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“An experience like no other!”
Review of Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail
Ranked #5 of 284 things to do in Kauai
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Kauai's hiking trail along the Na Pali coast.
Reviewed August 5, 2014

Rated as one of the the top hikes in the world, the Kalalau Trail did not disappoint. In fact, we found it truly inspirational. My wife Pam and I, ages 56 and 61 respectively, hiked the 11.2 miles one-way distance, with more than 2800 feet of elevation gain while carrying our share of the gear, all in one day with the assistance of our amazing guide Andrew McInerney of AHA KAUAI. It was our first time back packing and the trail alone was challenging enough without the additional weight of our packs. At the same time, we found the trek to be both exhausting and exhilarating. The views in a word were spectacular. Imagine hiking a red dirt trail, framed by yucca type trees, the beautiful blue ocean and pounding white surf, accompanied by breaching humpback whales. Incredible!
To reach the final destination-Kalalau Beach where a campground and a waterfall shower await -no plumbing here - you'll have to ford a couple of streams/rivers depending on conditions, brave Creepers Ledge and ascend the infamous Red Hill. If you are up to the challenge this part of the Napali Coast is the most spectacular. It is the final destination of the popular catamaran tours- my second favourite way to view the coast, hiking being my first.
Kalalau Beach is wide, sandy and long. The beautiful white rollers break a good distance off shore except at the beach's end where the thunderous waves crash against the near vertical cliffs.
Standing on the beach and looking inland one views the incredible fluted coastline covered in lush jungle, with ridges and spires of land reaching skyward, their peaks often shrouded by cloud. This is one of the most beautiful and unusual coastlines on earth.
If hiking the entire trail sounds too taxing, hike the first two miles into the first river and beach, but go early if you want to avoid the crowds as this is the turn around point for most.

2  Thank JGo52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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845 - 849 of 1,459 reviews

Reviewed August 4, 2014

Could talk about it all day, but most has been said. Tough Inclines, vertigo inducing drop offs, slick rocks, and the most beautiful experience of my life. I went all the way in and all the way out over two days with one other person. I had permits but hadn't got the chance to print them. We took a screenshot of the confirmation email to cover ourselves but it turned out to not be a problem at all.(no one was checking, and I later found they rarely do) In the summertime it's quite a bit drier, but not guaranteed dry. Many more people on the Hanakapai section.(btw we hiked to that breathtaking falls a few days before) After that we saw another 6 or 7 people all day. Every turn brought new challenges and awe-inspiring views. The "dangerous" mile 7 is not bad if you can get over the heights and just follow the path. A few places with loose gravel on a sloped trail over a 300 foot cliff caught my attention. It was worse with the slick tennis shoes and the heavy 35 pound pack I was wearing. So long as you've got good shoes, a light pack(listen to this! I wish I had), poles(which I also wish I brought), and a careful attention you will be perfectly safe sans flash floods crossing the streams. The people living in the valley were extremely friendly if you showed respect. Also naked fyi. They generously cooked us gourmet burritos(seriously-like a dozen organic veggies, delicious pork, cooked tortillas.) If I were to do it again(I will in the near future) I would spend 5 or 6 days there so I could fully explore. You can bring trade items like coffee, tobacco(recommend american spirits), honey, and coconut oil to bargain for home-cooked food and other natural spices. Cash also works-the hippies aren't that cut off from society. If you're on Kauai, have 2 days minimum, and in good shape, it's my number 1 recommendation to hike Kalalau. Just kidding. The place is deathly dangerous, full of criminals, and not to be visited. STAY OUT OF KALALAU

5  Thank Joe K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2014

Did the 2 mile hike to the beach 5 days ago & got there at 8 am on a Monday. There were about 5 parking spots left at the trailhead (~20 parking spots total, there's an overflow dirt lot about 1/4 mile down the road which holds maybe another 25 cars. If u don't park in either of these lots then it's just roadside parking & quite an additional walk to the trailhead). Hiking shoes are a must (or at least sneakers) since it's pretty rocky in some spots & some areas were a bit slick but overall wasn't too muddy. I'd rate it a moderately-strenuous hike if you're in decent shape. Restrooms available at trailhead & at the beach. Stream crossing to get to the beach is maybe 12 feet wide & water level is about calf to knee high. I was able to make it across dry by stepping on rocks but some folks fell in trying to do the same. Just take your shoes off & wade across if u want to keep your shoes dry. I'd say give yourself 5 hours for roundtrip hiking, pictures, & exploring the beach area. Enjoy!

4  Thank Vacaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2014

Gorgeous the whole way. Very long if you go the whole way in one day. Not for the inexperienced. Lots of up and down with switchbacks. Not much of a "trail" after the first 2 miles. Uneven terrain and rock jumping to cross over water unless u want to get wet. I had no idea what I was getting into. I couldn't walk for 2 days after I finished. But I did it! And I will do it again. Bring lots of water!

2  Thank NataNice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2014

I've now traveled to Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai and can honestly say this is one of the greatest things I've done. The drive along Highway 56 is breath-taking and the caves/Ke'e Beach at the entrance to the trail are gorgeous! Definitely wear sneakers or hiking shoes and pack plenty of water. I definitely recommend arriving no later than 7:30 am as the parking lots fill up very quickly. My fiancé and I are 30, exercise daily, and are in good shape...we completed the 4 mile roundtrip hike and it was a tremendous workout! This is definitely not for anyone out of shape or unfamiliar with outdoor exercise. The reward at the end of the 2 mile hike in is nothing short of amazing...a small river crossing following by a "secret" beach (perhaps the most picturesque, beautiful beach I've EVER seen!) which juts up against a giant cliff face with sea caves. Do not turn back on this trail until you reach this beach as it was spectacular! Once you return, be sure to pack a change of dry clothes and a towel so that you can take a dip in in the reef along Ke'e Beach. There is a bathroom at the entrance to the trail at the beach with water fountains and a rinsing shower. As a side note, we had beautiful, sunny weather but I would imagine rain would make this a pretty treacherous climb.

3  Thank daveykeips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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