Hanakapi’ai Falls – Hawai’i

July 2015

If hiking through a 5 million year old tropical rainforest on the most isolated islands on the planet for a cool refreshing dip in the plunge pool of the gentle 100 ft waterfall that plummets off the cliffs from the rainiest place on earth then go here!  Hanakapi’ai Falls.

On the island of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian Islands this trail is but one of countless trails to unimaginable vistas and unexplainable experiences of nature.  This trail uses the first two miles of the legendary Kalalau trail before branching off eastward up the Hanakapi’ai Valley to the falls.

Most people choose to do the hike in flip flops… having left their sensible footware on the mainland.  Injuries are everywhere, and sprains, fractures and emergency rescue are common.  If your from Kalalau then barefoot is the only way.

The beach is treacherous and visitors routinely perish in the rough surf and dangerous currents.  The tally board shows 83 (scroll down).  Don’t swim!  Instead splash around in the spring fresh water lagoon beside the cliff at the far south end of the beach.  Look for the giant ALOHA written in stones at the bottom.

This is no easy trail, 11 miles (round trip) with the temperature topping out at 34C with 90% humidity.  Dehydration is a huge hazard, bring plenty of water (two litre minimum and refill in the Hanakapi’ai Creek along the way, beware of Leptospirosis and treat your drinking water).  No snakes or large carnivores to worry about (Shaka!).

Start early to beat the heat and spend mid day swimming at the falls. Be at the Ke’e Beach parking lot by 7:30 AM or risk not getting a spot or worse, having to use the overflow parking.  You’ll smash your rental car for sure if you use this lot.  The valley gets dark fast so be on your way out well before sundown.

Aloha  –   Kaptain Kananaskis

.gpx track of Hanakapai’i Falls Hike for your GPS device (download here)

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Trail description at trailhead
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Kalalau Trail trailhead. The access trail to the Hanakapi’ai valley and falls.
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The trail leads into the jungle
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The plants are watching
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Red earth and bizarre trees line the path
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Views of the Napali Coast emerge as you follow the shoreline
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Orchids
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Vines
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KK and PK with this peaks of Koke’e beyond
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Warning to visitors and death toll…
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Peaks stand as tall as the Rockies covered in vegetation.
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A spring fed fresh water lagoon at Hanakapi’ai beach. Notice the ALOHA written in stones beneath the surface
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Kaua’i lava rocks
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ALOHA
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Trail sign at Hanakapi’ai Valley junction
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Peaks soar above the valley
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Sacred Ti Plants adorn the jungle. The Polynesians who first explored these valleys saw the great spiritual power of this plant.
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Kaua’i Fungi
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A bamboo forest begins up valley shortly after the Hanakapi’ai Valley Junction.
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Coffee Roaster Ruins! Coffee trees filled the understory along this valley.
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Tropical flowers
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Thick foliage
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Bananas/Plantains
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Hawaiian sun through the leaves
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Wild Ginger
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Peaks
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First glimse of Hanakapi’ai falls
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Invasive species from Brazil (name needed)
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Fungi (possibly Turkey Tail)
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Hanakapi’ai Falls and Pool
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Wind blows this waterfall around the plunge pool
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The falls
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Mystery nut we ate (we though it was a Macadamian!) Almost died.
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Wild ginger flowers
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A rainbow in Hanalei Valley on the drive home:)

 

hanakapiai 2 google eath track

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