Valleys, sea cliffs, beaches, waterfalls and rivers, and a winding trail on a vertical cliff (at times) are what's in store for those who attempt the Na Pali Coast hike on Kaua'i. Now let's point out that it's not all treacherous. With 15 miles of rugged coastline, it's no surprise the terrain changes drastically. You can begin with a goal in mind. Will you go just two miles into the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi`ai Beach? Or do you have it in you to challenge the 11-mile trail to Kalalau Beach?
Hike on the edge — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Consisting of 6,175 acres of raw land, Na Pali Coast State Park is hands down one of the most beautiful Kaua`i experiences to be had. A can't-miss trail head for the Kalalau Trail begins right at Ke`e Beach past Ha`ena Beach Park. There's a sign-in box and trail info there. Going just to Hanakapi`ai is a free-for-all without permits, but day-use permits are required to go past it to Kalalau and beyond. Camping permits are required for all camping spots.
Trail head — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
From Hanakapi`ai, it's a strenuous 4.5-mile hike to Hanakoa, and from there it's another five-mile and usually over three-hour hike to Kalalau Beach, where you'll most likely run into some not-fully-dressed hippies and other nature lovers. Remember that Mother Nature determines the conditions of the trails and it's best to expect the worst. You always need more than the average camping and hiking supplies for this. Tons of water, or at least water treatment tablets, sunblock, appropriate hiking boots, food. . .you get the idea.
Views worth the effort — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Don't forget the camera on this mission and always put safety first. During the winter months, it's best to avoid getting in the ocean at any point along the coast. Try at least the first park of the hike because this is the best experience Kaua`i has to offer.