How Long To Hike Kalalau Trail In Kauai, Hawaii

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Kalalau is a beautiful beach In Kauai, Hawaii, and many people like to explore the beach and surrounding area. The Kalalau Trail is located in Haena State Park. As many as 6 000 native Hawaiians used to live near the Kalalau beach, adding to the historical value of this trip. How long does it take one to hike the Kalalau Trail?

The Kalalau Trail is a 22-mile roundtrip and usually takes two or three days to complete. There are many stunning places to explore on the Kalalau Trail, and therefore most hikers make a multi-day trip. There are many dangers on the Kalalau Trail, but it remains Kauai’s most popular hiking trail.

The Kalalau Trail is rated as difficult. You must have a permit to hike past Hanakoa junction on the Kalalau Trail. In addition, there are a few dangerous spots on this trail. We will discuss the route, the dangers of the Kalalau Trail, and what attractions you should see close to Kalalau Beach when hiking the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii.

How Long Is The Kalalau Trail Hike In Kauai, Hawaii?

The Kalalau Trail is likely the most popular hiking trail in Kauai. You can do several shorter versions of this trail within a single day. However, to make the roundtrip, from Haena Beach to Kalalau Beach and back, is a 22–mile trek. Most hikers complete the Kalalau Trail over the course of three days. This trail is strenuous, and there are some dangerous parts where hiking experience is required.

You must obtain a permit to hike past mile 6 on the Kalalau Trail. This point is known as the Hanakoa junction. If you don’t have a permit, you will have to turn around at this point. Permits can be reserved on the Hawaii camping reservation system.

Many hikers camp at Haena Beach the night before starting the Kalalau Trail Hike. By doing so, you can get an early start and reach Kalalau Beach before nightfall. On the first day of hiking, you will pass many waterfalls and have beautiful views of the Na’Pali coast.

You must cross the Hanakapi’ai Stream on the first day. This is a hazardous crossing, especially after flash floods, and many people have died crossing this stream. However, you can take an offshoot to see the Hankapi’ai waterfalls once you have crossed. This offshoot is a four-mile roundtrip, but worth it if you have the time.

After hiking for eleven miles, you will reach Kalalau Beach. There are campsites where you can sleep for the night. You can get water from a nearby waterfall and sandpit toilets. Unfortunately, there are no shower facilities.

On the second day of the hike, you can explore some of the many attractions around Kalalau beach, such as the Hanakapi’ai waterfalls, the Hanakoa Falls, and the Kalalau Valley Trail. Each of these offshoots has unique waterfalls and swimming spots. They are all worth exploring if you have the time.

On the final day of the Kalalau Trail, you can head back the way you came to finish the hike at Ka’a Beach in Haena State Park. Kalalau Trail has some of the best views and waterfalls in all of Hawaii and is undoubtedly worth a visit if you are in the area.

What Are The Dangers Of The Kalalau Trail In Kauai, Hawaii?

As mentioned, there are some dangers when hiking the Kalalau Trail. Therefore, this trail is not suitable for inexperienced hikers or children. You are also not allowed to take pets on this hike for safety reasons.

The first dangerous part of the Kalalau hike is at the Hanakapi’ai Stream crossing. After flash floods, the water in this stream is deep and strong. It can easily pull you under, and many people have died crossing this stream. If the water is deeper than waist-high, don’t cross the stream. Rather wait for the waters to calm down before crossing.

You are also advised not to swim at Hanakapi’ai Beach. There are strong currents and a stronger undertow at this beach, and people have drowned while swimming at Hanakapi’ai Beach.

Furthermore, don’t walk on the lava boulders if they are wet. On either side of the Hanakapi’ai Beach, there are large lava boulders. The waves cover these boulders during high tide and are strong enough to pull you off them. You could get seriously injured or even drown if this happens.

Another dangerous section of the Kalalau Trail is crossing the Crawlers’ ledge. This ledge was so named as many people who fear heights cross it by crawling over it. Crossing the Crawlers’ ledge can be tricky on a windy day, especially with a heavy backpack. Take it slow and be sure of your balance when crossing the ledge.

Despite the dangers of hiking the Kalalau Trail, many people still enjoy hiking this trail each year. With proper preparation and caution, you should be able to safely complete Kalalau Trail and have some fantastic pictures to show for it.

How To Prepare For The Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii

There are many things to prepare before hiking the Kalalau Trail in Kauai. The list might seem endless and overwhelming. Therefore, we have created a list of what you need to have prepared for hiking the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii:

  • Get your paperwork sorted out. Before hiking, the first thing you should do is get your permits for the hike. You should apply in advance for the permits to hike the Kalalau Trail. Without the permits, you will not be allowed to hike the trail or leave your car in the parking lot overnight.
  • Ensure you are fit enough for the hike. The Kalalau Trail is not an easy hike and requires a good fitness level. Therefore, you must train before hiking this trail and practice safe water crossings.
  • Pack your gear beforehand. Packing all your gear before starting the trail is essential. It will not only help you ensure that you have everything you need, but it will also indicate how heavy your backpack will be.
  • Get the emergency numbers. You should save the park’s emergency numbers and keep them with you while hiking. Depending on when you go, the Kalalau Trail can be very isolated. Therefore, you must be able to contact for help in case of an emergency.
  • Pack water purification tablets. The water you can get from the waterfall at Kalalau Beach might contain harmful bacteria. Therefore, you must purify any water you get along the trail.
  • Take a map of the trail. Although the Kalalau Trail is clearly marked, it is always best to have a map of the route at hand in case you get lost.


The Kalalau Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Kauai, Hawaii. This 22- mile long out and back trail is usually done over the course of two or three days. There are many areas to explore around Kalalau beach. You are required to have a permit for this hike. There are dangerous sections on this trail, so it is unsuitable for inexperienced hikers.