Who’s ready to walk the Kalalau Trail along the spectacular NaPali Coast? This trail hugs the northwest coast of Kauai for 11 miles ending at the idyllic Kalalau Valley. With pointed pali (mountains) cascading down to the ocean, it is some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The only way to see it is by boat, air, or foot. Once at the valley, camping is a must. No roads here. Take a look…..
So, you aren’t up for this 11 mile hike? Well, along the way, two miles in, is Hanakapi’ai Beach, Hanakapi’ai Stream, and further inland, Hanakapi’ai Falls. Round trip to the falls is 8 miles and with heavy rain the stream can turn into a rushing river making it impossible to cross. In winter the currents at the beach make it unsafe for swimming. But, in nice weather it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Not so sure you’re up for anything more than a casual walk? Good news! You may start the Kalalau Trail at Ke’e Beach and walk about 1/2 mile to a protruding knoll which allows you a glimpse down the coast. This gives you the right to say you’ve been on the Kalalau Trail 🙂 Then spend the rest of your day snorkling. Ke’e Beach is about 20 minutes from Honu Point Vacation Rental, and the drive is the most breathtaking on the island.
Before you make your decision, however, there are some things you need to know. There is now a reservation system for Haena State Park which includes Ke’e Beach and the Kalalau Trail. No one will be admitted without an Entry Pass. There are three kinds of passes. You may find all of the pertinent information, and purchase your passes at https://gohaena.com/info-faqs/.
The Shuttle & Entry Pass allows you to park in Waipa (just past Hanalei town) and ride the shuttle to both Haena Beach Park (Tunnels) and Haena State Park. It runs every 30 minutes from 6:30 am to 5:40 pm. The cost is $35 for guests ages 15 and older; $25 for ages 4 to 15; and children 0 to 3 are free.
The Parking & Entry Pass allows you to park your own car at Haena State Park. These passes are VERY hard to get. The reservation system opens up the tickets at midnight thirty days in advance and they often sell out within a minute. The cost is $10/car plus $5 per person. All passengers must be listed and paid for in advance. There are three time slots: 6:30 – 12:30, 12:30 – 5:30, and 4:30 to sunset.
The last form of Entry Pass is Entry Only. This is for those that are going to be dropped off at the park and don’t need a parking space. It cost $5 per person.
Anyone proceeding past Hanakāpīʻai Valley (2 miles in) must also possess a valid camping permit whether or not you plan to camp. Permits are required to camp at Hanakoa or Kalalau (Same permit). Permits are $35 per person per day. The amount of people allowed on the trail at any one time is limited to a small number. Permits often sell out and during busy times of the year can sell out up to a year in advance. Get your permits early to ensure you will be able to visit Kalalau. Go to https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/welcome.html for more information.
Whether you decide to hike 22 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles, or just enough to see a glimpse, a trip to Kauai is not complete until you’ve seen some aspect of the NaPali Coast. Enjoy!
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