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Explore Na Pali Coast, Kauai
Accessing Na Pali
Much of Na Pali is inaccessible due to its characteristic sheer cliffs that drop straight down, thousands of feet into the ocean. This, and its remote location, allow Na Pali to remain one of the most beautiful and pristine coastlines in the world.
Na Pali Coast is accessible via a strenuous foot trail that traverses 11 rugged miles from Ke`e Beach to Kalalau Valley. The only other way to access this hidden coastline is by boat.
Hawaiians relied on canoes to access Na Pali's numerous valleys, nearby Ni`ihau and outlying islands. Today, Na Pali boat tours still offer the easiest way to explore this amazing coast. The calm surf of the summer months allows for kayaking, while year-round trips are available on sailing catamarans and rigid hull rafts.
Na Pali Coast Guide
Hiking Na Pali
For the adventurous hiker, the strenuous eleven-mile "Kalalau Trail" is another incredible way to experience Na Pali. Beginning at Ke`e Beach and ending at Kalalau Valley, this challenging but rewarding hike, earned the Sierra Club's rating of "9" out of "10" in degree of difficulty. The trail can be experienced in pieces and the most popular section of this trail is from Ke`e to Hanakapi`ai, where you will find a lush river valley. You can hike 8 miles (roundtrip) to a waterfall or 4 miles (roundtrip) to Hanakapi`ai Beach (the beach is only there during summer months – be careful as ocean conditions can be dangerous and there are no lifeguards). Hiking beyond Hanakapi`ai Valley requires a state permit, where the trail continues on to Hanakoa Valley, eventually ending at magnificent Kalalau Valley.
The Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, including Kalalau Trail, is run by the DLNR. Anyone going farther than Hanakapi`ai will need a permit.
Message from the DLNR, "PLEASE NOTE: Camping permits for Nāpali coast are extremely popular, and often sell out well in advance, particularly during the summer. Please plan accordingly."
Buy permit online (click the "Reservations Tab" and create an account).
Camping: (808) 587-0300
Hiking: (808) 587-0166
Na Pali Hiking Tips
Na Pali's remote location makes help and rescue challenging. In this environment, safety is critical. Following some key tips can help make your experience on this coastline safe and fun.
Water Safety Tips
- Hanakapi`ai Beach has hazardous ocean conditions and no lifeguard on duty.
- Due to its remote location, it is not advisable to swim here anytime of year.
- All rivers, including Hanakapi`ai River can be dangerous, particularly during and after heavy rains, where strong currents and flash flooding can occur. Do NOT attempt to cross the river when it's high.
- Sometimes the Hanakapi`ai River can be impassable and it has been known to strand people on the western side.
- There is no potable water available on the Kalalau Trail, and all river water should be filtered.
Trail Safety tips
- The stretch from Ke`e to Hanakapi`ai is particularly muddy;
- On the trail, proper footwear is crucial;
- Shoes that grip and fit well are key;
- Prepare to get dirty - anything white, will most likely be stained Kaua`i dirt red by the end of your adventure;
- Sun protection is a necessity under Hawaii's strong rays;
- Hydration is critical due to the strenuous trail and humidity – make sure to begin drinking a lot of water at least 2 days ahead of time and bring plenty of water with you.
- Stay aware of falling rocks from overhead, Na Pali's coastline is crumbling and fragile;
- Pack your trash and protect the environment;
- You'll be hiking along a cliff, don\t use your phone or camera while walking.