HANAKAāPāI‘AI FALLS ¯ ¯
Hanakäpï‘ai Falls is without a doubt the best day hike
on Kaua‘i. It offers both challenges and rewards to satisfy
any visitor’s dream of an authentic Hawaiian adventure.
This hike averages 4-miles round trip if starting at
Hanakäpï‘ai Beach and 8-miles round trip from Kë‘ë
Beach. This adventure is just the first leg of the world
famous Kalalau Trail, which twists and turns along the
mountainous Näpali Coast.
The fun all begins after journeying the first two
challenging miles of the Kalalau Trailhead and coming
to the Hanakäpï‘ai Valley on the Näpali Coast. From
here, the path becomes a strenuous journey inland, fit for
serious hikers. Beginning three-quarters of a mile in, the
trail passes through flowing streams. Hikers should be
warned to never attempt the trail in the rain as the streams
are prone to flash floods. The Hanakäpï‘ai Trail has
recently benefited from major improvements and is much
safer than it used to be. However, don’t underestimate
this steep, rocky and muddy course.
But there is more to this adventure than a physical
challenge—the views toward scenic Kë‘ë Beach and
down the misty Näpali Coast are unforgettable snapshots
you can only find here on Kaua‘i, visible only by foot.
Closer to the trail’s final destination, the path turns up
a narrow canyon heading toward the Hanakäpï‘ai Falls.
This part of the trail is less maintained but still easy to
find. The scenery feels like a real jungle adventure with
40-ft bamboo creeks and towering mango trees that
shade ancient Hawaiian terraces. All efforts are rewarded
as the sight of the Hanakäpï‘ai waterfall graces the path
before you as water crashes to a pool below, falling an
amazing 300-feet from pure, green cliffs. It’s Kaua‘i’s
most renown natural amphitheater. Hikers can shed their
hiking gear and enjoy a dip in the deep pool under the
falls to make the long hike worthwhile. Absorbing the
pristine Hanakäpï‘ai Falls is said to be an experience so
surreal, it’s hard to accurately describe in words—a true
testament to the natural beauty of Kaua‘i.
•Difficulty: Very Strenuous