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Kalalau Valley

Suitable for:
Everyone, nature enthusiasts
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Known and much going on
TouriSpot
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
8 hours
Optimal arrival time:
09:00 o' clock
Cost:
Free
Suitable for:
Everyone, nature enthusiasts
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Known and much going on
TouriSpot
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
8 hours
Optimal arrival time:
09:00 o' clock
Cost:
Free

Kalalau Valley - Description

Kalalau Valley is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Hawaiian Islands. There are several ways to visit or even explore this valley and its cliffs (na pali in Hawaiian). Most tourists (because they often spend only a few days on Kauai) choose the easiest option: they drive for a day trip by car to Waimea Canyon, further through Kokee State Park, up to the Kalalau Valley Lookout. From there you have the postcard view of the crest of the 1000 meter deep Kalalau Valley and the deep blue ocean. Although Waimea Canyon, over 20 kilometers long, takes up most of the trail, Kalalau is the highlight at the end with its own flora and fauna. Photographers will get their money's worth here, but should bring enough time because of the fickle weather. The best results are achieved in the evening at sunset. Then the cliffs shine in their most beautiful colors and the shadows of the cliff provide breathtaking drama. During the day the sun is very high and the cliffs are then a bit "boring". If you drive the road a bit further, you will reach Puu O Kila Lookout (from where the Alakai Swamp Trail also starts). Here the road ends. The lookout offers a view over Kalalau from even higher up. However, this lookout is also closer to the "wettest spot on earth" and the chances are less to see the whole valley and the cliffs in clear weather.

On the way to the lookout you pass Waimea Canyon with its numerous and unique lookouts and can see the entire color palette of the canyon. For the day trip (drive from Waimea into the canyon up to Kalalau Lookout and back) you should plan a whole day. Hiking enthusiasts should rent a cabin at Kokee Lodge and spend 2 or 3 nights up in Kokee State Park. This allows enough time to hike unique trails such as the Alakai Swamp Trail, the Nualolo Trail, or the Waimea Canyon Trail. After the hikes, you can head to Kalalau Lookout (about 10 min from Kokee Lodge) for a picnic each evening to enjoy the sunset. Many vacationers are disappointed when they see nothing but fog there. So maybe you will have more luck the next evening.

Another way to see the valley is from the air. For this purpose, various helicopter providers offer sightseeing flights over the island from Lihue. For photographers, an "off door" flight with "Jack Harter" is recommended, which is a bit more expensive than "Sunshine" or "Paradiese Helicopter", but the differences are worth it!

Or you can decide for a Zodiac tour to see the Na Pali Coast from the sea. You can book a tour with the "Na Pali Riders", who sail around the entire coast, including swimming with dolphins. They also take you to the water cave "Open Ceiling Cave" not far from Kalalau Valley, which can only be reached by boat. You can also rent a kayak on your own and explore the coast on your own without stress. However, then you have about 20 km on the water in front of you for the way there and back. In the winter months certainly no fun and even very dangerous, in quiet summer months for fit adventurers but certainly doable.

To get to the valley on foot, the only option is the strenuous but unique Kalalau Trail. However, the 18-kilometer trail is only suitable for people who are physically fit and can take on a long and sometimes difficult or steep route. Prerequisite is a good physical and mental preparation and a permit to run the trail. For this you can then camp in complete isolation for 1 or 2 nights on Kalalau Beach and share the paradise for some time with very few others.  

What we say

Florian
Kalalau Lookout, as well as the entire area of Kokee State Park and Waimea Canyon, are among my absolute favorite regions on all of the Hawaiian Islands. Although I've seen this lookout countless times, I go up there again every time. The quietness at the lookout is almost a bit eerie, so indescribably beautiful is the view into the valley. Visitors even whisper here as if they were disturbing someone, so unique is the atmosphere up here. For photographers this is a special location, because the weather (fog, clouds, sunsets) constantly changes the mood and offers fabulous and unique postcard motifs. I also explored the valley by Zodiac and on foot on the Kalalau Trail. For me, still one of the most beautiful areas on all the islands.
Our checklist & tips:
  • Allow enough time (8 hours)
  • Hiking enthusiasts should stay 2 or 3 nights at Kokee Lodge to avoid longer travel times
  • Patience at the Lookout, if you can't see anything, you have to wait. The next clear view will come soon.
  • Hiking equipment (rain jacket, sweater, hiking poles)
  • The upper lookout (Puu O Kila Lookout) is closer to the "wettest spot" and therefore not as nice.

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Map and contact data

End of "Kokee Road Hawaii 96746
Longitude: -159.64597266954974
Latitude: 22.150936714536208

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