Hike 11 Miles To Enjoy Na Pali Coast In Hawaii

Posted On January 7, 2010 

The Na Pali Coast is a small part of the once shield volcano that is said to have risen more than 5 miles from the sea floor to the summit. Like the other islands of Hawaii, the Island of Kauai was originally a plume of magma, called a hot spot. When the volcanic fires cooled down, the island shifted due to tectonic movements and water cooled down. Rains in parts of Na Pali created deep valleys and waterfalls over the precipices. The strong and giant winter waves that exploded against the basalt cliffs created unstable slopes.

Na Pali that we have today with its sinks of valleys, fluted walls, and the sharp ridges is a consequence of these tectonic activities.

Na Pali Coast In Hawaii

Where is it

Napali Coast is the name given to the 15 miles of mountainous shore lines on the northwest of Kauai Islands in Hawaii. Napali, in Hawaiian means the Cliffs. Standing true to its name, much of Na Pali Coast is inaccessible, thanks to its sheer cliffs that drop 1000 feet down straight into the Pacific Ocean. They in fact rise up 4000 feet high from the Ocean.

The coast is along the 11 miles Kalalu trail. Kauai is the oldest of the inhabited Islands of the Hawaii.

The Na Pali Coast starts from Keue Beach and extends southwards to the Polihale State Park.

When to make a trip Na Pali Coast

If you are planning a trip to the Na Pali coast, summer is the best time as then you can easily access the place via boat. In winters, the excursions depend on the conditions prevailing in the ocean.

Summer is the best time to visit the Na Pali Coast via boat, as sea conditions are generally milder. During the winter months, excursions are held as ocean conditions allow.

How to reach

There is no way in which in you can access the Na Pali Coast. The best way to tour the coast is by boat or by helicopters. The only access by land is provided by the 11 miles (18 kilometers) long Kalalau trail that you need to hike.

In summers, the calm Ocean lets you reach the coast by kayaking, though there are sailing catamarans and rigid hull rafts available through out the year for a trip to the coast.

The main airport at The Kauai Island is the Lihue Airport. There are several airlines offering direct services to the airport at The Kauai Island. You could also fly to the Honolulu International Airport that’s at Oahu and then move ahead to the Kauai Island and further on to the Na Pali Coast.

The Honolulu International Airport at Oahu is served by major airlines from all over the world like the American Airlines, China Airlines, Air Canada, and Air New Zealand. Air Pacific, Continental, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Air, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Northwest Airlines, Philippines Airlines and Qantas among others.

In the Kauai Island, there are shuttle or tour buses to take you around. You could also rent a car to make a trip around the island as per your convenience.

What to do at Na Pali Coast

Kalalau BeachThere is plenty to do to enjoy your trip of the Na Pali Coast. While you can go for boating or kayaking or take a tour of the coast by a helicopter, the best way to experience your presence at the coast is by taking the only road route, that is hiking through the 11 miles Kalalau Trail, while passing by 5 major valleys and many minor ones and then reaching the Kalalau Beach that is at the base of the Kalalau Valley. This challenging and adventurous hiking trail starts from the Ke`e Beach. There are several ways to hike this trail and you could do in breaks, while enjoying each piece at leisure. The section from the Ke`e Beach to Hanakapi’ai, a luxuriant river valley is a favourite among the hikers. You can take a roundtrip to a waterfall, that makes for an 8 mile hike or hike 4 miles round trip to the Hanakapi’ai Beach. Both the routes have equally breath taking views to feast your eyes with. However, you can view the beach only in summers and you really need to be alert with no lifeguards around. If you want to hike beyond the river valley of Hanakapi’ai, you need a state permit. Beyond this valley, the trail goes on to Hanakoa Valley and further to finally end at the Kalalau Valley.

Other activities that you should take up on your tour to the Na Pali Coast apart from hiking is sailing and rafting. These are in fact activities that you must do to romance the Na Pali Coast in the true sense of the word.

Kalalau ValleyThe air view of the Na Pali Coast is mesmerizing as well, and what you look over from your helicopter is the Na Pali Coast State Park spread over about 25 square kilo meters of land. This state park was formed to protect the Valley of Kalalau.

The entire Reserve includes the panoramic Na Pali coast, the word famous 11 miles Kalalau Trail, continues rising to the south with the highest point of the Reserve being Pihea that stands 4,284 feet above the Pacific Ocean, parts of the Hanakapiai stream and the Hanakoa stream and the whole of Waiahuakua stream, to the southern boundary that is the south side of the Alakai Swam Trail.

The Na Pali coast, with its valleys and cliffs and the hiking trail is one of the most spectacular and pristine coastlines of the Hawaii Island and of the world as well.

The fact that it is remote and difficult to access make the Na Pali coast all the more coveted and one of the favourite destinations of adventure tourists. Not to mention, the Na Pali Coast definitely is poised as any nature photographer’s delight.

If you have made up your mind to greet the Na Pali coast on your next trip, all you need to do is pack your bags with hiking shoes, sun screen, insect repellent, camera, food and plenty of water and consult a hiking guide who will make your camping tour here just a little more convenient and help you explore more safely.

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