. We rode the shuttle in and it was very easy. We took the first shuttle into the park at 620 am. We arrived at kee’kee beach around 7 and There was nobody on the beaches or trails. We took the trail to the beach only. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get there. It was relatively difficult and muddy in areas. My wife and I are in average shape. If you are not in shape or are not used to hiking this hike to the beach will be extremely difficult and probably not doable. We saw several people on our hike back that were Definately not going to make it to the beach. The good news is that the first 30 minutes are up the mountain and take you to very beautiful views of kee’kee beach and the Na Pali coast. If you are gassed at this point do not continue because the entire trail is about the same. The trail is beautiful and the beach is very isolated and has a loyal of 3 people on it when we got there. It was incredible and Definately worth the trip. It took us 3 hours to hike to the beach up and back (including the 15 minutes we spent at the beach enjoying the scenery). You can continue to a waterfall from the beach for another 2 miles.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 5, 2023
  • David_J_from_Chicago
    Chicago, Illinois67 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Challenging and Rewarding
    9 mile very challenging hike. Trail muddy with slippery rocks. Wet feet from crossings. Beautiful beach and waterfall, but not a lot of comfortable places to sit and relax. Views of the mountains were good, but although we had a mix of sun and clouds, the lighting wasn’t quite as dramatic as I’d hoped for.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 26, 2023
  • SDGirl
    Wildwood, Missouri95 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Tough but worth it!
    Read up on this hike before you go! You MUST have a reservation to get into the park OR a seat on the shuttle. The shuttle parking area is about a 5 mile drive to the park entrance, as the road is narrow and there is no parking along the road. The hike itself was challenging. If you plan on hiking to the beach, you will need plenty of water and be prepared to get muddy. The trail is just always that way, so it can be slippery at times as well. The trail is not flat ! You will climb up elevations, back down, up again and so on. The trail itself is dirt, mud, tree roots, and rocks. We had to cross a river to get to the beach (which is NOT a sand beach…it is a rocky beach but beautiful). The river was thigh-high due to the rain the week earlier. If you plan to go to the waterfalls, you will need adequate water and time! We hiked to the beach and about a mile past it and back out - and it was 4 hours. We did not make it to waterfall, but did enjoy trying! Trying to get to the waterfalls there were more river crossings and the path is not maintained, so harder to follow. Not recommended (in my opinion) for little ones and anyone with health / walking issues. We are experienced hikers and it was a challenge! BUT….so worth it and amazing! Around every corner is incredible beauty. Just be ready for a full day and tired feet!
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 14, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles1,733 reviews
Excellent
1,429
Very good
233
Average
41
Poor
16
Terrible
14

CMelam
Eugene, OR316 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
First of all, you have to have a permit to even access this hike. I believe you can go online 30 days before your visit and get your passes, but if you wait it's unlikely you'll get access. The limit is 900 visitors per day, and even at that it feels pretty busy on this trail. It had rained a lot the days leading up to our visit, so the trail was very muddy and slippery. This isn't a hike for everyone, but is steep and a somewhat dangerous in many places. We really enjoyed it, but were behind a woman who badly twisted her ankle at the bottom of the initial two miles hike and had to hike back out on the injured leg. The shortest four mile hike (2 in and 2 out) goes up about 800' and back down to a small river that you'll need to cross if you want to go further, or you turn around and go back how you came in. We chose to turn back here as most people were struggling to cross and our permit required we leave the parking area by noon. If you do want to hike further to the waterfall, that's another four miles and you'll need more than one permit to give you time. Go early to beat the crowds and bring a walking stick.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynne M
40 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
If you do any hiking at all, this is a fairly easy hike to the river, 2 miles in. If you don't do any hiking, you might find this quite strenuous. The trail is quite wide, easily marked but with rocks you need to step up and down from. There is some elevation gain/loss so again, if you do no hiking at all, you will find this tiring. Water is a necessity and you should bring snacks for energy. We were only doing a day hike but had obtained an overnight permit to hike beyond the river. We have hiked this trail numerous times and wanted to see what was beyond the river. The trail is infinately more difficult beyond the river. It is much narrower and you are hiking over smashed vegetation/mud instead of the rock trail prior to the river. The views are more obscured by vegetation here as well. We hiked 2 miles beyond the river till we came to a viewpoint with excellent views of the ocean and coastline before turning around. You need a permit to park your own vehicle at the beach/trailhead. Since we had a hiking permit, we were guaranteed a parking permit but they are $30. Otherwise you need to take the shuttle to the trailhead.
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SnowBeans
San Diego, CA108 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
Please ensure you do your research before heading to Kalalau Trail. In addition to permits required to go beyond the two-mile trailer marker, you must also reserve parking and/or get to the trailhead by way of a shuttle. Visit the Hawaii State Parks website for information.

If you are interested in viewing the breathtaking Nā Pali Coast and have hiked elevation before, this is the best way to see it. If you are interested in viewing the breathtaking Nā Pali Coast and believe you will be able to walk along the trail with ease, please ensure you are in good shape. It may not be the most challenging hike, but it is not for those who simply believe this is a two-mile walk. Be prepared with the appropriate footwear, clothes, water and snacks!

With all of that being said, this is THE BEST WAY to see the Nā Pali Coast. We hiked under the cover of clouds and with occasional light rain and I regret nothing. Stop to enjoy the view. Do not race to the finish.
Written March 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aj P
Midland, MI42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
My family just got back from Kauai. We stayed near the NaPali coast. We had anyone from age 29-64 with us. There is a new rule now where you MUST have a park pass weeks ahead of time before being able to hike the Kalalau trail. We made this mistake and got sent away the first time. If you can’t get a pass, the best way to get access to the park is via the shuttle. The shuttle pass comes with entry to the park which is nice. The shuttle system is actually pretty efficient too. We took our shuttle from Princeville. After arriving, you have a 0.5 mile easy hike to the trailhead. There are bathrooms and a beach with a lifeguard here. If you want to hike, the trail itself is well marked and reasonably safe for the first two miles. It is mainly rocks but is wide and easily hike-able for people of all ages. There are tiny streams that you may have to step over but nothing too crazy. At the end, you hike down to a river. We went during the winter and the river was too high and too fast to cross. I recommend bring water shoes in a backpack to cross the river so that your hiking shoes aren’t soaked. It was at least waist high when we went. There is a small beach that you can hike down to which is nice. Overall, this trail is beautiful. I’m bummed we couldn’t make it to the waterfall on the other side of the river but highly recommend this.
Written January 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dregehr
69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
A word of caution this is a hike not a walk so be prepared with plenty of water and food. My husband and I did the two mile each way hike to Hanakapiai Beach (although beach access was very limited due to waves). The trail is rugged, with paths that are very narrow with cliff drops, lots of mud / roots to watch for etc. the trail goes up to an elevation of 800+ feet with alot of stair. We stopped lots to let people going faster by & to enjoy the many beautiful views! It took us 4 hours in total, with lots of breaks. You need to purchase a park pass ahead of time online to bring your vehicle to the park.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mgiord
Ocean City, NJ42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
A must do if you are physically able!! This was our 3rd trip to Kauai but our first time on the trail. I promised myself that I would conquer this 4 mile (round trip) hike the next time we were on Kauai and we did!! First thing was to make sure we got our reservation to enter the park 30 days in advance at gohaena.com or you will not be able to go. We would have liked to hike the additional 2 miles to the waterfall but time did not allow us as we started off a little late AND we were pretty beat once we got to the unbelievable Kalalau Beach. This is a strenuous trail with breathtaking views and I highly recommend a walking stick. It helped tremendously. Here is my tip: If you are not a typical hiker, like me, it really helps prepare you for the hike to start doing squats and lunges a few weeks before you go. This tip was brought to you by a 59 year old slightly overweight woman. Lol! Have fun and don't miss it!
Written November 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

smit1691
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
We hiked the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai Beach early in the morning as soon as the Haena State Park opened and had reservations to park our car. We had completed this hike many years ago. Now, there are boardwalks around the taro fields at the beginning of this hike and they were so beautiful. At the first quarter mile point, we were treated to the most beautiful rainbow stretching from the Pacific Ocean on to the edge of the Na Pali coastline! It was so beautiful--brought tears to my eyes! Kauai rainbows are really more intense and dramatic. The hike is so beautiful with the lush green plants, flowers, the different shades of blue in the ocean! So beautiful when you get to the stream that flows onto the beach into the ocean! Had an awesome picnic on the rocks along the beach! There are no words that really explain just how special this hike really is and we definitely recommend this hike!
Written June 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alberto Aigner
New York City, NY10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
I really enjoyed this Trail, one of my favorites as you have diversity of sceneries, not an easy one to do but definitely worth hiking. Remember bring snacks and water because its hours of exploring an amazing path and take your time to contemplate every view. Don't forget your raincoat as its most likely to catch some friendly rain in the middle of your hike haha

Don't recommend doing it by yourself unless you see another group doing the hike as well, some parts when you're going to the waterfalls is dangerous and it's not signed a clear/safer pathway. Getting closer to the falls, some trees and flooding area signs have a pink ribbon that you can use as a guide that you're on a right path.

MOST IMPORTANT: if it looks too complicated to go through a path, it's probably the wrong one. So take your time to find the right one and enjoy the hike!
Written July 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Suze959
Rapid City, MI6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
The Kalalau Trail was absolutely stunning...one of the high points of this visit to Kauai. It’s sad that it took a natural disaster to get the tourist traffic under control (it was literally being loved to death) but the way it is now set up will keep the area preserved for decades to come. On past visits we never even attempted this hike because the area was a total cluster; no where to park, hundreds of people milling about, etc. Now you must make an advance reservation (they open 30 days out). If you are lucky to snag a parking permit good for you, there aren’t too many of them available. We opted for the shuttle from the Park and Ride just outside Hanale which includes your park entry. The hike is amazing but it isn’t easy. I consider myself in good shape, play tennis 3-4 times a week, and after a half mile uphill trek I was huffing and puffing! Many muddy and slippery rocks so the advice to carry a hiking stick and wear good shoes are good ones. The views that reward you are worth every step, and 3/4 of our hike we were by ourselves instead of being stuck in a giant pack of people. We only did the 2 miles in and out (4 total) and it took us 3 hours, which included a 20 minute rest at the beach before we headed back.
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Larissa75
los angeles102 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Family
We almost didn’t go on this hike because of all the reviews saying how dangerous it is and how you can’t take a baby carrier with you… and I am a so glad we decided to try it for ourselves. Traveling with a 5 month old has its challenges but with a little patience, common sense and time you can still make it an adventure. We did about 3 miles roundtrip and the only reason we turned around (so close to the beach) is becasue we had a late start, the baby carrier was not a very breathable one, and my body was emitting a lot of heat. Basically we didn’t want our baby to overheat. That being said had we had a better carrier and started earlier in the day we would have kept going. We met quite a few people on the trail with babies of various ages. There are definitely steep parts, slippery rocks, big inclines then declines but just make sure you have plenty of water, time and (what we did not have) a good set of hiking poles. Even though we didn’t reach the beach the views were magnificent and breathtaking.

You will need a permit to park at the bottom and if those are sold out you buy tickets for a shuttle that takes people between a parking lot further away and the trail head.

At the bottom where the trail starts is another pretty little beach.

Now would I do this hike in the pouring rain? No. With some rain? Yes.
Written December 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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