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
Read More

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

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

14 Miles

Features:

Bathrooms
Beach
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Clare Healy

Adventure storyteller, outdoor explorer, and taco eater from the west. If you're in the California area, let's go on an adventure.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to the First Waterfall on the Ka'au Crater Trail

Hawaii / Ka'au Crater Trail

Directions: From Honolulu, head east on the H1 towards Hawai'i Kai and take the 6th Ave exit. Turn left onto 6th, right onto Waialae, and then left onto 10th.

Erik Holmes
6 Saves

Beach Day at Makua Beach

Hawaii / Makua Beach

Getting There:  From Honolulu, head west on the H1 and follow signs for Waianae. Continue as the H1 turn into Farrington highway and drive along the coast.

Erik Holmes
3 Saves

Explore the North Shore's Sunflower Fields

Hawaii / Waialua Sunflower Feilds

Note: The flowers bloom towards the end of the year and hence the fields are only open to the public from about November through December.

Erik Holmes
6 Saves