Published: October 16th 2011October 12th 2011
The Hanakapi'ai Trail and Kalalau Trail originate at the end of the road on Kaua'i's north shore. There is a parking area to park your car but don't leave your car with valuables in it. Most people leave a window slightly opened to show the thief that nothing is left behind.
The Hanakapi'ai Valley is 3,2 kilometers in on the Kalalau Trail parting at the Hanakapi'ai Beach. The beach itself is inaccessible except for travelers on foot. The first 3,2 km to the beach is an astonishing path that leads the hiker to some amazing views over the north shore, and its cliffs of Kaua'i. It's not a particularly hard hike although it offers some resistance due to the ups and downs. Once at the beach a sign will greet you with the number of lives the waves and currents have taken. Even so you'll still find people in the water cooling off after a sunny hike. This is a natural resting area for those who intend to keep hiking, either to the Hanakapi'ai Falls or continue on the Kalalau Trail.
The second part of our hike to Hanakapi'ai Falls leads straight inland from the beach into the Hanakapi'ai
Valley. Hiking the trail you will cross the stream, originating from the falls, multiple times. Know that during heavy rain the crossings might be quite difficult and not always advisable. After about 3,5 km you will reach the falls which is a thing of beauty. The waterfall itself is straight ahead but with steep cliffs on both sides, leaving only the way you came opened. This is truly the end of the hike but an end worth experiencing . The water falls hundreds of meters into a large pool filled with cold water for the warm hiker to cool off in before hiking back. To the right of the pool forms a natural ledge which is an ideal spot to eat whatever you bring and soak in the beautiful overlook of the pool and waterfall.
It's best to start the hike early when the temperature is still manageable. The shortness of the hike makes it unnecessary to make camp but signs of campfires is around. Upon return the exhausted hiker can buy overpriced coconut drinks from one of the make-shift pickup-truck-selling-coconut-stands. They're good but costly.
There are more photos below