This time last year, Dane, his brother and his dad were all headed over to Kauai for a weekend full of adventure – hiking The Nā Pali Coast. Why didn’t I go? That’s easy – I wasn’t in the best shape, I’m terrified of heights, it was a guy’s trip and someone had to watch the pups.
In any case, if you’ve never heard of The Nā Pali Coast, it’s a state park located on the northwest side of Kauai. So how do you get to said state park? You hike the Kalalau Trail. It’s an 11 mile hiking trail that crosses streams, mountain sides, rocky cliffs, dirt paths and more, all while carrying everything you need (food, water, camping supplies) to make the trip. Doesn’t this sound romantic and fun? Well, you end up on one of the most beautiful beaches so…yes, maybe.
Anyway, while Dane was reliving his hiking adventure to me, he said I should share some tips for hiking The Nā Pali Coast for anyone who might be considering it. It took Dane, his dad and his brother three days to hike out and back, camping along the way and stopping for photos/water/resting. For those who are considering conquering the Kalalau Trail, here are 10 Tips For Hiking The Nā Pali Coast straight from someone who did it!
1. First things first – you need a permit and you need to apply early for one, as they only grant a certain allotment of permits per week. Plenty of people do the hike without paying the fee. The fee helps maintain the trail and all the things the parks and recreation service does.
2. Don’t pack heavy- what you pack in you pack out.
3. There’s plenty of water sources on the trail (streams and waterfalls). You can refill at those, but invest in a good water filter. Dane used this one.
4. Food. Dane packed MREs (Meals Ready to Eat for any non-military folks out there), but there are lighter options/trail mix, etc.
5. Wear good boots. The trail was slick from rain on the most dangerous parts. Even with good boots, this trail is not easy and can be fatal. Dane told me that there were numerous places he looked down (off the side of the cliff) and saw backpacks, gear, etc. that had fallen and heard stories about accidents from fellow hikers. Eek!
6. Have a good hiking partner- don’t ever hike alone.
7. Plan for transportation to the start site and back. Dane hired a taxi to pick him up and drop us off) The lot near the trail isn’t secure and in rough shape. Not worth a rental car being broken in to while you’re on the trail. Some people hike down to the trail start.
8. Use your gear ahead of time, so you are familiar with it.
9. Know your own limits.
10. It’s best to hike earliest in the day before the sun gets too hot! There are certainly spots for shade at different areas along the trail, but there’s really no escaping the blazing heat.
Have you ever hiked The Nā Pali Coast? After seeing Dane and my father-in-law’s photos, I’m tempted to work up to this feat of a hike!