Hiking Trail Routes
Napali Coast State Wilderness Park
Kalalau Trail Brochure
Trail Length: 22 mi (round trip).
Terrain: Wet gulches to open ridgeline
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: 800 ft
PLEASE NOTE: IT IS NOT LEGAL FOR ANYONE TO PROVIDE COMMERCIAL BOAT TRANSPORT TO DROP OFF PASSENGERS AT KALALAU OR MILOLII CAMPING AREAS. PLEASE DO NOT ENLIST THE SERVICES OF THESE ILLEGAL OPERATORS, WHO CONTRIBUTE TO OVERCROWDING AND EXCESS TRASH IN THE PARK.
The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. Originally built in the late 1800s, portions of the trail were rebuilt in the 1930s. A similar foot trail linked earlier Hawaiian settlements along the coastline. The trail traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted cliffs (pali). The 11-mile trail is graded but almost never level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakapi'ai and Kalalau. The first 2 miles of the trail, from Ha’ena State Park to Hanakapi’ai Beach, make a popular day hike.
ADVISORY: You may be exposed to the following hazards in this park:
NOTE: AS OF JANUARY 1, 2012, DAY-USE HIKING PERMITS FOR THE KALALAU TRAIL HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED. DAY HIKING IS NOW ALLOWED WITHOUT A PERMIT UP TO HANAKOA VALLEY (6 MILES IN FROM TRAILHEAD). ANYONE PROCEEDING BEYOND HANAKOA VALLEY MUST POSSESS A VALID CAMPING PERMIT. The trail to Hanakapi’ai falls and beyond Hanakapi'ai is recommended for experienced hikers only.
For most backpackers in good condition, hiking the11 miles will take a full day. Those without camping permits for Kalalau Valley are therefore prohibited from attempting the entire 22-mile round trip hike in a day. For those with camping permits, get an early start to avoid overexertion in the midday heat.
For experienced swimmers knowledgeable in local sea conditions, nearshore waters offer limited opportunities for swimming and bodysurfing. Naturalists will find a number of points of interest. Native and introduced tropical plant species abound. Many rare native plants grow on inaccessible cliffs. Wild goats are often seen along the trail route.
Climate/Seasons: Throughout the year, temperatures seldom drop below 60°F. Summer weather (May to October) normally brings steady tradewinds and occasional showers while winter weather (October to May) is less predictable. Tradewind showers are more frequent during the night and early morning. Infrequent widespread storms cause flash floods.
Gear: Travel light. Lightweight hiking shoes with good traction are popular. Camping gear should include a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket, sleeping pad, tent with rainfly, cooking stove and fuel, water purification tablets or filter, first aid kit, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, rain gear, and biodegradeable soap.
Permits Required: Obtain all camping permits from the new online permits portal or any State Parks office. Camping fees for Na Pali Coast are $15 per person per night (Hawaii residents), $20 per person per night (non-residents). A maximum stay of 5 nights is allowed in Na Pali Coast State Park. Within the 5-night maximum, no 2 consecutive nights are allowed at Hanakoa.
AS OF JANUARY 1, 2012, DAY-USE HIKING PERMITS FOR THE KALALAU TRAIL HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED. DAY HIKING IS NOW ALLOWED WITHOUT A PERMIT UP TO HANAKOA VALLEY (6 MILES IN FROM TRAILHEAD). ANYONE PROCEEDING BEYOND HANAKOA VALLEY MUST POSSESS A VALID CAMPING PERMIT.
Facilities: The authorized camping areas along the trail do not have tables or drinking water. Composting toilets are available at Hanakapi'ai, Hanakoa, and Kalalau. All camping areas are located on shaded terraces near streams.
Driving Directions: The trail begins in Ha'ena State Park at the northwest end of Kuhio Highway (Route 56) about 41 miles (a 1 1/2-hour drive) from Lihu'e Airport. Leaving vehicles overnight at the trailhead is not recommended.