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 – Kaptin Kananskis