Distance: 8 miles
Type: Out & Back
Elevation gain: 600ft (from 50 - 500ft)
When hiking the trails of Kauai you can be forgiven for expecting to meet a T-Rex around the next bend, or to spot Indiana Jones running by with one hand on his hat and the other grasping some ancient artifact. Hollywood is a big fan of the this Hawaiian island's spectacular landscape, which is why it's a popular filming location for movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurrasic Park.
The 300 foot tall Hanakapi'ai Falls is definitely a spectacle you'd expect to star on the silver screen, and certainly worthy of a 8 mile out-and-back trek.
Begin at the Kalalau trailhead and follow this fabled Na Pali coastal trail two miles to Hanakapi'ai Beach. Avoid the temptation to swim among the deadly ocean currents for which this beach is famous, and take a turn into the hills towards the waterfall. Like most trails on Kauai, the route up to the falls is quite rugged and usually quite slippery, which is why we categorize this hike as hard. Also, this route should not be attempted during or immediately after a heavy rainfall.
Permits are required for all hiking and camping trips on the Na Pali coast, available only at the Lihue State Park Office 35 miles away. The permits exist to limit foot traffic in the park in the interest of conservation, but it's a restriction that's frequently and frustratingly disregarded by many visitors to this park.
- Trailspotting Images: Hanakapiai Falls on Flickr
- Movie Filming Locations on Kauai (on IMDB)