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5 Tips for Na Pali Coast Hike and why you must do it

Na Pali - The cliffs in Hawaiian, one of the most breathtaking place on earth

If there’s only ONE place in Kauai that you MUST see no matter what, that’s without doubt the Na Pali Coast.

It is a 17-mile stretch of coastline on the west side of the island. It took millions of years for water and wind erosion to form these magnificent 4,000-foot cliffs. The raw beauty of Na Pali coast covered with lush greens, numerous cascading waterfalls and sea caves would leave you speechless. There’s three best ways to experience that:

  1. Take a Helicopter tour and see it from above.
  2. Boat ride and see it from the water.
  3. Hike the Na Pali Coast trail: ( Kalalau Trail – 11 miles ) or at least the Hanakapi’ai Falls hike 8 miles round trip ( that’s what we did ).


The 11 mille Kalalau trail begins at Ke’e beach and is considered one of the most difficult hikes. It takes 2 days to complete and you will need to purchase a permit for your overnight camping. The trail is mostly narrow with steep inclines and declines, uneven ledges, slippery, loose rocks underfoot and yes it’s not for everyone.

Mikey really wanted to do the 11 mile, but Jana is more of a short hike type of person. So we compromised on the Hanakapi’ai Falls which was still a lifetime experience.



5 Quick Tips:

1.Don’t try to plan the hike based on the weather. Rain or shine it doesn’t matter, it’s still unbelievably beautiful and an amazing adventure.

2. Try to go early in the morning because the parking gets very full.

3. Bring enough drinking water, food ( snacks ) and Mikey says ponchos – we got soaking wet to our bones.

4. Make sure you have hiking shoes that you won’t mind getting wet and covered with mud.

5. Most importantly bring your happy adventurous spirit and be ready to be wowed.



my-babe-mudMikey hiking barefoot of course 

We did the Hanakapi’ai Falls trail in 2011, and it was still pretty difficult but worth every minute of it. You don’t need a permit to do it. We had it all that day: pouring down rain, mudslides, wind, sunshine, rainbows…and yes Mikey did it barefoot.

It’s a 2 mile hike to the Hanakapi’ai Beach, then another 2 miles upstream along the river. You will pass through bamboo forest until you get to the amazing waterfall and then back. If you want to take a break for a quick snack, lunch or dip on the ocean Hanakapi’ai Beach is a great place for that.




m-kee-hikeViews of Ke’e Beach from the Kalalau Trail



the-two-waterfallHanakapi’ai Falls – totally worth the hike


me-sunny-hike-endViews of Ke’e Beach from the Kalalau Trail

Finally on the way back we got to dry and see it with the sunshine. It was definitely one of our top favorite hikes.

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