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Na Pali Coast State Park

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General Information

Description - Na Pali Coast State Park encompasses over 6,000 acres on the rugged northwestern coast of Kaua'i. The Kalalau Valley lies within the boundaries of the park. The park is accessible only by foot or by boat.

Attractions - The magnificently lush and rugged terrain is the biggest highlight of this park. The site includes tall sea cliffs, lush forested valleys and several waterfalls. Extensive stone walled terraces can still be found on the valley bottoms where Hawaiians once cultivated taro. The region is secluded wilderness with a few trails making it accessible to a select group of experienced hikers.

The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the coast. The trail begins in Ha'ena State Park, at the northwest end of Kuhio Highway (Route 56). The eleven-mile trail traverses five valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach in Na Pali State Park, where it is blocked by sheer, fluted Pali. The trail is almost never level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakapi'ai and Kalalau. For most backpackers in good condition, hiking the eleven miles will take a full day.

Permits required: Obtain all permits from the Kaua'i District State Parks office in Lihu'e. There are no fees for hiking permits. Day-use hiking permits for the Kalalau Trail are required when continuing beyond Hanakapi'ai Valley, even if overnight camping is not planned. Camping permits: A maximum stay of five nights is allowed in Na Pali State Park. Within the five-night maximum, no two consecutive nights are allowed at Hanakapi'ai or Hakakoa.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities within this park include hiking, backpacking, fishing, primitive camping and hunting. Permits for anything more than day hiking are necessary. Swimming and wading are not recommended as ocean currents can be very deceptive and dangerous. Boat outings and aerial views are provided by various concessionaires.

Climate - The terrain is extreme in this park and the weather can be too. Streams can be treacherous and flash flooding does occur. Be careful if rain is in the forecast.

Throughout the year, temperatures seldom drop below 60F degrees. Summer weather (May to October) brings steady tradewinds and occasional showers. Winter weather (October to May) is less predicatable. Tradewind showers are more frequent during the night and early morning.

Location - This secluded state park is located on the northwest coast of Kaua'i. It is accessible from the Kalalau Trail or by boat.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Barbara
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: in the spring of 2003 i hiked the short (2 mile...4 rt) stretch of the trail to the beach. it was goreous... stunning!...jaw dropping! i mean that literally. i was smiling and hiking very fast for most of the stretch. i carried a sandwich and 2 water bottles. on the way back it rained -- dumped buckets on me -- and i loved every minute! of course i knew dry clothes and a warm house were not far away. but many others i passed were grumbling and donning rain jackets and seemed unsure of the value of this hike. it goes to show it is personal. i met a couple hiking with a baby in a backpack who were not phased by the journey or the rain but did ask,"how much further?" another couple was hiking with packs, with intentions of doing the entire trail, but the woman was in sandals and i doubt they made it even to the beach. i was glad to have my hiking boots, although a few times i wished i could actually be barefoot! when i reached the first beach i saw a woman in white!!!! capri pants. i shook my head and told her that was the most amazing thing i'd seen all day. i don't know how she did it. the trail is very slippery in several spots! my legs were rubbery by the time i returned to the car. I was exhilerated but shakey, but it was my longest hike since knee surgery a few years ago. i was in fair but not great shape. still, i vowed i would return and do the entire 11 mile (22rt!) hike within the next year. i now have my permits in hand and am devouring every account of hiking this trail i can get my hands on.

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I hiked this trail to the Hanakapiai Falls and Beach on August 9th 2003. First, I work out on a regular basis and I am a experienced backpacker in the High Sierra. I wore Tevas for the 8 mile round trip for a total of 3.5 hours hiking time. The views are exceptional but the trail can be very muddy, rocky, and slipperly in many places. 2 litres of water is recommanded, sunscreen, repellant (although I did not need any), and extra food, etc. Clif bars, trail mix, etc. I would recommend this hike for anyone in good shape! Otherwise, it can be demanding. The cliff drop off on the trail actually was not that traumatic. However, I believe the trail gets narrower as one hikes further out. Getting apermit has been difficult, otherwise I would have hike the full length of the trail. I am a solitary hiker.

Filed By: N.R.
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The reason this trail is tough is because you have to be careful of slippery rocks. We talked with a couple of people who slipped and hurt themselves. But it is lush and beautiful with great views. This was heavily trafficked though; I enjoyed hiking the Kokee trail into Waimea - that went deep into the Valley and we only encountered 3 small groups/couples along the way. But I will be heading to Kauai again and will go further in this time; I only went in the 2 miles to the beach. And instead of wearing running shoes, I will bring my hiking boots.

Filed By: Tracey
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: You should be very fit to complete this trip, yes the beach at the end is amazing but the locals that live out there in those caves will try and take you for everything. I hurt my leg and had to be rescued by a passing fishing boat by swimming out through the killer surf. My friend had to walk out and collapsed half way being rescued by passing trampers. Not for the faint hearted, my worst nightmare come true! I was also bitten by a spider and ended up with a tennis ball sized welt under my arm which was soooo painfull. Take plenty of water as the streams contain Leptosporosis which is deadly. Dont eat anything off the track except the giant guava like fruit and be prepared for some scary stuff if its windy while you are out on the crumbling clay cliffs with sheer drops either side of you. Hanalei is one of the nicer places in Kauai, i would recommend it highly.

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: We only did the hike to the first beach. Many people rave about how great this trail is. Although there are many breathtaking views along this trail, I believe one could appreciate the beautiful views from many other places on Kaua'i. If you have children, do not go on this trail. It is a difficult hike (especially given the periodic showers typical of Kaua'ian weather). Much of the trail is a shear drop on one side and is steep. One of our fellow hikers nearly fell to her death. When we reached the first beach, it was crowded and the water is very rough, making it extremely dangerous to swim in. This is not a trail for the average, tourist hiker. I strongly advise anyone thinking of doing this hike to reconsider. There are many other, more pleasant, activities on Kaua'i.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The Kalalau Trail on the top half of the Ma Pali coast is an absolutley incredible backpacking experience. A tough trail, 11 miles each way, leads through numerous lush, hanging valleys to spectacular Kalalau Valley and Beach, a secluded Eden-esque tropical paradise. The trip is not for those with vertigo or acrophobia as the trail hugs the sometimes precipitous slopes of the lava cliffs; at times, only a few inches of loose, crumbly red dirt is all that separates you from a fall hundreds of feet into the incredibly clear blue sea below. No special gear is required, but you must be in good shape, and experience is probably a good idea. Despite the difficulty getting there, Kalalau Valley is definitely worth the trip. I will fly to Kauai from Boston just to hike this trail. Do NOT pass up the opportunity if it ever presents itself!!!

More Information

Contact Information:
Kauai District, Hawai'i State Parks, 3060 Elwa Street #306 , Lihue, HI, 96766-1875, Phone: 808-274-3444

Additional Information:
Hawaii Beaches -
Hawaii State Parks - Hawai'i's State Park System is comprised of 52 state parks encompassing nearly 25,000 acres on the 5 major islands.
Kaua'i - Kauai is the oldest and northernmost of the major islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is composed of a central volcanic peak, Mt. Waialeale, which has been documented as the wettest place on Earth.
Kaua'i State Parks - Kaua'i's nine state parks encompass sites of natural and cultural significance. From the rugged Na Pali coast to a Russian-engineered fort, these parks protect diverse resources.


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