Napali Coast: This Rugged Edge of Hawaii Is Paradise on Earth

Imagine a mystical path that leads into a hidden valley where you can watch as the sun melts into the sea.

This is the place where both peace and beauty prevail.

Centuries ago, when Hawaiian settlements flourished here, they survived only on the food they could harvest and the fish they could catch. Today, the rugged terrain appears much the same way.

The famous 17-mile long coastline of Napali (nā pali means “the cliffs” in Hawaiian) on the island of Kauai is truly magnificent. Located on the North Shore, this magical escape features 5,000 foot tall folded emerald cliffs, where cascading waterfalls plunge into the deep, narrow valleys. There is plenty of papaya, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.

With panoramic views of the seemingly infinite Pacific ocean and rainbows nearly every day, nā pali truly is a little piece of paradise.

Land access to this enchanted area is restricted to the Kalalau Trail. This 11-mile hike begins at Kee Beach and crosses five different valleys before dropping you off at the secluded Kalalau Beach. It’s definitely not an easy hike. Many people have called it the most challenging and even treacherous of Kauai hikes. With narrow sections and muddy topsoil from rainfall, taking caution while on your journey is a must.

But just because there is a little danger involved in the trek, that doesn’t mean you need to take an expensive helicopter ride to experience what standing on the edge of the world feels like. A hike is far more memorable than getting a birds eye view, anyway. Life is better experienced by foot.

With all the incredible the smells, the forest, animals, cliffs, caves, and the surprise of what happens around the next corner, the joy of the challenge in getting there is worth every drop of sweat rolling down the sides of your neck.

When hiking any trail on the island, the spectacular landscape will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into another world. Perhaps this is why it has been a popular filming location for movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park.

Many hikers choose to break the trail up into two days, setting up camp at the beach of Hanakapiai, and then heading to Kalalau the next morning. Camping permits are required from the Hawaii State Parks Division office in Lihue. A guide is highly recommended and hiking during the winter months is discouraged.

You could also reach this hidden gem by boat. If you do choose this route, you must take the Blue Dolphin tour. It’s truly a nā pali party cruise! And if you’re interested in seeing some epic coastal views, turtles, whales and dolphins, this is the way to go.

Either way, this small stretch of coastline is hard to match anywhere else in the world and it may be the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.

So, why not replenish your spirit and experience the breathtaking panoramas of this exquisite Hawaiian coast?