This is one of the most famous hikes in the world and I’m so glad we made it there and back safely.
Crossing the infamous sea cliffs was the scariest moment of my life, to date.
That being said, the Na Pali Coast is hands down the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, and hence making every bit of the hike so worth it.

crossing cliff

I thought about it this past weekend since it would be a great time to secure some permits before they’re all gone.
It’s been about six months since I’ve done the hike, but I still remember every bit of it.
Since we were only able to get permits for one day, we were on a tight schedule: 1 day to Kalalau, camp, 1 day to hike back.

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I thought we would have ample time since we did Half Dome in one day and that hike was about 22 miles.
On top of that, I didn’t quite understand why 3-4 days was necessary to do the hike.
Don’t get me wrong, Kalalau was no walk in the park.
It was significantly more difficult than Half Dome.
I was right to some extent about the timing since we managed to complete the hike in two days, explore Kalalau Beach and enjoy the sunset.

Growing up on Oahu, I’ve seen many beautiful beaches.
But the Na Pali Coast was GORGEOUS to a whole new level, and unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to truly enjoy all the beauty.
Untouched, not littered, prehistoric, and so beautiful.

As we got closer and closer to Kalalau Beach, all I could think of was I wish we had another couple days here.

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Packing.

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It’s crucial to pack light.
Even though it didn’t rain, there were many parts that were slippery and eroded.
I also had the Camelbak Water filter so my water didn’t taste like the tablets.

hike back

Kalalau was full of bugs and since I’m every bug what the cluck highland park nj‘s favorite person, this was a must.
The drive from Princeville took much longer than we expected.
When we arrived at the trail parking, we were happy to see plenty parking spots.
The trail begins at Ke’e Beach at Haena State Park.
We started the trail at about 6:45am and reached Kalalau beach almost 7 hours later, before 2pm.

I would say one of those hours was spent crossing the sea cliff.
We probably could have done the hike in 6 hours, if we didn’t ice bath for so long at the stream, but that felt too great not to do.
You don’t have to hike very far to start seeing beautiful views of Ke’e Beach and a glimpse of the majestic Na Pali coast.

The trail is easy to follow and no problem in the dark with a headlamp.
The trail is very well maintained and heavily used.
In fact, it can easily be done in slippers and trust me you’ll want to wear them especially on the way back.
The hardest part is crossing the stream to continue the hike.
The next four miles will take you to the Hanakoa stream crossing.

The hike became slightly more strenuous and the trail narrowed.
We hiked through a series of switchbacks, up and downhill, and inland towards the stream.
Just when we began to think the hike is getting long, we were rewarded with a peak of the gorgeous Na Pali coast.

Once you reach Hanakoa, there are campsites and bathrooms.

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There were also fresh mountain apples and guava trees.
Yummm! A lot of people stop here and camp for one night.
After the 6-mile mark, the hike became significantly more difficult as we began our journey to the infamous Na Pali cliffs.

That being said, the panoramic views of the coast became more and more breathtaking.
If you’re scared of heights, you’re not going to like mile 6.5 – 8.

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Crossing the cliff was hands down the scariest thing I’ve done to date.
You are literally on the edge and the drop off to the ocean is severe.
So every step we took, we slid a little bit.

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Scary.

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So wish we had hiking poles.
Oh yeah, while I was worried for my life, there were mountain goats running up and down.
Don’t worry though, the way back was significantly easier.
Some people like my dad and brother, didn’t even notice crossing the cliff.

It’s a great photo, showing how narrow the cliff is.
Unfortunately, I have no photos like this since I was scared out of my mind.
I guess from this photo it looks like you have tons of space though it didn’t feel that way.

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Going downhill after crossing the sea cliffs was tough, and again, eroded.
Afterwards, we continued on the narrow open trail towards another series of switchbacks and more stream crossings.
So good, that this part of the hike went by quickly and in no time, we were at the gym squat workout Kalalau trail sign.

After the sign, we hiked down Pu’ukulua (Red Hill) towards Kalalau stream.
While descending we were rewarded with the most stunning, gorgeous views of Kalalau.
This was the last big fresh waterfall and a perfect place to take an ice bath.

Regardless we stripped down, took off our shoes, refilled our water, ate, and hung out for a bit.
After the stream, we hiked downhill to get to sea level and of course, Kalalau Beach.
You can keep walking towards the end of the beach (probably another mile) and see the sea caves.

These sea caves were so much better than the ones off of the highway.
Since a lot of the prime campsites on the beach were taken, we decided to camp near the stream.
This would also cut down another 1-2 miles for the hike back.
Our plan was to start the hike back at 6am the next day.
Oddly enough, the cliffs weren’t so bad going back, nor was the hike from Kalalau to Hanakoa.

Instead the hike from the cliffs to Hanakapi’ai felt like forever and hence no pictures of this during the day.
Once we reached Hanakapi’ai, I took of my hiking shoes, picked up the speed, and completed the rest of the hike in slippers.
My legs no longer felt like jello, my feet no longer sore, and the remainder of the hike was a breeze.
No one got injured (not even a cut!), no rain, good trail conditions, no heavy streams to cross, and not too hot.

However, if I did it again, here’s my Kalalau hike advice.
The Na Pali coast will probably be one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen and trust me, you’ll want to have time to soak in all the beauty.
Bring a bathing suit if you want to swim at Kalalau.
The parking lot will fill up and it’s one road to the trail so traffic can get pretty bad.

We started around 6:30 and I thought that was too late.
If I were to do the whole thing again, I would aim for 4:30 or 5am.
It’ll help with the erosion and crossfit yagan for me, I can imagine, mentally.
On the way back you can face towards the wall so it’s not as scary, but on the way way there, it’s wide open.
So I would highly recommend getting them now for the summer.

That being said we didn’t get our permits checked.
The Na Pali coast extends way past the hike and the only way to see the rest of it is by boat.
In summary, the Kalalau trail is basically hike down to a valley, cross a stream, hike up out of the valley, contour around a cliff, and repeat for the next valley until you’ve done 11 miles of it.
Also during the hike, you have the option to hike to multiple waterfalls further in the valley.

Literally, mid-way through I went and searched flights and permits for this summer.
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I don’t know why I did not blog about this earlier, but this is my home gym! One of my.

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My hobbies include CrossFit, ashtanga yoga, hiking, and eating.