Na Pali Coast State Park Travel Guide
Na Pali Coast State Park is a 6,000-acre Hawaiian state park located on the island of Kauai, which is the largest Hawaiian island to the west of Oahu. The park is intended to preserve the beautiful Kalalau Valley and the surrounding rugged terrain, which is famous for its sheer cliffs that fall nearly straight down into the Pacific’s roaring waves.
Polynesian settlers are believed to have arrived along the Na Pali Coast about A.D. 1200, and the island of Kauai is thought to be the first of Hawaii’s islands to be inhabited. A second wave of settlers from Tahiti would arrive soon after the Polynesians. Westerners did not discover the Na Pali Coast until 1778, when Captain Cook sighted it while exploring the Pacific. Soon, many foreigners began visiting Kauai, and the native population gradually withered away due to the foreign diseases they brought with them.
Things to see and do in Na Pali Coast State Park
Hike the Na Pali Coast on foot, for it is inaccessible to automobiles. Take the Kalalau Trail across 11 miles of coastline and over five large valleys, besides the numerous smaller ones. At the end of the trail, you will find yourself at Kalalau Beach, which sits at the edge of the Kalalau Valley. This ranks among the most arduous trails in all Hawaii, but it is well worth it for the views and closeness to nature.
You cannot swim at Kalalau Beach due to the excessively strong rip currents, but you can camp out on the beach. A natural waterfall will bring you fresh, drinkable water. And in the morning, you may want to kayak over to Honopu Beach. Honopu Beach is small and secluded, and it is famous for its 90-foot natural rock arch, the largest such rock formation in all Hawaii. When the wind whips through the arch, you will hear a sound much like what you hear on the inside of a seashell.
To go camping in the park, you will need to get a permit first. You can choose either of two full-facility sites along the Kalalau Trail, or you can camp at Milolii, a campground that can only be accessed by water.
Get a panoramic view of the park by flying over it on a helicopter tour. Alternatively, you scan the coastline form the ocean from a kayak, catamaran, or an inflatable boat. You can also go paddle-boarding along the coast.
The climate on Kauai is generally mild and pleasant all year long. In the upland areas, including the Na Pali Coast region, annual rainfall is heavy, but temperatures are cooler than at lower elevations, which can be rather refreshing during the hot summer months.
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