15 BEST HIKES ON KAUAI, HAWAII - Journey Era (2022)

Kauai is a hiking paradise. There is no doubt about that. The Na Pali coast has some of the most epic ridges and drop-offs in the world. There are also countless epic waterfall hikes and then there is the magical Kalalau Trail along the coast. I spent a month on the island of Kauai and I explored different trails and treks almost every day. In my opinion, these are the top fifteen best hikes on Kauai, Hawaii. The hikes are listed in no particular order. I have hiked all of them personally except for two, which I missed due to bad weather during my month on the island of Kauai.

I have written an individual, detailed blog post about each of these hikes. You can click on the link at the end of each section to view this individual blog post.

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HOW TO GET TO ALL OF THE HIKES ON KAUAI

Before we get into the list it’s helpful to get a quick overview of the island. The most important factor to know is that you cannot drive around the island in an entire circle. The Napali Coast is an area without roads and additionally, you cannot pass through on the north-western coast. Therefore if you are in Hanalei or on the North Shore it will take you over two hours to reach Koke’e State Park even though it is quite close geographically because you need to drive all the way around via the south coast.

This means you need to plan your accommodation, depending on which areas you want to hike to. If you are really into hiking like me and want to do hikes in all of the different areas I actually suggest staying on one side of the island for half of your time and staying on the other side for the second part of your trip. Otherwise, you will be doing some hefty driving, which is a viable option aswell.

So, as I said, I personally suggest splitting your accommodation time around the island so that you can have quick access to the best hikes on Kauai in that region. I wrote this huge guide covering all of the top accommodations in each region of the island.

I will split the hikes up by region in this blog post so that you can easily see which hikes are on either side of Kauai Island.

ALSO: If you are visiting Oahu on your trip to Hawaii make sure you check out one of my most popular posts about the Best Hikes on Oahu

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THREE EPIC TOURS I RECOMMEND ON KAUAI

Before we get into the hikes, I wanted to share with you three of my favorite tours on the island of Kauai. I know if you are into hiking, you will love these adventurous tours as well.

What will give you a great understanding of the island and the highlight of my trip to Kauai is booking a helicopter or scenic plane flight like these below. It will blow your mind and I think it’s the most scenic helicopter flight in the world.

Helicopter Flight:The most popular helicopter tour on Kauai is the Kauai Island Highlight Helicopter Tour.

Sightseeing Plane: The Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon Scenic Plane Flight are well under $200, which is more than half the cost of the same trip via helicopter.

Eco-Friendly Kauai Zip Line Tour:Soar over three different valleys against a backdrop of breathtaking mountain views and ocean scenery on Kauai’s award-winning 8-line zipline adventure:Eco-Friendly Kauai Zip Line Tour

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WEST REGION

(Includes Koke’e State Park, Waimea) These hikes are all accessible from Waimea Canyon Drive, which is over two hours from Hanalei or just more than one hour from Kapaa. A winding road takes you from the town of Waimea into the park. Once you are in the state park there is only one coffee shop, no restaurants, no cell service, no wifi, and only drinkable tap water in specific areas. There are toilets available at several campsites and parking lots but not all.

Awaawapuhi Trail

Awaawapuhi Trail is one of my favorite ridge trails in theKoke’e State Park. It has insane drop-offs and epic views of the Na Pali Coast. The hike only takes about an hour and a half each way and is a total 6.2 miles journey out and back. If you only have time for one hike on the west side of Kauai, this is your trail.

The Awaawapuhi Trail is one of the more moderate difficulty hikes in Koke’e State Park. While the end viewpoint can get quite dangerous and steep if you venture down, the majority of the trail is well defined and quite straightforward. You spend the entire time hiking down 1500ft.

The reason why I love this trail and what makes it my favorite out in the west is because of the magnitudeof the dropoffs and the gorge. Because the Awaawapuhi Trail drops you so low, you feel like you are almost down in the valley looking up towards the top of the other ridges. It’s one of the best ridge trails and one of the best day hikes on Kauai.

  • Distance: 6 miles out and back
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Incline: 600m

Read the full blog post: Awaawapuhi Trail

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Honopu Ridge Trail

Honopu Ridge Trail is a 5-mile out and back hike in Koke’e State Park. This ridge trail takes a number of turns in the early moments of the hike but they are clearly marked by pink and orange tape. Hunting trails branch out from the Honopu Ridge Trail frequently so make sure you stick with the tape markers and stay on track. The views of the Na Pali coast at the end of the ridge are incredible and well worth the effort.

This hike is great but it can be brutal on your legs and arms. The low-lying shrubs are incredibly sharp and the trail is so narrow there is no way to avoid their constant scrape. I would highly suggest wearing pants on this hike. It isn’t going to kill you if you don’t but you will regret not heeding this advice when you return.

  • Distance: 4.4 miles out and back
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Incline: 450m

Read the full blog post: Honopu Ridge Trail

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(Video) The Hidden Beauty of Hawaii's Garden Island | Best Hiking on Kauai, Hawaii in 4K
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What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?

There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.

  • Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
  • Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
  • Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
  • Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.

Nualolo Ridge Trail

The Nualolo Cliff Trail on Kauai takes you from 3800ft to 2200ft but rewards you with epic views of Nualolo Valley and the Na Pali Coast. The 7.6-mile track is a half-day adventure in the Koke’e State Park.

The Nualolo Cliff Trail is a 7.6 mile out and back trail. The terrain is very muddy at times and winds you through a dense forest. It is a day hike for experienced trekkers and there were many slips from members of our hiking crew.

The trail is similar to the Awaawapuhi Trail, which was downhill for almost the entire journey, making it a relaxing but brisk walk along the red sand path. The jungle became dense in parts but never impeded the path, only making for beautiful scenery as we made our way towards the coast.

It’s not of the most popular hikes on Kauai but in my opinion, it’s one of the best hikes on Kauai because of the multiple lookouts of the famous Na Pali coastline at the end of the cliff trail.

  • Distance: 7 miles out and back
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Incline: 600m

Read the full blog post: Nualolo Cliff Trail

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Waipo’o Falls Trail

Waipo’o Falls Trail is a great way to experience the Waimea Canyon on one of the best easy hikes on Kauai. The trail is well maintained and the out and back can be completed in under 2 hours. The trail can be a little steep in some sections but is suitable for all ages who are in moderate level physical shape.

You will actually never see these falls head-on during the hike and you are in fact, heading to the top of the falls. The reality is you will only see the stream that becomes the waterfall. It’s a great view but not the classic Kauai waterfall hike. There is a second small waterfall you will see but it isn’t quite the 800ft cascading fall you can see from the lookouts while driving up to Waimea Canyon Road.

The views of Waimea Canyon are insane all along this hike. The patterns, colors, and textures of the rock formations from inside the canyon are just hard to imagine until you get down this close. These incredible rocky landscapes are what sets Kauai hikes apart from Oahu hikes.

The second viewpoint along the Waipo’o Falls Trail is a huge stretch of red rock, overlooking a huge drop down into the canyon. This is easily one of my favorite easy waterfall hike on Kauai.

  • Distance: 3.6 miles out and back
  • Duration: 2 hours

Read the full blog post about the Waipo’o Falls Trail

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Kalepa Ridge

Kalepa Ridge Trail is one of the most epic cliff trails on Kauai. It’s only a short hike taking about 30 minutes until you reach the viewpoint. The cliff trail becomes very narrow and the path can be crumbly so this is a hike for experienced hikers only.

You will have views over Kalalau Valley and even down into Cathedrals, which is the most famous section of the Na Pali coastline. If you are looking for a quick sunset spot then this is one of the best hikes on Kauai to catch that golden hour glow on the ridges.

The night I visited Kalepa Ridge, the clouds parted just in time for the sun to light up the remaining fog in a golden glow, while the ocean still beamed blue. Looking down the ridge while all of this was going on is a moment I’ll never forget.

  • Distance: 1.9 miles out and back
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Incline: 200m
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HOLD UP! Are you sure you’re ready to start hiking and traveling? GET INSURED FIRST!

If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Don’t wait for an accident to happen, Get insured. I fractured an ankle halfway through a multi-day trek and had THOUSANDS covered by through insurance claim.

I’ve been using World Nomads and SafetyWing for the past 6 years. I’ve made successful claims with both and found them professional, helpful, and reliable but most importantly.. cheap! I trust them both. World Nomads is great for travel up to two months and SafetyWing is perfect for long-term travel.

(Video) The Best Hike I've Ever Done! KAUAI VLOG

To find out why I choose World Nomads and SafetyWing, check out my review: Best (Cheap) Travel Insurance or get a quote below.

North Region

Includes hikes in Hanalei and hikes easily accessible from Princeville and Kapaa. The hikes in the north of Kauai can generally be the rainy corner of the island so keep that in mind when checking the conditions for hikes.

Kalalau Trail

The Kalalau trail is ultimately the most popular hike on Kauai. People come from all around the world to hike this trail. I had planned to do the trail but high surf and bad weather stopped me from getting out there during the time period I had open during my one month in Kauai. I’ll be back to do this one for sure.

Here is what you can expect on this epic coastal trail along the Na Pali Coast:

Firstly you will need a Kalalau Trail Permit, which you can book by clicking here. Make sure you book well in advance as they are often booked out of permits over 4 months ahead of time. Rangers do patrol the area and keeping the numbers set helps to ensure the safety of hikers and the preservation of the region.

The trail is a challenging 11-mile (one-way), coastal trail along the Na Pali Coast. You can hike the first 4.5 miles to Hanakapiai Falls without a permit but any further than that you will need the permit. The trail ends at the secluded Kalalau Beach, which sits below Kalalau Valley. It is one of the most special spots on Kauai. Make sure you stay for one or two nights if you plan on camping here so you can truly enjoy the beach rather than hiking in and be hiking straight back out the next morning as it is a full-day hike.

Several parts of this trail are quite dangerous and many hikers have fallen into trouble over the years. It is a trail for experienced hikers in good physical condition.

  • Distance: 22 miles out and back
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Incline: 2000m
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Hanakapiai Falls Trail

Hanakapiai Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai. It leads you to the first part of the Kalalau Trail towards Hanakpiai Beach before heading inwards along the Hankapiai Stream towards the booming 300ft+ Hankapiai Waterfall in the depths of the jungle. The Hanakpiai Falls Trail is 4.5 miles in and 4.5 miles out. However, many hikers stop at the beach and turn back, opting to hike only to the beach and not the falls. This makes the journey only 2 miles in and 2 miles out.

The Hanakapiai Falls Trail isn’t one of the easiest hikes on Kauai but it’s worth it and definitely one of the best waterfall hikes on Kauai.

My favorite part of the stretch from Ke’e Beach to Hankapiai Beach is the red rock path and how it contrasts dramatically with the striking blue of the Pacific Ocean far below. When you add the vivid greens from the jungle and the deep sky blue into this scene you have a vibrant palette painting an incredible scene replicated in a few places around the world.

The 300ft waterfall, which seems to fall out of the sky, pours down into the emerald pool below. The water was freezing but most of us jumped in for a dip.

  • Distance: 11 miles out and back
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Incline: 800m

Read the full blog post: Hanakapiai Falls Trail

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Okolehao Trail

The Okolehao Trail is on the north shore of Kauai near the town of Hanalei. It’s a 5-mile hike that I’ll never forget. That’s because it isn’t signposted very well and I ended up hiking much, much farther than the end of the trail.

The Okolehao trail is one of the north shore hiking trails on Kauai and is just around the corner from Hanalei. Unless you hike along the Kalalau Trail or to Hanakapiai Falls, this is probably the best hike you can do on the Kauai north shore.

The Okolehao trail is an out and back trail so you hike 2.5 miles in and then return down the same track 2.5 miles back. However, the mile markers seem to end after mile 1.75. This led to some confusion. I ended up hiking all the way up Hihimanu Ridge to Twin Peaks. This is one of the best hikes on Kauai if you are looking for a physical challenge.

  • Distance: 2.8 miles out and back
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Incline: 280m

Read the full blog post: Okolehao Trail

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Central, South, East Region

Included are some of the best hikes on Kauai that are easily accessible from the common tourist areas such as Kapaa and Lihue and even Hanalei.

Ho’opi’i Falls Hike

Ho’oip’i Falls Trail on Kauai is a short hike, which leads you to two waterfalls. The first waterfall is a great spot for cliff jumping or a refreshing dip. The second falls is one you may recognize from the film Jurassic Park. The trail is very muddy at times but leads you through some unbelievable scenes as vines and ferns are strewn throughout huge trees on either side of the Ho’opi’i Falls trail.

(Video) Hiking Kauai | Kalepa Ridge Lihue - Secret Hike Only Locals Know!

If you are like me and love an adrenaline rush, check out my Kauai Cliff Jumping Guide for all of the best spots.

After about 20 minutes you will reach the first falls. The pool is quite narrow but deep enough to jump into. However, it is only deep enough in certain parts. The water is dark so you must do a thorough check. If you jump in without checking you could land on one of the big boulders just feet below the surface.

The main falls are in a famous location. It is the scene of Amber Mine from Jurassic Park. It doesn’t look quite the same and a lot greener when I visited but nonetheless, you will find yourself standing on a Hollywood set as you watch the water flow downHo’opi’i Falls. This is one of the best short hikes on Kauai and even has a bonus cliff jump!

  • Distance: 2.4 miles out and back
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Incline: 100m

Read the full blog post: Ho’opi’i Falls Hike

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Makaleha Falls Hike

Makaleha Falls Hike is a jungle waterfall adventure, which will leave you covered in mud but not with no regrets. The 2.6 miles out and back trail follows a stream the entirety of the hike with a reward of multiple epic waterfalls at the end. This hike is a great fit for those capable of bouldering, weaving in and out of roots and vines, and dealing with slippery mud and mossy rocks.

Makaleha Falls Hike on Kauai takes about two hours round trip if you don’t stop for photos or spend too long at the falls. Otherwise, allow for three hours if you want to enjoy the falls at the destination.

The hike begins along the Makaleha Stream and follows it the whole way up to the falls. I lost count of the river crossings and many of them left no option other than to wade through the water. I managed to keep one shoe dry! Follow the stream throughout the waterfall hike and you will arrive at the two-tiered falls. This spot was nestled in a narrow canyon and the water was beyond freezing! It’s a handy little area for cliff-jumping but definitely check the water for debris or rocks first! This is definitely one of the most epic waterfall hikes on Kauai.

  • Distance: 2.8 miles out and back
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Incline: 300m

Read the full blog post: Makaleha Falls Hike

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Opaekaa Falls Hike (Closed)

Opaekaa Falls is one of the most popular spots for tourists to visit when they come to Kauai. However, most tourists just stop in the parking lot and watch the falls from a distance. It’s possible to trek down to the bottom and swim in the pool below the falls along a trail, although it is a very steep trail with a high level of difficulty. I set out on an Opaekaa Falls hike mission in the middle of the day. Be careful on this trail, it is one of the more dangerous waterfall hikes on Kauai.

* This trail is currently closed due to State restrictions.

The entire hike to the bottom of the falls took about 30-minutes if you didn’t stop. At the bottom of the falls, we enjoyed a peaceful rest as we took in the natural beauty of Opaekaa Falls. It looks as if you can hike out down the stream, maybe all the way to the beach. We will save that adventure for another day.

  • Distance: 1.5 miles out and back
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Incline: 100m

Read the full blog post: Opaekaa Falls Hike

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Wailua Falls Hike

From the viewpoint the waterfall is spectacular but the Wailua Falls hikeallows you to follow the trail down to the bottom pool and enjoy the raw power of this waterfall from up close. If you can manage the incline, this is one of the best easy hikes on Kauai.

The Wailua Falls hike is only a short trek down a slope, which is often quite slippery and muddy. Despite the short distance, this is a waterfall hike for able-bodied, fit people. This is due to the steep incline and potentially muddy terrain. In terms of effort to pay off, this is one of the best hikes on Kauai.

You can swim in Wailua Falls and it will definitely be refreshing as the water is freezing. There is quite a strong current in the pool but it seemed to push outward. Stay near the edges and don’t go inspecting the waterfall too close while you swim.

  • Distance: 1 mile out and back
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Incline: 100m

Read the full blog post: Wailua Falls Hike

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(Video) 10 Unique things to do in Kauai that no one else is sharing
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Sleeping Giant Hike

The Nounou Mountain Trail is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai in Hawaii. It is also known as one of the easy Kauai Hikes. This ridge formation resembles a ginormous human body laying flat on its back. That’s why the trail is known as the ‘Sleeping Giant’ hike of Kauai.

The giant’s body is visible from anywhere in Kapaa. The local legend tells of a giant who overate at a feast during a celebration in his honor, fell asleep, and never woke. I think we can all relate.

The trail begins in a beautiful tunnel of trees. It is an eerie opening to the journey, which captivated us from the first moments. The muddy trail switches back and forth before leading you into an epic pine forest. It’s something most people wouldn’t imagine when they think of Hawaii. A grove of Norfolk and Cook Pines stretch high into the sky, so high arching your neck isn’t enough to catch the treetops. The trees were planted long ago in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

  • Distance: 3.4 miles out and back
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Incline: 300m

Read the full blog post: Sleeping Giant Hike

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Kuilau Ridge Trail

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is a perfect two-hour adventure. It’s short but because you are already elevated so high from the drive, the views are awesome from the first moment. A small muddy trail leads you along a winding path that cuts in and out along the ridge for two miles.

The trees and plants on the Kuilau Ridge Trail are out of this world. Huge ferns blanket the lower level of the forest, while enormous trees tower above you as you make your way along the path. It’s aclassic Hawaii hike that has you feeling like you are on the set of Jurassic Park.

From this viewpoint, you can check out the epic views of the valley. We counted six layers of mountains and looking at the blanketed ferns creating a canopy below was a scene I won’t forget.

  • Distance: 3.6 miles out and back
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Incline: 200m

Read the full blog post: Kuilau Ridge Trail

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Waialeale Blue Hole Hike

I attempted this hike while on Kauai but was unfortunately beaten by the weather. It is prone to flash flooding so we had to turn back without seeing the incredible weeping walls.

The base of Mt. Waialeale is known as the Blue Hole, this is where the wall appears to be weeping as streams of water pour into the canyon. To reach the hike you need a 4×4 as there are several river crossings. The entire journey is a full-day hike for most people and is best done with a guide or a local. The weather conditions here change rapidly and you can get caught in a flash flood before this time to backtrack.

I’ll be eternally jealous if you manage to reach the Weeping Wall but hope you remain safe attempting what is one of the best waterfall hikes on Kauai.

This is a photo of my mate Jorden at the Weeping Wall last year. I’ll be back to do this one for sure!

  • Distance: 5 miles out and back
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Incline: 500m
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There are of course many other epic hikes on Kauai but for me, those were the top 15 of the many I hiked while on Island. I hope you have a safe time on the trails. Happy Hiking.

Where to stay on Kauai

I’m going to recommend five places to stay on Kauai. All five of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. Two are a luxury pick, one is a family choice, the other is a value selection.

Kauai Shores HotelLuxury (but value also):A luxury feels with the resort-style property, palm trees, and a beautiful pool area. However, it is less than $300 a night. The best part about this hotel is that it is right on the beach. The restaurant literally looks out to the waves, which is an awesome spot to start your day with breakfast.

Koloa Landing ResortLuxury (high-end): I was lucky enough to spend three nights reviewing Koloa Landing Resort and honestly the place is just phenomenal. It has the LARGEST pool in all of Kauai with beautiful, natural-style landscaping throughout the pool areas.

The Grand Hyatt ResortBest Family Resort:With the bestkids’ clubon the island,wildlife talksin thelobby, and a five-acrepool complexthat includes an enormouslazy-river pool, awaterslide, and a saltwaterlagoonbig enough forkayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy.

Hilton Garden InnValue Pick: The Hilton Garden Inn is your number one choice if you are on a budget but still need comfort. The Hilton has a beautiful pool, has private beach access and hot tubs so you are still getting an awesome value and the resort experience.

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What are my favorite pieces of travel gear?

There are four pieces of gear that I simply never travel without. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my travel essentials.

  • Packing Cube Set: Once you cube you’ll never go back. Organize your clothes within your luggage with these smart mesh containers. It will revolutionize your packing.
  • PackTowl Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
  • Travel Wallet: Keep your passport, wallet, and vaccine card safe as well as any forms and important documents you need to store.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: I’ve used this for three years. It filters your water with one press and you can drink directly from it. Never buy a plastic water bottle again!

FAQs

What is the famous hike in Kauai? ›

Kalalau Trail

One of the most popular day hikes in Kauai is the first part of Kalalau Trail, from Kee Beach to Hanakapiai Beach. To hike the entire Kalalau Trail all the way to Kalalau Beach and also explore the Valley, you'll need 3-5 days, a special permit and an excellent physical condition.

What is the hardest hike in Kauai? ›

The Kalalau Trail in the Kalalau Valley is one of the most strenuous hiking trails on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. It winds through rain forests to beautiful secluded beaches.

How many people have fallen off Kalalau Trail? ›

Accidents, Falls, and Deaths

An unofficial sign near Hanakapi'ai Beach records almost 85 deaths, as seen in 2014. More recently, an article published by The Daily Beast website in 2019 claims “over 100” deaths along the trail.

How many hikes are in Kauai? ›

Best Trails in Kauai

AllTrails has 91 hiking trails, mountain biking routes, backpacking trips and more.

How hard is the NaPali Coast hike? ›

Explore this 22.0-mile out-and-back trail near Hanalei, Kauai. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 12 h 48 min to complete. This is a very popular area for backpacking, camping, and hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

How many days do you need in Kauai? ›

If Kauai is the only Hawaiian island you'll be visiting, you'll want at least 7-10 days to explore the island. That will give you enough time to do some day trips, take a few tours, check out the beaches, and have plenty of time to relax and unwind.

Is the Kalalau Trail difficult? ›

Though it's unbelievably beautiful, there's no doubt that the Kalalau Trail can be extremely perilous at points. The trail is narrow, steep, rocky, and dotted with natural hazards ranging from strong water currents to falling rocks. Steep dropoffs into the water are especially dangerous.

Do I need a permit to hike in Kauai? ›

The first 2 miles of the trail, from Hāʻena State Park to Hanakapi'ai Beach, make a popular day hike. Anyone proceeding beyond Hanakapi'ai valley must possess a valid overnight camping permit. The trail to Hanakapi'ai falls and beyond Hanakapi'ai is recommended for experienced hikers only.

Is there good hiking in Kauai? ›

The island of Kauai is home to some of the best hiking trails in the entire state of Hawaii, if not the world. If you like to hike, Kauai will certainly not disappoint. The island offers a huge variety of trails and hikes that vary from 3,000 ft. ridge and cliff trails to treks along the gorgeous NaPali coastline.

How difficult is the first 2 miles of Kalalau Trail? ›

Round trip to Hanakapi'ai Falls: Challenging but well worth it! The 8-mile round trip hike to Hanakapi'ai falls took about 6 hours and was well worth it. The first two miles to the beach is relatively easy, since it's downhill, and took about an hour.

How scary is crawlers ledge? ›

Many people say that the scariest part of the Kalalau Trail is “Crawler's Ledge” around mile 7. It can be scary. These articles and videos show you what to expect. Keep in mind that small wide-angle lenses like those on GoPro cameras make it seem steeper than it really is.

How many people have died on the Kalalau? ›

It's a well-traveled, well-known trail. But the Kalalau Trail has claimed dozens of lives. There are flash floods along the creeks. At least 100 people have died swimming in the powerful surf.

Can you hike for free in Kauai? ›

The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is located in northwest Kauai. This park features lush forest and stunning coastline with sparkling ocean and towering cliffs surrounding beaches below. A popular free activity on the Na Pali Coast is hiking the Kalalau Trail.

What is Kauai known for? ›

Perhaps more than any of the other islands, Kauai is known for its natural beauty and its dramatic, beautiful sites. These include Waimea Canyon, the Coconut Coast and much more. You'll find gorgeous mountains and waterfalls, white sand beaches, sugarcane fields, and beachside cliffs such as those on the Na Pali coast.

How long is the hoopii falls hike? ›

Try this 2.4-mile out-and-back trail near Kapaʻa, Kauai. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 53 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

What is the best month to go to Kauai? ›

The early spring months of April and May are two of the best months to visit Kauai, in our opinion. The weather is typically fantastic, and rates and visitor demand are down until early June. This is definitely the time of year to find great rates on-island.

Is it better to stay on the north or south side of Kauai? ›

The north shore remains mostly untouched and is best for nature lovers and honeymooners. South shore is the best access point for visiting Waimea Canyon and is close to the airport. The north is the gateway to the world famous Napali Coast.

How long does it take to hike first 2 miles of Kalalau Trail? ›

The surf and rip currents are variable and often extremely treacherous, but worst in winter when high surf conditions prevail. DROWNINGS OCCUR HERE REGULARLY! Allow 3 to 4 hours to complete the round-trip hike to Hanakapi'ai Beach. An unmaintained 2-mile trail into Hanakapi'ai Valley leads to a waterfall.

What is the hardest hike in Hawaii? ›

Koko Crater Trail. If you're looking for a hard hike on Oahu, look no further than Koko Crater Trail. This steep climb consists of 1,000+ steps along an abandoned railroad track that runs to the top of Koko Crater.

What is the best time of day to hike Kalalau Trail? ›

The best time to hike into Kalalau Valley is first thing in the morning during the summer months (May to Oct.) when the trail is dry, in decent condition, and you have more daylight hours.

Which Hawaiian island has the best hiking? ›

The best Hawaiian island for hiking is Oahu. Oahu's hiking trails cover the two volcanic mountain ranges that flank the island. Oahu's abundant network of trails gives opportunities for beginner to advanced hikers. One can enjoy waterfall hikes, WWII pillbox hikes, or coastal ridges on Oahu.

Is the Kalalau Trail worth it? ›

If you're looking for amazing views, the first 2 miles of the Kalalau Trail is an extraordinary experience. You'll get a good taste of the NaPali Coast with it's stunning views, and a beach to rest and recover. If you're up for adventure, you could do the whole trail.

Where should I stay the night before Kalalau Trail? ›

For accommodation the night before your hike, there are two campgrounds close to the trailhead. There are two inexpensive campsites near the trailhead, Haena Beach Park (closed Monday nights) and Hanalei Beach Park (open Friday and Saturday only).

How long does it take to hike the Kalalau Trail? ›

To hike the entire trail and also spend time exploring Kalalau Beach and Valley takes 3-5 days. Most people are day hikers that don't ever make it all the way out to Kalalau.

How long does it take to hike Kuilau Ridge trail? ›

Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 43 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime.

Can you hike the NaPali Coast? ›

Fun Ways To Explore NaPali Coast

The challenging and strenuous hiking begins a switchback and 800 feet climb out of Hanakapiai valley. This is an enchanted hike, famous for its breathtaking beauty, hanging valleys and iron red and emerald green cliffs that rise thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean.

What shoes should I wear to the Kalalau Trail? ›

Boots will provide the most support and protection for your feet and ankles. They are especially useful when carrying a heavy pack and/or traveling over jagged, rocky terrain. In most cases we recommend folks wear trail running shoes or plain old sneakers instead of boots.

Do you need hiking boots for Kalalau Trail? ›

Any weather resistant hiking footwear & an extra pair of socks if you're going the boot route! over a year ago. If you are doing the 11 miles bring hiking shoes or light hiking boots with a change of socks. Sandals or water shoes are best for the water crossings and wearing around the campsite.

How long is Kalalau Trail Kauai? ›

The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trail that leads from Ke'e Beach to Kalalau Beach along the Nāpali Coast on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

How do I prepare for the Kalalau Trail? ›

12 Important Tips for Hiking the Kalalau Trail
  1. Make Sure your Cardio Fitness is up to Scratch. ...
  2. Prepare Yourself for Climbing Up Hills. ...
  3. Get Accustomed to Hiking at Heights. ...
  4. Travel Light and Bring Lightweight Hiking Shoes. ...
  5. Bring the Right Camping Gear for the Kalalau Trail. ...
  6. Don't Carry all your Water from the Trailhead.
Feb 22, 2022

What does Kalalau mean in Hawaiian? ›

Kala-lau can be translated as Fluted leaves, a reference to the curtain-like appearance of the cliffs. Kala-lau can also be translated at Leaves of the 'okala berry, a raspberry-like plant that can still be found in the mountains. Kalalau, as one word, means to call, as one person does to another.

Do people live in the Kalalau Valley? ›

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Megan Wong describes the Kalalau Trail on Kauai's Na Pali Coast as one of the most beautiful in the world." But allured by the isolation, squatters have lived deep in Kalalau Valley for years and even decades ― leaving illegal campsites, mounds of debris and even a toilet behind.

How many people drown in Kauai every year? ›

Mortality
CountyCountRate
Hawaii3818.72
Honolulu12411.78
Kauai911.29
Maui2514.86
1 more row

Has anyone died on the Kalalau Trail? ›

Deaths and Injuries

A number of incidents have occurred along the Kalalau Trail. In 2012, for example, a woman fell near the beach waterfall on this trail and subsequently died. Another incident occurred in 2014, when a woman drowned while trying to cross one of the trail's three streams.

How difficult is climbing Half Dome? ›

The trail to Half Dome from Yosemite Valley is an extremely strenuous hike covering over 17 miles. Hikers gain 4,800 feet of elevation along the trail that passes highlights such as Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall, before reaching the cables on Half Dome's steep granite domes.

Can you hike the Kalalau Trail in one day? ›

If no permits are available, you can still enjoy the Kalalau Trail for a day hike (day-use reservations required). You can hike to Hanakāpīʻai beach (4-Mile round trip) or to Hanakāpīʻai Falls and back (8-Mile round trip). Permits are available up to 90 days out. Get your permits early to ensure a permit is available.

Do I need a permit to hike the Na Pali Coast? ›

Make parking and entry reservations at www.gohaena.com. In order to hike past Hanakāpī'ai Beach along the Kalalalau Trail a valid camping permit for Napali Coast State Wilderness Park is required whether or not you choose to camp.

Are there white sand beaches in Kauai? ›

Kauai Beaches

While Kauai is famous for its dramatic cliffs, canyons and rainforests, it's also home to some of Hawaii's most picturesque beaches. The island is surrounded by 50 miles of shimmering white-sand coast where you can enjoy jaw-droppingly beautiful unspoiled views.

Where is Oprah's home in Hawaii? ›

Oprah Winfrey

Aside from owning over 60 acres of land in East Maui, Oprah also bought the historic Thompson Ranch near Keokea in 2005 and turned the place into a charming modern farmhouse. The media mogul loves Maui so much that she recently purchased more land in Kula, next to her vacation home!

What language do they speak in Kauai? ›

Hawaiian Language Disclaimer for The County of Kauai

Like the Hawaiian islands themselves, the Hawaiian language is unique among the world's languages. Originally, Hawaiian was a spoken language and did not exist in written form.

Is Kauai expensive? ›

You should plan to spend around $152 per day on your vacation in Kauai, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, $45 on meals for one day and $27 on local transportation. Also, the average hotel price in Kauai for a couple is $181.

Can you swim in hoopii Falls Kauai? ›

Hoopii Falls or Ho'opi'i Falls, Kauai

Upper Hoopii Falls is popular with locals and becomes a fun swimming hole during normal water flow but can be big and dangerous after heavy rains.

Can you swim at Ho OPI i Falls? ›

The trail has two Falls to swim and enjoy. The taller waterfall has a rope swing to climb and swing before dropping in the water. The trail attracts many visitors, arrive early to find parking.

What waterfall is in Jurassic Park? ›

Manawaiopuna Falls, Kauai

In an early scene of the first Jurassic Park, a helicopter lands at the base of a beautiful waterfall. You'll find this spot on Kauai — in fact, Manawaiopuna Falls is now commonly referred to as “Jurassic Park Falls.” Want to recreate the scene?

How long does it take to hike the Kalalau Trail? ›

To hike the entire trail and also spend time exploring Kalalau Beach and Valley takes 3-5 days. Most people are day hikers that don't ever make it all the way out to Kalalau.

How long is the hoopii falls hike? ›

Try this 2.4-mile out-and-back trail near Kapaʻa, Kauai. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 53 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

How long does it take to hike Kuilau Ridge trail? ›

Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 43 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime.

Do I need a permit to go to Waimea Canyon? ›

Entry and Parking will be good throughout both parks, you do not need to pay more than once to visit both parks. Parking and Entry Hawaii resident visitors admission and parking is free with Hawaii ID or Driver License.
...
Waimea Canyon State Park.
HoursDaily During Daylight Hours
Trail NamesIliau Nature Loop Kukui Trail
2 more rows
Apr 2, 2021

How hard is the first 2 miles of the Kalalau Trail? ›

Round trip to Hanakapi'ai Falls: Challenging but well worth it! The 8-mile round trip hike to Hanakapi'ai falls took about 6 hours and was well worth it. The first two miles to the beach is relatively easy, since it's downhill, and took about an hour.

Can you do Kalalau Trail in 2 days? ›

The trail is 11 miles long one way and ends at a famous camp spot. Originally planned as a 4 day and 3 night event, we ended up shortening it to 2 days and 1 night while still completing all of the 22 miles, camping at the beach, visiting one of the major waterfalls, and capturing the Milky Way along the way.

Are there bathrooms on the Kalalau Trail? ›

Make sure you pick up after yourself and do not leave a trace anywhere along the trail! There are restrooms along the trail at the trailhead, 2-mile mark, 6-mile mark and Kalalau Beach. If you need to use the bathroom on the trail, pick up after yourself and put it in the trash.

Can you swim in hoopii Falls Kauai? ›

Hoopii Falls or Ho'opi'i Falls, Kauai

Upper Hoopii Falls is popular with locals and becomes a fun swimming hole during normal water flow but can be big and dangerous after heavy rains.

Can you swim at Ho OPI i Falls? ›

The trail has two Falls to swim and enjoy. The taller waterfall has a rope swing to climb and swing before dropping in the water. The trail attracts many visitors, arrive early to find parking.

What waterfall is in Jurassic Park? ›

Manawaiopuna Falls, Kauai

In an early scene of the first Jurassic Park, a helicopter lands at the base of a beautiful waterfall. You'll find this spot on Kauai — in fact, Manawaiopuna Falls is now commonly referred to as “Jurassic Park Falls.” Want to recreate the scene?

How long is the Lanikai Pillbox hike? ›

The Lanikai Pillbox hike is a little over 1 mile in length each way and takes around 20-30 minutes each way depending on your skill level. It's one of the best hikes on Oahu if you are looking for something quick and easy.

How long is the hanakapiai trail? ›

Check out this 7.7-mile out-and-back trail near Hanalei, Kauai. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 4 h 48 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime.

How do I get to Waipoo falls? ›

To access the Canyon trail or Waipoo falls trail-head, drive up Highway 550 northward into Kokee state park. Continue after the Waimea Canyon lookout for a little over 4 miles and keep looking for a dirt road towards the right that leads down to the Waimea Canyon, past mile marker 14.

How long is the drive up Waimea Canyon? ›

About 2 hours if you go all the way to the end and spend a little time at each stop. over a year ago. That depends on how many lookouts you choose to stop at and how long you stay at each, and if you decide to hike any trails.

How do you get to Spouting Horn in Kauai? ›

Driving directions to Spouting Horn from Koloa Town: Head south on Poipu Road until you merge into the “Welcome to Poipu Beach” roundabout. Follow the sign “Spouting Horn” (second exit) and continue along Lawai Road for approximately two and a half miles beyond. There is plenty of free parking available.

Is Waimea Canyon worth seeing? ›

Waimea Canyon is closer to the Poipu area but farther away from Kapaa and the Princeville/Hanalei areas. But wherever you're staying on the island, a trip to the canyon is well worth it. (Visit Waimea Canyon on a Friday and catch Hanapepe Art Night on the way back.)

Videos

1. Kalalau Trail Kauai: Is This Na Pali Coast Hike Worth The Risk?
(Made to Explore)
2. Hawaii Hiking Trails
(The Traveling Funatic)
3. Top Things To Do in Kauai, Hawaii // Hiking in Kauai, Napali Coast Boat Tour, Helicopter Tour
(The Lovers Passport)
4. 12 Essential KAUAI Travel Tips | WATCH BEFORE YOU GO!
(Alexander Ayling)
5. Blue Hole Hike (Waialeale) | Kauai Hawaii (The Hardest Day-Hike in the World)
(1Lifeonearth)
6. Stairway to Heaven [illegal hike] - Hawaii
(Maldavar Films)

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