Did you know that Kauai, Hawaii has one of the most dangerous hiking trails in America? It’s true and it is located along the Na Pali Coast on the Island of Kauai. The Kalalau Trail trail is a 22-mile roundtrip hike that features beaches, waterfalls, streams, and some of the scariest sections of trail that will test your love for hiking.
If you choose to brave this hike you will need to get a camping permit in order to make your way to the beach at the end and spend a night camping out on Kalalau Beach under the stars. Since I’m from Ohio and live in a more urban area, I was left in awe when I saw the stars come out. With no manmade light pollution in this area, you could see the Milky Way Galaxy, shooting stars and the awesomeness of space.
This hike has some of the most spectacular views you will ever witness. Looking down into clear blue waters running along the coast you are constantly reminded why these islands are dream vacations.
Even with all its beauty, you are also reminded of how dangerous it is and why it isn’t for the faint of heart.
The trail through most of the hike is roughly 12″ wide and takes you in and out of valleys, over streams, past beaches and through cliffs that would be the end of you, if you slip.
Here we are looking back at a section of trail that has a warning side for hikers. The sign about 30 yards down from the trail, laying on its side, warns hikers that slips will result in death. This section of trail was not much of anything other than praying you wouldn’t slip. With nothing to hold onto, we roped ourselves together (there were four of us) and we began to slowly make our way over this section. No part of it was flat and the dirt under our feet was loose. If we slipped, it was several hundred feet down to the ocean, crashing against the side of the coast.
Although there are some seriously sketchy sections of trail, the views and pockets of nature at its finest make every step worth it.
A few miles from the trailhead you come to Hanakapai’ai Valley. If you follow the stream it will take you to the incredible Hanakapai’ai Waterfall. This waterfall is something you only dream about seeing or see in movies. With a beautiful pool of water at the base of the falls, it was perfect to jump in to refresh after the start of a tough hike. Although the water is a bit chilly, the view the falls offer and the freshwater to refill with, provide you with a chance to recoup and re-energize for the remainder of the hike.
Depending on the tide and time of day, Hanakapai’ai Beach is an incredible spot to hang out as well. This is two-miles into the hike and when the tide is out, offers some unique site seeing.
However, the beach that makes the whole hike worthwhile is Kalalau Beach.
Finally, you have arrived at your destination. You think to yourself, why in the hell did I just do that!? Now, I have to turn around and do it all again to get back to civilization. This is why you take enough supplies and camping gear, so you can rest and prepare yourself for the daunting trek back.
Drinking from a freshwater waterfall is one of the earth’s little treasures. However, if you choose to drink water this way, do what we did, go and buy yourself some type of water filtration system to ensure you don’t get sick.
Once we made it out the next day, we drove up the Grand Canyon on the island where we were able to view the same section of coast we were the day before. Talk about perspective. This island has hidden gems everywhere you turn and views that take your breath away.
Check back for my next posts about Queen’s Bath and Finding Sea Turtles in a hidden cave.