The 6175-acre natural wonder is best seen by foot, though glimpsing its majesty by helicopter or kayak surely won’t disappoint. Na Pali literally means cliffs. These seven sharp 4000-foot ridges, separated by narrow valleys, are the symbol of Kaua’i’s bounty. White water smashes into the cliffs, verdant trees hug waterfalls, and sea birds and animals are abundant. Streams, waterfalls, coffee and mango trees, and unequivocal views make this a hikers paradise (and probably the best hiking spot in all of Hawai’i).
There is no access to this area by car, so you must hike, boat or fly over the coast.
The main access point is the Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile steep trek along the Na Pali cliffs with stops at rocky beaches, waterfalls, and spectacular view spots. Access the trail at the edge of Ke’e Beach. Along the Kalalau Trail are turnoffs to waterfalls and beaches, including Hanakapiai Falls. This 300-foot waterfall was named after a chief who died in childbirth. If you make it here, do not swim under the falls as rocks and trees often fly over the falls without notice.
Note that this trail is not advisable soon after or during rain, when it is extremely slippery and steep. Please use caution when deciding to hike here. Make sure if you are hiking the Kalalau Trail, to start before 8am, to beat the crowds and the heat.
The culmination of the hike is the arrival on Kalalau Beach. Campers need a state park permit to even pass the two-mile marker of the trail. There are no services at this beach and (especially in winter) the water can be ruthless. Bring all your food and drinking water with you. And please remember to pack out all supplies.