Located in the northwest of Kauai Island, Hawaii, Nāpali Coast State Park is known for its steep sea cliffs,
dotted by narrow valleys and cascading waterfalls. From Polihale State Park on the west to Ke’e Beach on the north shore, sea cliffs soar to great heights. Hence, the state park got its name, from the Hawaiian word ‘napali,’ meaning many cliffs.
The state park, one of the most stunning places on Earth, also contains ruins of ancient Hawaiian graves, temples, houses and terraced fields.
Even today, people from all over the world hike to Kalalau Valley, but they are only allowed to stay for five nights.
About NāPali Coast State Park
In 1983, the state park was formed to protect the Kalalau Valley and is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Since there was no physical evidence of the Hawaiian history, no written records of the population in the Na Pali before the western association are available. Historians believe that by the time western people migrated to the island, more than a thousand native flowering plant species were thriving. However, today, approximately more than 80% of Kauai’s rare native species are endangered.
In 2008, Backpacker Magazine listed this adventurous location (Kalalau trail) as one of America’s 10 Most Dangerous Hikes.
Attractions for the younger crowd
The reason this place is in the top 10 dangerous hikes is that the state park is quite steep and slippery in a lot of places. Especially during rains, the journey becomes difficult for the younger ones.
However, a lot of children-friendly sites and activities make up for the difficulty:
- Poʻipu Beach Park
- Na ʻAina Kai Botanical Gardens
- Kalapaki Beach Park
- Boat Tours
Tour sites around the state park
With no routes available for the on-road journey, one can access this coast only by hiking, helicopter rides, kayaking, and paddle-boarding. Charter tours are also available on inflatable boats, originating from Port Allen and Hanalei Bay.
Further, camping in Nā Pali Coast State Park is only allowed with a valid permit. Also, during the summer season, i.e., May 15 to September 7, access from the ocean is only permitted with a valid license for camping.
Irrespective of the restrictions, the Na Pali side of the island of Kauai is home to many scenic beauties:
- Hanakapiai Falls
- Kalalau Trail
- Kalalau Lookout
- Kōkeʻe State Park
- Pihea Trail
- Hanakoa Falls
- Hanakapiai Beach
- Limahuli Garden & Preserve
Local food spots
With the closest eateries located at a minimum distance of 10 km, there are more than a few places to visit. Below are the other options:
- Pink’s Creamery
- Trucking Delicious
- Hanalei Bay Pizzeria
- Fresh Bite Kauai
However, Sushi Girl Kauai, located only 5.9 kilometers away from the state park, is an exception to this minor food-obstacle.
- The first piece of advice is that only experienced hikers with proper gear should venture further along the Kalalau Trail, i.e., past the initial 3.2km path to Hanakapiai Beach.
- One needs Camping Permits for traversing along Hanakoa and Kalalau.
- A halfway stopover is counted as a one-night, reducing the total number of camp nights permitted to four.
- There is no trash service, drinking water, or cell phone service in Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park but only in Hā‘ena State Park.
- It would be for the best for campers to travel light but to remain prepared for adverse weather conditions.
- Commercial operations including guided hikes/overnight trips, boat drop-off & pick-up aren’t allowed within State Parks.
- There is a reason Nāpali Coast State Park is called ‘heaven on earth.’ To find out, gear up right away!