This particular hike took place on the Kalalau Trail. Not only is this one of the most beautiful hikes we’ve taken, but it was also the most memorable for one of our E&S team members. Dangerous, infamous, strenuous, and unforgettable, this hike is worth the effort.
The infamous Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai is not for the faint of heart. Those who prefer an easy hike with gorgeous views of the coastline are best suited to stop at the beach found at the 2-mile mark. There you will find beautiful coves and caves with crystal clear waters. Should you choose to continue on, we highly suggest not leaping across the Hanakoa stream on the rocks to continue down the trail. You may break your wrist as our fellow E&S members learned. Many others have met a similar fate on the trail; even Outside Magazine listed it as one of the 20 most dangerous trails in the world. Would that stop you from moving on? It didn’t stop us! After putting our Girl Scout skills to work, a little bamboo and a t-shirt serve as a great cast to continue on the next 4 miles to the Hanakoa Falls!
After the falls, the trail does continue on for several more miles to more secluded beaches. The rest of the trek is meant for experts, and it will take multiple days… and since we already experienced an injury, we thought it best to trek back down the coastline and hope we could find our rental car. Beware, this hike was so exhausting we ended up skipping the hospital and went the next day to get casted. We can attest that even after 6 weeks in a cast, it was so incredibly worth it.
We mentioned that this trail is dangerous, but how dangerous is it? This trail is responsible for countless deaths over the years. Injuries and death have mainly been attributed to weather conditions. When the stream floods, it becomes unpassable and frequently traps hikers on the trail, forcing them to be rescued by emergency crews. There have also been reports of hikers being attacked by others on the trail. In fact, the Hollywood thriller, Perfect Getaway, chronicles a couple on their honeymoon who encounter a murderous duo along the Kalalau Trail. We don’t suggest watching the film before you experience the trail for yourself, we’d hate for you to be scared away from this experience!
Although we made several terrible judgment calls, it was still an experience we will never regret. We did learn several lessons though; rocks in streams are covered in slippery moss, falling in water with all your supplies in a flimsy pack will irreparably damage your phone, bamboo makes a decent splint, you may contemplate throwing yourself off a cliff if you’re unprepared, and never start a 9 mile hike without plenty of water. The video shows the amazing views you can encounter on the trail, along with the beautiful Hanakoa Falls. If you want to test your hiking abilities, this is an amazing and unforgettable trail to do it on.