In Search Of Special Tropical Hikes: Na Pali Coast, Hawaii

Wherever we go, we hike. And Hawaii is such a special place to do so! The views, the tropical plants we’ve never seen before, those incredible shades of green and turquoise, and those waterfalls hidden in the lush green valleys. And let me not forget to mention Kauai chicken either. That can be seen even in the middle of the jungle.

This hike is world famous for a reason!

Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai, Hawaii

We hiked in different parts of Kauai during the 10 days of our stay. Though it’s hard to decide which hike is our favorite, it’s still obvious: Kalalau Trail along Na Pali Coast. Because of Na Pali Coast!

On this trail there are not only special vista points, beaches or waterfalls that impressed us, but almost every step took our breath away. Na Pali Coast with its towering sea cliffs, narrow valleys, turquoise bays and enormous waterfalls is probably among the most beautiful coastlines in the whole world. Every step of this hike reminded us of this fact.

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Because of its unique beauties, Kalalau Trail is the most popular in Kauai. It’s a truly busy trail, you can expect to be always surrounded by other hikers. At least, it’s very hard to get lost.

Day hike? It could be!

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Hiking Kalalau Trail all the way requires multiple days, we only did a one day section of it.

It starts at Ke’e Beach and the first 2 miles of the hike is along the coastline on Kalalau Trail. Then we reached Hanakapi’ai Beach and headed into the valley on Hanakapi’ai Trail. After another 2 miles we reached our final destination: the enormous Hanakapi’ai Falls (300 feet/91 m).

Hanakapi’ai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

This 8 miles altogether took us 8 hours, but we spent an hour enjoying Hanakapi’ai Beach and another hour at Hanakapi’ai Falls.

Be careful where to swim

Hanakapi’ai Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanakapi’ai Beach is usually dangerous to swim so you better just admire its beauty. But you can swim in the pool of Hanakapi’ai Falls if you want – I warn you, it’s damn cold.

Ke’e Beach at the trailhead is an ideal place to swim. We did it after the hike, and we were also rewarded with a beautiful sunset view of Na Pali’s huge cliffs.

Ke’e Beach at Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Mud is fun!

Expect to be muddy if you decide to do this hike. If you are already prepared that you will be dirty from head to toe, then there’s nothing to worry about, you can actually enjoy the mud. But be careful, it makes the trail quite slippery sometimes.

Hanakapi’ai Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

Do you have a favorite tropical hike?


Hiking Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii

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By Beata Urmos

Bea is the co-founder of Our Wanders. She’s the writer and the trip organizer, and she’d love to help you plan your own amazing trips! She likes hiking, good novels and chocolate, as well. Her motto is: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd)


  1. How beautiful. I have always wanted to go there myself. My feet are itchy now 🙂 because the hiker inside of me wants to go hiking there really bad

    1. It’s a very unique mixture of a tropical beach dream and a jungle hike! One of our favorite hikes in the world (not that we’ve seen enough yet, haha) and our pics make us want to go back, too!

  2. Eek! Heading to Kauai in a little over a month! I read your post last year when I was in the planning phases. Now I have my own blog and know how important it is to tell the blogger how useful their content is. So…thanks! 🙂

  3. We are traveling to Kauai next month but with a 5 month old baby girl! Can we make this hike with her?!?! Just to the Falls??? Thanks ahead of time for the advice!!

    1. Hi Liz, It’s really hard to answer your question. It’s like judging whether a hike is easy or hard – it’s quite relative. What we can tell is that there’s a stream to cross on the way and that can be slippery (we took off our hiking boots and crossed it barefoot), and parts of the trail was slippery, too, because it was very muddy. We don’t remember anything else that can be challenging. It’s a tiring, but rewarding trail.

      But we don’t know how often you hike or whether you already hiked with your baby. We hope that these facts will help you make your decision. Enjoy your trip!

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