The Kalalau Trail is a trail along Nā Pali Coast of the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii. The trail runs approximately 11 miles (18 km) along the island’s north. The last time I hiked the Kalalau Trail, I took my GPS to record the trail and make a map of it. If you have Google Earth installed, click this link to. One of the best hikes on Kauai, the Kalalau Trail is an mile trek located on the famous NaPali Coast on the Kalalau Trail Elevation Map.
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Known for its beauty and danger, the Kalalau Trail follows the rugged coastline on the north-west shore of the garden island of Hawaii, and eventually ends at the secluded Kalalau Beach.
Hiking the Kalalau Trail is recommended for advanced hikers and after the first couple miles you will understand why. It leads through varying terrain with steep rock outcroppings, stream crossings that can swell unexpectedly, and traverses along crumbling cliff sides with falling rock hazards.
Kauai Hiking Maps
Hiking the Kallalau Trail took us about nine hours to hike straight to Kalalau Beach and about ten hours to hike back, with a detour to the Hanakoa Waterfall.
Some people prefer to break up the hike into two days and camp at Hanakoa, which is the half-way point along the trail. If you start early in the morning like we did, and have experience hiking technical terrain, you can certainly make the entire hike in one day. But remember, hiking the Kalalau is no walk in the park; as conditioned hikers, we mapp found sections of the trail to be grueling, testing our stamina. The last mile on our way out, was the most difficult section for the both of us.
There are ten mile-markers along the trail, but some can be difficult to locate. This is where one of the three larger stream crossings is located and depending on traail, can be tricky. We packed water shoes just for the stream crossings but noticed most hikers kalalwu hopped around on the rocks using hiking poles and eventually made it across dry.
The trail splits here with good, obvious signage. Permits are required to continue past this point of the Kalalau Trail and it also starts to becomes more overgrown and less maintained from here. Be prepared to walk through brush, as the trail can get as narrow as a single track. At mile 2, the trail leaves the beach and heads up a strenuous climb for about the next mile.
Trail Information – Kalalau Trail
Immediately after the gate there is a rock out cropping with amazing views of the coast. This is a great area to take a break and enjoy the view, especially after the last climb.
Miles 3 and 4 ascend into a couple smaller valleys and eventually hike to the Hanakoa camp. This is the half-way spot available for hikers with composting toilets and several covered camping spots.
Kalalau Trail Map – specifically Hanakapi’ai Valley – Picture of Kalalau Trail, Kauai
This is also where the second larger stream crossing is located. The trail also splits here with the trail head to Hanakoa Falls.
This waterfall is about a half-mile hike up the valley on a very overgrown difficult trail. The hike is slow moving but well worth the detour. The Hanakoa Falls is a gigantic waterfall that crashes into a large secluded fresh water pond.
Na Pali Coast (Kalalau) Trail [CLOSED]
We also spotted a few camp sites along this trail, closer to the main Kalalau trail. To continue along the Kalalau trail from Hanakoa camp, follow the signage towards Kalalau beach.
This is the most noted and feared section of the trail. It spans about 1 mile with a small, shallow, single kallalau path, carved into the steep cliffside about feet above the ocean pounding below. At the most narrow section, only one person can pass at a kalaalu. The path can also become loose and crumbly. Use extreme caution when hiking this section of the trail.
Go slow, keep your balance, and watch your footing. You climb up the steep hillside for about a mile and then around mile 9 you hike down an even steeper section to the coast. You also cross the last of the larger stream crossings, here. This is a great place to fill-up on water, as it is the closest stream to the camp area but still a half mile away.
Permits kalapau get reserved quickly but we only requested ours about 6 months before.
We were able traol get our permits with no problems and had them emailed with confirmation a couple days later. You must stay hydrated, especially when hiking a strenuous trail like this with warm temperatures, exposed sections with intense sun, and humidity.
On our mmap, there were around 8 different locations along the trail, including 3 larger stream crossings to get water.
At the most, we hiked two kallau between water sources. We packed a 64 oz and a 40 oz canteen during our hike and stopped to refill a couple times along the trail. The cool thing about this trial is that it never stays the same. We had some rain fall the night before we hiked out, and found that the small, trickling streams two days before, had turned into small gushing waterfalls. Just a friendly reminder that the island is a living organism in itself.
There are two designated camping areas along the Kalalau Trail. Camping along the Kalalau Beach was amazing but camping at Hanakoa would also be very exciting, with the Hanakoa waterfalll so close.
Follow the link to read more about Camping on Kalalau Beach. Heavy rains can even close the trail from time-to-time for a couple hours or even a couple days. You should always have a good idea about the weather forecast even if it does change by the minute in Kauai before hiking the trail and plan ahead. During rainy conditions you should be aware of the following hazards:.
This can make the water levels rise very quickly and can have much stronger currents. Slippery exposed rocksincluding crawlers ledge, can become slick and un-passable. We did get a storm the night before we left that brought rain all night.
maap The most difficult challenges this brought to the trail for us was the hike back up Red Hill between miles 9 — The red clay dirt became so heavy and slippery, and it stuck light cement to your shoes.
Hiking poles were a life saver for these conditions. Crawlers ledge was also a little wet and slick when we hiked that section but we pounded the mud off our shoes mp used caution and we made the crossing. These came especially handy during big rock kalakau, steep hill traverses, muddy and slippery sections of trail, and provided extra balance when scaling the rock ledge.
We split a pair, hiking with one pole each. Your email address will not be published. Leave Comments Below Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.