Kalalau Trail

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

The Kalalau Trail is a hiking 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, petty criminals and hippies live here sometimes but they do no harm and just want to have their peace.

You can walk to the first beach "for free" - Hanakapiai Beach. A day trip that many tourists undertake during their vacation. Experienced hikers with appropriate equipment as well as food and water, which is tapped in rivers and waterfalls, can walk the entire trail - 22 miles in total - but they must plan 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 here. The food 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. There is no cell phone reception there, so missing hikers can be tracked down if necessary. The 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 scare anyone off. If you start early enough, you can escape these crowds. After long and heavy rains, the trail is not recommended and it is 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 rainfalls provide refreshment), the tour is no problem. However, if it rains for a longer period, so-called "flush floods" can occur. Small streams turn into raging rivers within minutes, which result in a long break or even a return.

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

What we say

I walked the Kalalau Trail 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 wouldn't recommend doing this tour alone, which covers more than 36 km and more than 1000 meters of altitude. A fit team, ideally consisting of good friends, is certainly a good basic requirement. Especially when it comes to unforeseen problems, such as "flush floods" due to heavy rain showers, exhaustion or tricky spots on the trail. Good preparation is the other requirement. You 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 a night in Hanakoa Valley. This way, the daily distance is halved to about 10 km.
Our checklist & tips:
  • You will need a permit for the hike & must register beforehand. See the link below.
  • Professional hiking equipment is necessary: Good shoes, a light tent & sleeping bag, a gas stove, a flashlight and a pocket knife.
  • Toilet paper (there are only 2 toilets along the way)
  • Light bagged food ("army food") & granola bars, nuts or other "energy food".
  • Sterilizing tablets and if necessary effervescent powder for better taste (sterilized water tastes a little 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 7 am sharp the next morning.
  • You should start at 7:00 a.m. at the latest if you want to go the whole way there in one day so that you can still reach Kalalau Beach in daylight to set up the tent.
  • The beaches along the way are turquoise and full of currents. Bathing is therefore recommended only during 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 welcomed change for hot days and too high waves
  • The time given above is only one way! For the whole tour including an 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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