Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Na Pali Coast in Kaua'i, Hawaii

I stole away for an afternoon on Kaua'i, Hawaii, to run/hike the 11-mile Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast this last week.  Although the trail was quite technical (often too technical or overgrown to run), it was a worthy adventure!

The Kalalau Trail is at the northern point of Kaua'i, about an hours drive from Lihue Airport, literally at the end of the highway. It's a popular tourist destination, so best to hit it as soon as the sun comes up. You can day hike up to six miles into the 11-mile trail, but need a permit to go farther (not that anyone was checking). 80% of the tourist traffic stops at mile 2, and all the naked fun starts at mile 6, so I found eight miles and back to be plenty.

(Shot from the Na Pali Coast from the air, photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

(The rugged coastline made for amazing views)
(The trail was quite rocky in some sections)
(There were a few runnable sections, like this one about 3 miles in)
(Vegetation was thick!)
(The 11-mile trail crossed over five valleys) 
(The beach at mile 2 had mysterious stone stacks everywhere)
(This spear stood above the highest point on the trail)
(The creeks were amazing!)
(The Hanakapi'ai Falls well worth the extra mile)
(I got no less than three invites to get naked and join the's a big thing out here)
(Hang on! It gets a little slick...)
All in all, it turned out to be a whole day effort. Don't rely on your GPS - mine came up about 50% short. I didn't quite make it to the end of the trail (ran out of food and water), but would definitely do it again!

- SD


  1. Thank you for sharing! All my family members love that island... even though they don't run... I do, and some day I hope to join them there and try that trail!

  2. Great shots, Scott... there's no place else quite like the Na Pali Coast, and as you said that's a TOUGH trail to run. Several years ago there used to be a group of feral kittens/cats that hung out at the beach along the way... do you know if they're still living there?

    1. Gosh, I didn't see any cats but only stayed for a few minutes. There would certainly be enough tourist traffic to keep them fed!

  3. Thanks for sharing this. Quick question. I want to run/hike this one day with my friends... One of them has mild vertigo and says he's worried he'll have to crawl some sections (based on stuff he read). I've said he's over-reacting. Curious as to your thoughts.


    1. I don't recall anything crawl-worthy. The trail is in good shape, and the only place you need a few hands is at the creek crossings. I think your friend would be fine.

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  6. Great recap. Quick question. Don't Rangers patrol the trails and cite people for nudity?


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