Backpack to Hanakoa Valley

Rate this Adventure Hawaii Kalalau Trail

Added by Clare Healy

Hike the Kalalau Trial with breathtaking views of the Na Pali Coastline. Camp next to Hanakoa Stream among fellow backpackers, one mile under Hanakoa Falls.

Hanakoa Falls is one of two large waterfalls along Na Pali Coast. While most set out for a high-paced hike on Kalalau Trail, rushing past Hanakoa Valley, those who choose to explore Hanakoa Valley and Falls will not be disappointed. To reach the beautiful Hanakoa Valley, you will take the same trail as you would to reach Kalalau Beach.

Kalalau Trail is world-renown for its breathtaking coastal views. Often overlooked, however, are the first 6 miles of the trail, which pass through luscious valleys. With seemingly endless switchbacks into valley walls and back out to the coast, these miles offer diverse terrain and wildlife.

After conquering the initial few miles of treacherous uphill, you will glide right into the marshy wetlands of Hanakoa Valley. As you start to hear the rushing water of the Hanakoa River, you will find a small group of campsites, but you will want to keep going.

Once past the river, you will again stumble upon a cluster of campsites in a stadium-like setting, surrounding a group fire pit and rain cover. Campers are typically welcoming to incoming backpackers, so give your hellos, set up your tent, get those hiking boots off, and head back to the river for the long-awaited rinse you will be yearning for. For those wanting to head to the waterfalls, this may still be a good time to set up camp and lighten your load, if you are staying the night.

To reach the falls, you will find that trail markers are clear, but you will want to cut left when the Kalalau Trail continues right. After a mile of fairly easy walking along this trail, you will catch a glimpse of the 1,000-foot beauty. This waterfall is significantly taller than Hanakapi'ai Falls, but tends to have lower flow. Although this spring is unswimmable, you will often find yourself alone at Hanakoa – something that will never happen at its sister falls.

If you plan to make this a day hike, be sure to leave early, as this hike can easily take the entire day.

Pack List

  • Required permit (for hiking beyond Hanakapi'ai)
  • Hiking boots
  • Water canister
  • Water filter or iodine tablets
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Food
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



14 Miles


Picnic Area

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Added by Clare Healy

Adventure and travel storyteller from the west, but currently soaking up the South from Chattanooga, TN. If you're in the area, let's go on an adventure.

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