Kalalau Trail

Suitable for:
Active traveller, nature lover
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Rather unknown and little going on
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
12 hours
Optimal arrival time:
07:00 o' clock
Suitable for:
Active traveller, nature lover
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Rather unknown and little going on
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
12 hours
Optimal arrival time:
07:00 o' clock

Profile of the hike

Distance total
31,73 Kilometer
Distance uphill
14,61 Kilometer
Distance downhill
14,62 Kilometer
Altitude meters uphill
2437 Meter
Altitude meters downhill
- 2438 Meter

Kalalau Trail - Description

The Kalalau Trail is a trail along the Na Pali Coast of the island of Kauai.

The trail runs approximately 18 km along the north coast of the island from Keʻe Beach to Kalalau Valley. The trail has been called one of the most beautiful and dangerous hikes in the United States. In the fabulous and completely remote Kalalau Valley from time to time live petty criminals and hippies, but they do not hurt anyone and just want to have their peace.

You can walk "for free" to the first beach, Hanakapiai Beach. A day trip that many Hawaii tourists integrate into their vacation. Experienced hikers with appropriate equipment as well as provisions and water, which is tapped in the rivers and waterfalls, can walk the entire trail - out/back of 22 miles - but must plan for one to three overnight stays. There is also the option of spending the night in Hanakoa Valley halfway through the trail. From time to time there are wild boars there. Provisions should therefore be stowed in the trees.

A permit is required for the entire Kalalau Trail because the government wants to know how many hikers are on the trail. Also, there is no cell phone reception there, so missing hikers can be tracked down if necessary. The necessary permit from Hanakapiai Beach can be obtained at the Division of State Parks, 3060 Eiwa Street, Suite306, Lihu'e. Phone 808 274-3444. However, it is easier to get the permit online at

The first 2 miles are almost always crowded, a disadvantage that should not deter anyone. If you start early enough, you escape these crowds. After long and heavy rains, the trail is not recommended and also often closed. It should be noted that there are several creek crossings after the first two miles. There are always heavy rains on Kauai's North Shore. If they last only a short time (usually 5-minute showers provide refreshment), the tour is no problem. However, if it rains for a longer period of time, so-called "flush floods" can occur. Small streams then swell within minutes to raging rivers, which make either a long break or even a turn back necessary.

Scenically, the Kalalau Trail passes through an area where a wide variety of Hawaiian plants grow, including a wide variety of palm trees. A treat for any nature lover. The hardships are rewarded with a secluded beach, waterfalls and the sharp-edged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, majestically perched above the white sand beach.

What we say

I walked the Kalalau Trail myself in 2009. It is certainly the most exciting and beautiful trail on the Hawaiian Islands. However, it is also one of the most strenuous and dangerous hikes. Therefore, I recommend not to do this tour alone, which covers more than 36 km and more than 1000 meters of altitude (easy). A fit team, ideally consisting of good friends, is certainly a good basic requirement. Especially when it comes to unforeseen problems, such as "flush flood" due to heavy rain showers, exhaustion or tricky spots on the trail. Good preparation is the other requirement. One should calculate at least 2 days for the tour, plus at least one night at Kalalau Beach. Optimally, it is better to calculate with a total of 4-5 days and spend the night in Hanakoa Valley. Thus, the daily stage is halved to about 10 km.
Our checklist & tips:
  • Ihr braucht eine Erlaubnis für die Wanderung & müsst diese anmelden. Link siehe unten.
  • Unbedingt professionelle Wanderausrüstung notwendig: Gutes Schuhwerk, Leichtes Zelt & Schlafsack, Gaskocher, Taschenlampe, Taschenmesser
  • toilet paper (there are only 2 toilets on the whole way)
  • Leichtes Tütenfutter („Armee-Futter“) & Müsliriegel, Nüsse oder sonstiges „Energiefutter“
  • Sterilizing tablets and if necessary effervescent powder for better taste (sterilized water tastes quite chemical)
  • Anti-inflammatory plants like aloe vera (against sunburn) grow at Kalalau Beach
  • Spend the night before the hike at Haena Beach campground to be ready to start at 7am sharp the next morning.
  • You should start at 7:00 a.m. at the latest if you want to go the way there in one day, so that you can still reach Kalalau Beach in brightness to set up the tent.
  • The beaches along the way are turquoise and full of currents. Bathing is therefore recommended at most in calm summer months.
  • Start at Kee Beach, end of Kuhio Highway, North Shore Kauai
  • At Kalalau Beach there is a waterfall that provides refreshment
  • At the end of Kalalau Beach is a cave filled with water. A welcome change for hot days and when the waves are too high.
  • The time given above is only for one way! For the whole tour including overnight stay(s) at Kalalau Beach you should calculate 3-5 days.

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Map and contact data

Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714
Longitude: -159.5825880552717
Latitude: 22.22038513528418

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