The Kalalau Trail winds more than 11 miles through Kauai’s Napali Coast. Dense, muddy rainforest, rocky inclines, unpredictable weather and narrow paths along sheer cliffs has earned it the reputation of one of the most dangerous trails in the world. This trek is not for the faint-hearted, however enduring the difficult trip is well worth the effort.
The trail weaves its way between dense rainforest valleys and steep, rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean below. One particularly notorious stretch, Crawler’s Ledge, is no more than a foot-wide ledge of crumbly rock hundreds of feet above the rocky coast.
Hikers must cross three streams before arriving at Kalalau Beach. Due to frequent, unpredictable downpours, streams can quickly overflow and become impassable. It’s not uncommon for hikers to be stranded along the trail until flooded streams return to their normal levels. Hikers who are willing to make the effort are rewarded with beautiful views of one of the most dramatic coastlines in the world.
Update: Due to flooding in April 2018 and the ensuing landslides, access to the trail is now closed. The county is working on opening access again, but there is no ETA for when that will be.
Update as of June 2019: The trail is now reopened for visitors.
Know Before You Go
Limited day-parking is available at the trailhead, so arrive early, however, no overnight parking is available in Haena State Park. A shuttle runs from nearby Waipa and Princeville to the trailhead. Camping along the trail is allowed only with a permit. Sites are available at Kalalau Beach at the end of the trail or at about the halfway point in Hanakoa Valley.
You need to obtain a Trail Permit ahead of time. It's recommended to book well in advance since the trail is in high demand and permits may be unavailable for a few weeks ahead. The trail is often patrolled by the park ranges, so keep your permit with you.