Kalalau Trail
Photo Credit: Tim DelaVega
Kalalau Beach

The Hawaii Division of State Parks reminds park users that the use of fireworks and alcohol is prohibited in all state parks, at all times. 

Enjoy the holiday weekend safely and responsibly.  Mahalo.
 

Kalalau Trail

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 those illegal operators, who contribute to overcrowding and excess trash in the park.
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 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. Anyone proceeding beyond Hanakapi’ai valley must possess a valid overnight camping permit.

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 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.

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

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 are extremely popular, and often sell out well in advance, particularly during the summer. Please plan accordingly.

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.