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Na Pali Hiking

Na Pali Coast of the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii is largely inaccessible because of sheer cliffs that drop straight down for thousands of feet into the ocean. This 15 mile stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai means “the Cliffs.” Sailing, rafting and hiking are the only known means to experience Na Pali’s countless conservational wonders. The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this rugged coast. The trail navigates 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach. The 11 mile trail is graded but is not level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through plush valleys. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakapiai and Kalalau.

Camping is allowed at Hanakoa or Kalalau but nowhere else along the trail. Permits are required. As of March 1, 2015, walkers can hike all the way to Hanakapiai and up to the falls as a day hike without a permit. All camping areas are located on shaded terraces near streams. The Kalalau Trail is a trail along Na Pali Coast. The vigorous trail runs approximately 11 miles along the island’s north shore from Kee Beach to the Kalalau Valley. Expert hikers can complete the roundtrip 22 mile journey as a day hike. But the average hiker requires a two-day minimum and will camp along the trail famous for its remoteness, beauty, difficult terrain and dangers.

The dangers of the trail are substantial. There are three major stream crossings (Hanakapiai, Hanakoa and Kalalau) that can rise rapidly. There are also narrow portions, especially after Hanakoa. The 7th mile of the trail is known to be especially dangerous. This holds the infamous “crawler’s ledge”, an especially uneven and narrow ledge against the cliff and a long set of as this section is very treacherous, especially when it has rained heavily as the trail turns into a mudslide. One slip can result in serious injury or death.

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Loa’a wale lā!