Breathtaking in size, grandeur and awe-inspiring beauty, the dramatic pinnacles of the Napali Coast State Park are arguably one of the most spectacular sights to behold on Kauai. Stretching for around 26 kilometres along the pristine coast and punctuated with elegant waterfalls and secluded beaches, the hardest part is deciding which way to experience it all.
To hike it, see it by boat, kayak or even by helicopter – that is the question, as all are very enticing options. Hiking the Napali Coast State Park is via the 35-kilometre (round trip) Kalalau Trail, which traverses five stunning valleys. The difficult terrain makes it an adventure reserved only for the most seasoned hikers, and camping permits must be arranged in advance. Day hikers are however welcome to complete the first 3 kilometres of the trail from Ha’ena State Park to Hanakapi’ai Beach without a permit.
Basking in the views from the vantage point of the Pacific Ocean is also a magnificent (and popular) way to experience the rugged landscapes of the Napali coastline. From snorkelling boat tours to a sunset experience aboard a catamaran, or guided kayaking adventures that will take you paddling through Napali’s magical sea caves and beyond – whichever adventure you choose is sure to provide you with one of the most memorable experiences of your life. However, opting to explore Napali by water affords you the opportunity to get up close and personal with the coast’s abundant marine life from sea turtles to reef fish, dolphins and more.
Napali Coast State Wilderness Park is situated on the northwest coast of Hawaii’s Kauai island. The starting point for the Kalalau Trail is accessed via the coastal Kuhio Highway, which begins in Lihue on the island’s southwest corner. Alternatively, you can access this all-natural wonderland by joining an organised boat, kayak or air tour.