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A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE STUNNING HANAKAPIAI FALLS TRAIL IN HAWAII

THE BEST TRAIL IN HAWAII IS THE HANAKAPIAI TRAIL, THAT WILL REWARD YOU WITH A DREAM WITH A SWIM ON A DREAM WATERFALL AND INCREDIBLE VIEWS

Hawaii has many options to get lost in the diverse nature wonders like tropical forests, volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches of different colors, so this hiking adventure will make you fall in love for the nature wonder of Kauai island. In the next paragraphs, you will learn why its such a great hike and how to make it one of your best experiences in Hawaii.

The Hanakapiai falls are 200 meters high and they are the highest waterfalls accessible by foot in Kauai island. Only this reason alone made me wishing to start the trail! In total you have around 6.5km (4 miles) to hike, through first a steep climb and then you reach after 1h30m a small beach, where the waterfall river flows into the Pacific Ocean. This part isn’t that long but its just tiring as you start at the Haena Beach Park area and then you start going directly uphill.

The best is that you will have terrific views of Na Pali coast, known for having the World’s largest sea cliffs at unthinkable 1,000 meters and more high (I will have a post on how to see them best and other lookout areas) . The trail can be a little slippery here so make sure you don’t walk too much on the trail edges and pay attention to not slide on the path rocks. Its a relatively open area with some trees but mostly on the open, so do put a lot of sun screen protection before and also mosquito protection spray.

After you reach the Hanakapiai beach after around 1h30 minutes , it’s time to take a break and contemplate the beautiful area and valley that heads to the Falls. It’s an incredible reward to a still long hike . From here the path becomes flatter but still it’s very tough often unmarked terrain.

After one hour, you will have a 1st glimpse of the Falls, like a beacon standing 200 meters high in the distance. For sure the last minutes to get there were full of adrenaline, sneaking through the trees and bushes, crossing the stream several times… that’s why I had come here! So rushing through like I just had started was the best feeling, Then there it was , the beautiful waterfall pool with it’s pouring water way up high! It was magical to see it! And I did it in 1h, so that shows how full of energy I was!

It wasn’t busy at all there, I guess not many do the trail even if tends to be known ! So I could enjoy a great swim, stretch on the nearby rocks and have some food I brought! Then it was time to start the return trail , that was to be at a slower pace but yet not resting too much as I still wanted to get to the beach shortly after lunch time! At the end it was tough, tiring but so worth it!!

TRAVEL TRIPS FOR THE BEST HIKING EXPERIENCE IN KAUAI:

  • Don’t rush it – there is plenty to see, photograph and the waterfall is perfect to have a swim and relax
  • There are some markers but to be sure always follow the footsteps of others or the smashed fruits to show that you are on the right path
  • Join with others if you want company and ensure that it’s not so lonely, even if might be nice to make your own rythm
  • Reward yourself at the end of he hike with a few hours sunbathing and having a swim at Kee Beach or Tunnels Beach
  • Take at least 2 BIG bottles of water and something to eat along the way (chocolate will melt but fruit or energy bars would do the trick)
  • Take a towel with you to dry you up along the way
  • Use only trekking shoes when doing this, that should be waterproof and quick drying, don’t do it with sneakers or sandals
  • The whole Kalalau Trail actually takes 3 to 5 days and leads you through the Na Pali Coast in a rough and often slippery terrain , across 18km of pure nature. You need a permit to make this trail too. The other way to see Na Pali is by boat or helicopter only.

If you have any other questions , please let me know!

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theinsidetraveller View All

My name is Renato Azambujo. I live currently in Hamburg, but was born and raised in sunny capital of Portugal, Lisbon. I also lived in Switzerland for some years, before settling in Germany for the last years.

I am huge passionate about travel, photographer and a global explorer, always looking to the next destination.

I have so far visited over 70 countries across the 5 continents, because I really love knowing about new places, interact with different cultures and get to know myself better after each journey.

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