The Kalalau Trail Hike in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.
As the sign at the trailhead shows, the beach is two miles in and is between 1-2 hours. Assume in and out from the beach will take four hours. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and count on them remaining tinged with orange-red mud after this hike. Take lots of water, don a hat and don’t forget to pack snacks. You’ll need the extra energy when you start your return from the beach.
Read thoroughly about this hike before going. There’s a Facebook group you can join that has daily updates on trail conditions. On the posted map, the trail looks deceptively easy. Anyone who has hiked it will tell you differently. Trekking poles will help a great deal. This is a trek up and down over an unmaintained trail. There are a few smooth patches, but most of it is rocks and boulders, slippery mud, and just before you reach the beach you ford a stream. You may choose to move carefully from boulder to boulder or elect to remove your shoes and wade barefoot. This is definitely a hike where carrying water shoes in your pack would come in handy.
If you plan on walking further than the beach, permits are required. Hanakapi’ai Falls is two miles beyond the beach. The trail to the falls is supposedly a bit easier than the first two miles in. If you’re doing this, start the hike early in the morning so you allow enough time for your in and out.
Oh the views!
The views are truly astounding throughout the hike. There are numerous places where you can stop for viewing and picture taking. Make sure to look north and south because the scenery both directions is breathtaking.
The beach is loud and gorgeous and soothes your soul and your feet when you take a break and relax into the space of it.
Going up, I kept thinking: “I can’t wait for this to be over. This is one of the hardest hikes I’ve done (thoughts of the Cinque Terre were foremost in my mind). I’m tired.” By the time we got in the car and Alex said to me: “I’d like to come back and hike to the falls.” I thought, “Me, too.”
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