On the Edge of the Kalalau Trail

By: Smith Schwartz |


OMG- we can’t stop hiking! I have to say, this is a pretty fantastic addition to our travel repitoire. We’ve never really done lots of hiking before, mostly because I refused to buy the proper footwear. This time, we made sure to stock up on ultra-dorky hiking sandals before heading out to Hawaii. And seriously, it was the best decision.

The Kalalau Trail is one of Kauai’s most famous hikes. You take the road (yeah, there’s pretty much one road, it makes a backwards “C” shape around the island) all the way to the northern most tip and then you just start walking. This is the only way to access the Na Pali coast by land. It’s an unresortified glimpse of Hawaii’s ancient past and one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world.


And here’s my trying to catch mine. With quick changes in elevation, rocky terrain and trails that teeter on the side of cliffs and barrel through unshallow rivers, this trail is for real. This is not hyperbole.


But it is worth it. After fighting through dense jungle, and slogging your way through muddy waters, you’ll pop out to staggering views like this.


Then, it’s time for lunch at the beach. (So long as you brought yours along with you.) One of the more unique beaches I’ve seen, Kalalau Beach not only makes my Andy Goldsworthy loving heart skip a beat with stacked stones, it’s also oddly overrun with spindly beach cats. With no natural predators, escaped domesticated animals run wild on this tiny island (ew).


Ke’e Beach is a great place to relax once you’ve finished the hike. But as you can see here, we still had a long way back down.