Kalalau Trail
napali hiking

 Aloha! We are currently encountering delays in processing Special Use Permits, Camping Permits, and Kaʻena Point Vehicle Access Permits.  We graciously ask for your patience during these times as both of our Honolulu Administrative Office Permit Staff positions are vacant. - Mahalo, State Parks

Kalalau Trail

 
Trail Length 22 miles (round trip)
Activity Pedestrian
Difficulty Difficult
Terrain Wet Gulches to Open Ridgeline
Elevation Gain 800 ft
Trail Brochure Kalalau Trail
Video Kalalau Trail Safety Video
Park Name Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park

Route

The Kalalau Trail (Kalalau Trail Description) 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 five valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted cliffs.  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 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. No overnight parking is allowed at Hāʻena SP.

PLEASE NOTE: It is illegal for anyone to provide commercial boat transportation for drop off/pick-up at Kalalau or Milolii camping areas. Please do not enlist the services of illegal operators.  Likewise, commercial guided-camping trips (boat and hiking) are also illegal.

PLEASE VIEW OUR KALALAU TRAIL SAFETY VIDEO HERE.

The trail to Hanakapi’ai falls and beyond Hanakapi’ai is recommended for experienced hikers only.

For most backpackers in good condition, hiking the 11 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 along the trail. Wild goats are often seen along the trail route.

Directions

The trail begins in Ha’ena State Park at the northwest end of Kūhiō 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.

Additional Info

Safety Concerns

Please check the Kalalau trail safety concerns before you go hiking.

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 biodegradable soap.

Permits Required

With the ongoing construction and expected closures to Kūhiō Highway the Division of State Parks and the public have to be flexible and patient with the management of overnight camping permits for the Nāpali Coast SWP.  Our goal is to ensure that permits are not sold during periods when Hāʻena SP and Nāpali Coast SWP will be inaccessible due to road closures.  Camping Permits will be made available at the discretion of the Division of State Parks for periods when there is anticipated to be no concerns accessing the parks.  We understand these permits are in high-demand and that scheduling remains difficult during these times.  We ask that you please be patient as we all work to recover from the impacts of the April 2018 floods.

In-order to access the Nāpali Coast SWP as well as the Kalalau Trail, visitors have to go through Hāʻena SP.  Hāʻena SP now requires advanced reservations for entry except for those with valid camping permits for the Nāpali Coast SWP.  Those with Nāpali Coast SWP Camping Permits do not need to make a Hāʻena SP park entry reservation.  Upon entry to Haena SP, simply show staff your valid camping permit.

  • Overnight parking is not allowed at Hāʻena SP.
  • Nāpali Coast SWP & Kalalau Trail overnight campers must arrive by shuttle or drop-off. 
  • A valid Nāpali Coast SWP camping permit grants access to Hāʻena SP.

Existing Nāpali Coast SWP Camping Permits (Kalalau Trail):  For those who have existing permits issued for the Kalalau Trail, the Division of State Parks will offer you the option of either: 1. Retaining your current reservation, or 2. Revising your dates of stay if they are for dates after the reopening.  If your permits were valid during the closure period, you may revise your dates of stay for a future date, or apply for a refund.

Kūhiō Highway Construction – Park visitors should expect to encounter delays accessing the Parks as roadwork will continue along Kūhiō Highway. For current conditions please consult the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation website at  https://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/2018-kuhio-highway-emergency-repairs/

  • Anticipated closures of Kūhiō Highway:
    • Partial Closure: June 29 (6:30am-10:30am)
    • Night Closure: July 1-3 (7:30pm to 5:00am)
    • Night Closure: July 8-11 (7:30pm to 5:00am)
    • Weekend Closure: July 12 (7:30pm) through July 15 (5:00am)

Hiking

Day hiking is allowed without a permit up to Hanakapi’ai valley (2 miles in from trailhead). Anyone proceeding beyond Hanakapi’ai valley must possess a valid overnight camping permit.

Camping

PLEASE NOTE: Camping permits for Nāpali Coast SWP are extremely popular. Camping permits often sell out well in advance, particularly during the summer months. Plan accordingly.  Commercially guided camping trips are not authorized.  If you see an advertisement for commercial camping along the Nāpali Coast, it is likely illegal.

Purchase a camping permit online or in person at any State Parks district office. Offices are open Monday-Friday, 8 am-3:30 pm Hawaii time (closed on State Holidays). Camping fees for Nāpali 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 Nāpali Coast State Park. Within the 5-night maximum, no 2 consecutive nights are allowed at Hanakoa.

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.