Hiking to Hanakapiai Beach and/or Falls: Na Pali Coast Day Hike

The most popular hike on Na Pali is 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. A reservation is required to access Ha'ena State Park. The beach in Hanakapi`ai is only there during summer months – use extreme caution as ocean conditions can be dangerous and there are no lifeguards. Crossing the Hanakapi`ai river can also be potentially hazardous, particularly in rainy weather when flash flooding and strong currents occur.

Difficulty: Very Difficult. Large elevation changes. Bring lots of water!

Distance: 4 to 8 miles roundtrip depending on itinerary.


Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the Na Pali Coast as you embark on a remarkable journey to Hanakapiai. Nestled along the rugged shores of Kauai, this captivating hike serves as a gateway to the untamed wonders that lie beyond. Lace up your boots, prepare your spirit for adventure, and let the magic of Hanakapiai unveil itself before your eyes.

The hike to Hanakapiai is an exhilarating 4-mile (round trip) trek that takes you deep into the heart of Na Pali's majestic landscape. As you set foot on the trail, be prepared for a diverse and ever-changing terrain that will challenge your endurance and ignite your sense of adventure. The path weaves through dense tropical forests, crosses streams, and ascends to elevated viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the coastline.

Hanakapiai Beach

One of the highlights of the hike is reaching Hanakapiai Beach, a secluded oasis that greets weary hikers with its pristine sands and crystal-clear waters (swimming is ocean conditions permitting, please check with a Life Guard at Ke'e becach before entering the water). Take a moment to bask in the tranquility and serenity of this hidden gem. Dip your toes into the refreshing ocean or simply sit back and soak in the mesmerizing surroundings. Hanakapiai Beach provides the perfect opportunity to rest and recharge before continuing your journey.

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.

Hanakapiai Falls

For the more adventurous souls, a side trip to Hanakapiai Falls awaits those who dare to explore further. An additional 2-mile trek will lead you to this breathtaking waterfall, where cascading waters plunge into a tranquil pool below. The sight and sound of the falls create a captivating ambiance, drawing you closer to the raw power of nature.

While the hike to Hanakapiai is awe-inspiring, it's essential to approach it with caution and preparedness. The trail can be demanding, with steep sections, rocky terrain, and potentially hazardous conditions. Ensure you have sturdy hiking boots, carry ample water, and protect yourself from the elements with sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Check the weather forecast before setting out, as conditions can change rapidly along the coast.

It's also important to respect the delicate ecosystem of Na Pali Coast. Leave no trace behind and avoid disturbing the natural environment. The trail is a reminder of the timeless beauty that has captivated visitors for centuries, and by preserving it, we can ensure future generations can experience its wonder.

Whether you're an experienced hiker or a passionate nature enthusiast, the hike to Hanakapiai is an unforgettable adventure that showcases the pristine beauty of Na Pali Coast. From lush forests to breathtaking vistas and hidden beaches, every step reveals a new layer of magic and serenity. Allow yourself to be captivated by the sights and sounds, and let the spirit of Hanakapiai guide you deeper into the enchantment of Na Pali Coast.

Na Pali Coast Guide