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kalalau trail/camping

Honolulu, Hawaii
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kalalau trail/camping

im hiking the kalalau trail, and going to camp one night, i was wondering if its a legitimate camp site with space to make fire. i want to make sure i pack the right stuff for eating and what not. any advice is appreciated. mahalo!!!

Kaua'i, HI
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for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
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1. Re: kalalau trail/camping

Aloha from Kaua'i!

So you have your permit from the State for camping, right?

As I'm sure you know, it is 11 miles hike to Kalalau Beach, is that where you are planning on camping overnight?

kauaiexplorer.com/hiking_kauai/kalalau_hike.…

There are composting toilets at Hanakoa (6 miles in) and at Kalalau....no "set up" type camp sites at all however and no water.

One of our frequent posters here "KauaiHiker" is a good source of information in detail on hiking and camping here on Kaua'i...hopefully he will chime in here.

Malama Pono,

Janet

La Mirada...
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2. Re: kalalau trail/camping

According to this, open fires are not allowed, you need a camp stove & fuel:

hawaiistateparks.org/documents/hsp_kalalau_t…

hawaiistateparks.org/hiking/kauai/kalalau.cfm

3Chihuahuas

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: kalalau trail/camping

We hiked the Kulalau trail two years ago. The first night we camped at mile 8. There is a helicopter landing pad there. A man "lives" there and helps maintain the trail. He is so so nice and has a few campsites. I think his name was Bill. We arrived there at sunset and had dinner with him. We were glad we stayed there because it is a very high cliff. Mile 6 does have toilets and the river but it is very very humid and wet. We made sure to fill our water at mile 6 before we went onto mile 8.

Also make sure you have a sleeping pad or even a hammock would be good. We anticipated making it all 11 miles in one day and sleeping on the sand do the beach. We were surprised by the difficulty of the trail. It was a lot more up and down than we thought. We have hiked the Grand Canyon a few times so we thought it would be easier. We absolutely loved the Kulalau Trail. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! I can't wait to do it again someday!

Kauai
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4. Re: kalalau trail/camping

There are a number of very nice camp sites (tent sites, places to hang a hammock) by the waterfall at Kalalau. Bring all your food. You may find a few guavas and lilikoi along the way. There is plenty of water along the coast. If you bring a filter/treatment you won't have to carry all your drinking water.

Wailua
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5. Re: kalalau trail/camping

The OP doesn't give enough details, but let's assume he or she has a permit for both days and plans to hike all 11 miles in one day and out the next.

At the beach area at Kalalau, there are official camping areas/zones but no fixed campsites. However, people have moved rocks and trimmed branches to make a few tent sites within these zones. They are not really "by the waterfall" but more on the side of the trail leading up to the waterfall (the trail essentially ends at the waterfall). Stay makai of the trail, overlooking the beach. DO NOT camp mauka of the trail in this area because of rockfall--just look at the gashes on the tree trunks to see what I mean.

Further back along the trail, near the Kalalau emergency heliport (that large flat grassy area between the beach and the trail), there is a much larger camping area in the forest mauka of the trail--look for the side trail that leads in there and you have your pick of spots under the trees. This forest area is not under the cliffs, so no falling rocks. In fact, you can see ancient Hawaiian retaining walls and terraces here.

In both of these camping zones, some of the previously cleared campsites have stone fire rings. However, as 3chihuahuas correctly pointed out, campfires are not allowed and you must bring your own camp stove and fuel. The reason is that there isn't enough wood in the area if people start chopping down trees to cook (it is a state park). Sometimes, you can find driftwood on the beach that is dry enough, but please don't count on this and then chop down trees when you don't find any.

Anyways, for a 2-day trip, I recommend only taking cold foods and snacks for simplicity--that way you don't spend so much time cooking and preparing food. Also, never count on scavenging food along the trail. The state removes non-native species (lilikoi, guava, papaya, etc.) and anything that may be left is picked over by others. In my half-dozen trips, I've seen one ripe lilikoi, a few green guavas, sour oranges, and unripe bananas.

There is no official camping at the 8-mile heliport. There is no toilet there, and the last thing we need are more people going in the woods. The perennial stream at the 8-mile heliport is fed from a spring I believe, so we dont need campers fouling it up--it is one of the best to get water on the long hike. Plus it is a sensitive archeology site (more terraces), and the state has put up signs to remind people that camping there is illegal. Please don't break rules (or forget to inform yourself about the rules) and then come on TA to recommend others do the same thing. The Kalalau trail, valley, and beach are not some pristine paradise that you get to yourself, they are a fragile area visited by about 50 intrepid hikers every day (tourists, locals, hunters, fishermen, surfers, etc.). In order to preserve it for everyone, please follow the basic rules.

As for equipment, you need an insulated pad, blanket, and waterproof tarp to create a bivy sack if you want to sleep on the beach. You cannot sleep on sand at night without insulation, otherwise the sand will absorb your body heat and make you cold. For camping elsewhere, you need either a tent, pad, and blanket, or a hammock tarp/rain-fly, and thick blanket. It does get cool at night almost everywhere on Kauai, too coll to sleep without some sort of blanket or light sleeping bag.

The other piece of equipment you absolutely need for this hike is a water filter or purifier rated to remove leptospirochetes. Carrying one gallon of water per person per day is unrealistic, so you must be prepared to treat the surface water.

Finally, I can't respond to a 3-line request for info about the Kalalau trail without pointing out that this is a VERY strenuous trail that requires strength and backpacking experience. A lot of people don't make it because they are unprepared, uninformed and out of shape.

California
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6. Re: kalalau trail/camping

Another excellent post by kauaihiker.

Also don't venture to this area when flash flood watches are going on like right now.

My husband has done the 11mile plus hike a few times and he considers himself a darn good backpacker and in good shape for an "old man". He said it kicked his butt!

Kauai, Hawaii
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7. Re: kalalau trail/camping

kauai hiker,

You are great, and I very much respect your informative and no nonsense response.

Oustanding

Denny

Denver
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8. Re: kalalau trail/camping

Yes, a great response from KauaiHiker. OP, there are plenty of websites full of information about hiking the Kalalau Trail, so do yourself and the fragile Kauai ecosystem a favor and educate yourself through a simple google search (or even a search of prior TA forum posts).

Gatlinburg...
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9. Re: kalalau trail/camping

We will be going in Feb. We would like to spend a few days backpacking out there. I just want to check. Is the only legal campsite along the Napali Coast 11 miles in? Thank you.

California
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10. Re: kalalau trail/camping

This is an old thread. You might want to start a new one and you also might want to do some research on camping - hiking at one of the wettest times of the year.