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Kalalau Trail to Kalalau Beach
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mini location map2016-10-16
55 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Kalalau Trail to Kalalau BeachKauai, HI
Kauai, HI
Backpack avatar Oct 16 2016
Backpack28.26 Miles 7,644 AEG
Backpack28.26 Miles3 Days         
7,644 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
This trip started with Chumley saying one of his friends was getting married in Hawaii and was then spending a few days backpacking the Kalalau Trail. We were all invited for the backpacking portion. The weeks and months flew by and Chumley procrastinated on buying the airfare to Kauai. I wasn’t sure if we were actually going two weeks beforehand but then Chumley finally came through and bought the plane tickets. This will be my first backpacking trip I’m flying to so that presented a new challenge on how to pack and other logistics.

We flew out of Phoenix on Saturday afternoon and had a direct flight to Kauai that lasted about six hours. We landed and picked up our rental car and made it to Ace Hardware right before they closed and bought fuel. From there it was over to Safeway for food and then on to our hostel at the Kauai Beach House Hostel. The time change was three hours back and I was sleeping by 10pm.

Our first full day started fairly early as I woke up around 5am and watched the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. The three of us started slow as we packed up and then started the hour drive to the north side of the island stopping for some breakfast along the way. We started hiking around 8:45am and headed up the Kalalau Trail. There were quite a few people on the first two miles as the trail makes a moderate climb. We eventually dropped down to Hanakapi’ai Beach and took a break at this wonderful beach. Most of the day hikers hike up Hanakapi’ai Falls but we don’t have the time.

After our break we made the solid climb up the trail and continued our traverse as a light rain fell. We kept at it and took a lunch break at mile 6 which features a camp, stream and nasty toilet. From there it’s easy going for a mile until the ledges. The trail wraps around the cliff edge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The drop will kill you and every step counts. I felt it was more challenging going this way because some of it was downhill on a steep and loose trail. I was glad when we finally got away from the cliff edge and made the final descent to Kalalau Beach. Right before hitting the beach we ran into Jane and Luke and their friends. We selected a prime campsite right at the start of the camping area. We spent the rest of the day exploring the beach and admiring sunset. This place is just spectacular and all of us were in heaven! It was a great first day!

Day two started very slow for us. Our group of eight took our time in camp as we ate breakfast and discussed the options for the day. We would day hike up canyon and explore some pools. The going was fairly easy as we gained elevation and eventually hit the deep pools where we spent an hour swimming and relaxing. It’s a beautiful day and life was good. Afterward we headed back down canyon and checked out the Community Garden the locals maintain. It’s in amazing condition with irrigation and several composting piles. The locals won’t go hungry! The rest of our day was spent relaxing in camp and exploring the beach and the caves on the far west side. I heard scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean have been shot here. This is such a magical place it’s perfect for the movies!

Jane and Luke and company woke very early on Day three. They wanted to get an early start for the hike out. Chumley, Claire and myself started over an hour after them. The first few miles make a solid climb and then the ledges were up next. We took our time as we carefully worked our way across. I found them to be much easier on the hike out because there wasn’t as much downhill. We also had ideal conditions as it was sunny and dry at the moment. Once through we all took another break at the six mile camp. From there it was a grind back to the two mile mark at Hanakapi’ai Beach where we caught up with the rest of our group. The last two miles were very wet & muddy as it rained almost the entire time. I was very glad to arrive back to the rental car and the end this trip. Our plan was to head back to the hostel and then more hiking later in the week.

The Kalalau Trail is just spectacular! The views are epic right from the start and the trail is a modern marvel. There are long stretches where you’re right on the cliff edge but don’t notice due to all the vegetation. The exposed cliffs are a rush but aren’t too bad if you take your time and keep a cool head. Besides that the rest of the group was a lot of fun and I’m glad we got to be a small part in Jane & Luke’s honeymoon. Thanks Chumley for putting this together and I look forward to a trip to the Big Island maybe next year!!!
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