Kalalau Trip Reports

After writing my description of the Kalalau trail, I’ve come across several other trip reports on the web. These provide some other details about the Na Pali coast, and I find them accurate compared to my past experiences:

  • Kayak Kauai is a local outfitter that runs kayak and hiking tours of the Na Pali coast. They just published a description of the Kalalau trail which I find accurate, including having an empty and washed campstove fuel bottle tossed out by an airline (despite the 9-11 security measures, I still believe they are over-interpreting FAA regulations, but we were lucky, I heard they now take away the stoves). One point where I’ll disagree is the warning about leaving a car at Kee beach. We have left cars parked there, mostly empty and locked without incident, but they were not shiny new rental cars. Now that there is a ranger stationed at Haena, I think leaving a rental car there is justifiable, as long as:
    • You leave nothing inside that you wouldn’t want to lose.
    • You have paid with a credit card that gives you extra rental insurance.
    • Your flight doesn’t leave the same day you plan to finish hiking.
    • Actually, maybe you should just find the ranger and ask about it.
  • GORP.com has a classic trail description that includes some of the characters you might meet along the way. It also mentions the helicopter nuisance.
  • DayHiker.com has an extreme hike report of somebody who hiked-jogged in and out in one day (8:30-4:30, which I find barely believable, though perhaps without a pack).
  • The previous writer should participate in the Kalalau Challenge: swim to Kalalau and hike-run all the way back (2003 winner’s time was 6:04:15). This video of the race has some good footage of the trail and scenery:

    Or if you prefer to watch “Kalalau Challenge” on YouTube.

  • And finally, some amateur video of people on the trail. These aren’t very good, but they give you some more first person accounts: search YouTube (Google video only seems to have stock aerial footage of Na Pali, but maybe that will change)

Update: As I find more Kalalau trip reports on the web, I’ll add them here:

  • A travel journal from 2002 that gives one experience of hiking in and out in two days (start reading at 17.03.2002; there is a photo link but they do not display). This account is notable because the authors are true traveling backpackers: they did not rent a car and hitch-hike from the airport to Kee and back, with mixed results. Also, they chose to forgo all camping permits and spent some time fearing the ranger.
  • A guy from Oahu wrote to tell me he blogged about his day-hike to Kalalau and back (that link takes a while to load). He was ready to start before sunrise, but when he saw some hunters starting out before him, he wisely decided to wait until daylight. He made it all the way to Kalalau beach and back to cell-phone reception (probably around Lumahai) before sunset, which was his friends’ appointed time to notify rescuers to go looking for him. I suggested that 9 or 10pm was a better time, especially because he did bring a flashlight. At the bottom of his page he also has an animated flyover of the trail that he made from my trail maps, so that’s worth checking out.
  • Another day-hike to the beach and back by a group from Oahu. I’m not a big fan of their writing style, but they do have some funny pictures, and the minutes-per-mile table at the end gives other hikers an idea of what to expect.
  • The ultimate solo single-day hike to the waterfall at the end of the trail and back in just under 12 hours. On top of that, the guy took the wrong trail at Hanakapi’ai and walked a mile up the valley before realizing his mistake, for a total of 24 miles. If you look around his website, you’ll see this guy is a peak bagger in California, and he did several other very impressive hikes the same week on Kauai—the guy is a hiking machine.

Update: Since this post is morphing into a list of resources for further information, it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the book and the map for going to Kalalau:

OnTheNaPaliCoastOn the Na Pali Coast: A Guide for Hikers and Boaters, by Kathy Valier. I borrowed this book from the Kapaa library a while ago (H 796.51 V, in the Hawaiiana section), and I remember it being very thorough. It does favor kayaking over hiking in the amount of details, but that just made me want to kayak the Na Pali coast someday.


Northwestern Kauai Recreation Map, by Earthwalk Press, available in a weather-proof plastic edition. You don’t need a topo map to hike to Kalalau, but if you’re like me and you love maps , this is the one to take. It’s a topo map printed on a plastic sheet that covers Na Pali, Kokee and upper Waimea Canyon. It also has an enlarged map and accurate description of the Kalalau trail on the back.

You can buy the books through Amazon with the links above (or on my bookstore page) and support my blog. If you’re on Kaua’i, you can buy both from Kayak Kauai in Hanalei and support an island business (I’m not affiliated with them).

Printed from: http://great-hikes.com/blog/kalalau-trip-reports/.
© 2024.

1 Comment   »

  1. Hopefully, you can link my Kaua’i trip report with photos, includes description of hiking part of the fantastic trail!

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