The idea came up for some of our friends to do a Hawaiian vacation and some people were gravitating towards Kauai as the island destination. The group also had a desire to make it somewhat adventurous to earn their time in the sun and not just have it be a pampered tropical holiday. So, this led us toward doing the world-famous Kalalau Trail. Interestingly enough, I had never heard of it so I went searching on the Internet and through our Hawaii books to learn more.
The Kalalau Trail is on the famous Na Pali north coast of Kauai. This coast is famous because multiple popular movies were shot here over the years. These include classic movies like “South Pacific” in 1958 to “The Perfect Getaway” in more recent years. Backpacking and hiking aficionados have also likened the Kalalau Trail to the Inca Trail going to Machu Picchu or the trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
So, we started researching the topic to get a solid understanding and be well prepared. Day hikers more heavily travel the first two better-maintained miles of the trail. This leads to a beach that is the typical turnaround point for most of them. The rest of the full eleven-mile trail is relatively less traveled and in rougher shape and not a maintained trail you would expect to see in a typical US state or national park. After about mile six, you emerge from the forest and get into more dry and sunny terrain areas. This area also has a few stretches of the trail that are quite narrow (18” across) and of sheer cliff sides that fall off 200-300’ below into the ocean. This is not for the faint of heart or those that don’t like heights. You can find narratives online and even videos on YouTube about the infamous “Crawler’s Ledge” on this part of the trail.
Continue reading: Part Two – The Start of the Journey