Moderate hiking level
Hanakapi’ai Beach Trail is the first portion of the famous Napali Coast in Kauai. The trail features the most stunning views of the ocean and coast. We performed this hike on the very last day of our honeymoon in about 3 hours. What we didn’t realize is that you must purchase access to Haena Park, and we snagged the last possible chance to get in before leaving the state. We reserved a spot via the shuttle option. Once we arrived, it was a very short walk to the start of the trail.
Hikers are greeted by boulders and spend the start of the hike with an immediate uphill climb. Once at the top of the mountain, it’s smooth sailing in terms of elevation differences. To get to the beach, you climb back down to the ocean-level to experience the beach. The toughest part was crossing a river right before the beach. You can walk right through the water or climb boulders to the other side. Bring water shoes if you can! It was raining and foggy, so we opted to turn around after the beach. Whereas we could have continued on to the waterfall (another two miles uphill). Note that I believe you need some kind of pass to continue on past the waterfall.
We enjoyed a little break at the ocean. It was gorgeous even with rainy weather. Apparently the ocean is super dangerous there though, so watch the waves from afar. If we ever go again, I’ll be sure to purchase access in advance and also not go on a rainy day. It got quite slippery. I would also opt to camp overnight on the trail to see more of the coast. Let me know if you go and what your hike is like!
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