Hiking the Kalalau Trail is one of life's most spiritual adventures, full of wonder and awe at nature's beauty, but also can be hazardous to your health if you are not prepared for it. Some do's and don'ts. The entire Kalalau Trail is long (11 miles one way--7 hours if you are in great shape) and arduous. The dropoffs are often steep, the trail sometimes narrows to one foot wide at places,The most dangerous section when wet are the switchbacks after Hanakoa. Hiking poles are a must to prevent disaster. it can be very slippery when wet, and the climbs and descents are strenuous. You will need plenty of water, and although finding local sources is rarely a problem (there are major streams at 2, 6, 8, and 10 miles in), don't drink it without purifying it. Do not attempt to make it a round trip day hike unless you are in tiptop condition and bring enough water. Crossing the Hanakapi’ai and Kalalau streams in high water should not be attempted, but they do drain rapidly so if you wait a couple of hours they might be passable.
This is, however, one of the most beautiful and dramatic trails in all the world. Being prepared is key and allowing at least two to three days for maximum enjoyment is essential. Travel as light as you can (weight is your enemy on this trail) Bring mosquito repellant and hiking poles and don't expect the red mud stain to ever disappear from your footwear. For parking and getting to the trail and permit info use the Kauai Trailblazer guide. Another good web site for information on the trail is at Kauai Explorer: Kalalau Trail Information
. For an aerial view of the coastline go to GoogleEarth. Check Kauai blogs for current trail conditions.Do not park your car at the trail head as break ins and vandalism is common. It is best to leave your car at Haena Beach Park which is a mile from the trail head.. . If you are not a seasoned hiker then join a tour and see it by kayak or sailboat. It's even more dramatic from the water, or from the air on a helicopter tour.