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Holy Hike, Batman!

July 11, 2016
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Kauai is known for having beautiful hikes all over the island, and Ryan and I do love to hike, so we knew that we’d want to take advantage of that while we were here.  Some of them have been close to where we’re staying (on the South end), like the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail:


But I read that a lot of the best hiking was on the North end of the island, at the Na’Pali Coast State Park.  We knew that these hikes would be too tough for the kiddos– they’re supposed to be really muddy, tough trails, with a lot of dangerous ledges and drop offs– not exactly a place you want to take a 3,4, and 6 year-old (plus a baby!).  We all really wanted to do the hikes, however– our helicopter pilot (more on that in another post) said that if there was one hike you did on Kauai, you needed to do the hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls– an eight mile hike.  The first two miles take you to a beach, then it’s another two to the waterfall.

We all kind of went back and forth on whether or not to try for the waterfall.  In the end, we decided that all of the adults would try to hike to the beach, and then whoever wanted to continue on to the falls could do so.  We found a highly recommended sitter service and left the kids at home to watch Aladdin– which was much preferred by them, haha.  And, we set off for the North shore!  After about an hour and a half of driving, we were ready to hike!

The hike was difficult from the get-go– lots of climbing up steep bluffs, which paid off with amazing views of the coast:

About one mile in, it got even tougher– very MUDDY.  My parents ended up turning around about 1.5 miles in, and I don’t blame them– it was a hike that you had to take very slowly, and the mud made it especially difficult.  I found myself slipping and sliding on the trail multiple times.

Finally, after two long miles, we made it to the final obstacle.  Before the beach, you have to cross a pretty big river– yikes! The current was strong, but it wasn’t that bad once you actually started crossing– it looked scarier than it actually was, but I was kind of freaked out about it!


After crossing the river, we were rewarded with the beach– finally! It was a beautiful spot to eat our lunch:


The four of us (my sister and brother-in-law, plus me and Ryan) debated a bit on whether or not to continue on to the falls.  The guidebooks and trail signs really did say that it was a difficult trail, only meant for strong hikers.  Ryan and I hike quite a bit, but the trails we do are pretty easy.  We were also thinking about the time– it took us a full hour and half just to hike the two miles to the beach, and going on to the waterfall would mean another three hours altogether, at least.

But…after some back and forth, my sister said, “We are going to regret it if we don’t do this”– and we all knew she was right.  So…it was on to the falls!

The trail really was treacherous– muddy, muddy, muddy, with a lot of river and stream crossings, ledges to walk across, and boulders to crawl over.  It was probably the hardest hike I’ve done to date. We didn’t get a lot of pictures because we were too busy trying not to die, heh.


But, finally, we were rewarded with a sneak peek of the falls:


…and we knew we were getting close!

Finally…we made it to Hanakapi’ ai Falls! And it was beautiful:


We swam in the pool– it was FREEZING and the wind was blowing water all over our faces.  But again, it was worth it.

And then…after lots of pictures…it was time to turn around and begin the hike back.  Womp, womp.

This hike was amazing and definitely worth the effort.  It can be harder to do these types of things once you’re traveling with kids, but I’m so glad that we found a way to do this hike– it is one that I will remember forever.  And my legs will remember it for a long time too.  😉


3 Comments leave one →
  1. amberbusyboldblessed permalink
    July 12, 2016 3:33 pm

    Thanks for writing this post! I’ve definitely read about this hike on TripAdvisor, but this is so helpful. I’m not sure whether we’ll go all the way or not yet. We might decide en route like you did. We aren’t advanced hikers, but I like to think we aren’t complete rookies and we’re in pretty good shape.

    What shoes did you wear? I was planning on wearing some serious hiking boots, but I also have some nice water shoes that look like they may be the better option since our feet will be completely under water.

    • July 12, 2016 4:38 pm

      We saw people in SO much different footwear– everything from hiking boots to water shoes to Keds, haha. A few people (uh, crazy people) were even barefoot!

      I wore water shoes (closed toe, but with a rubber sole– kind of like Keens), and I was glad that I had, because yeah, you are sloshing around for so much of it on the trail to the water fall. Plus you cross a bunch of streams and rivers that just require you to wade through deep water. Ryan wore running shoes, and his shoes were obviously just soaked through by the end. Which I think was fine with him, but my feet tend to blister easily if I do that, so I was glad I hadn’t worn my running shoes.

      It really is worth it to push through! We tried to take it pretty slow, just to stay safe, and I felt like it was okay for us, even though we aren’t advanced hikers either. But yeah, between driving, finding parking (get there early!!!), and the hike itself, it was definitely a full day activity. We left at 8:30 and didn’t get back until 6:30, haha. But again, the hike itself required a 1.5 hour drive for us, so factor that in.

      • amberbusyboldblessed permalink
        July 12, 2016 8:30 pm

        OMG barefoot?! People are nuts. I have Keens so I’ll definitely be wearing them! We’re staying on the north shore so we’ll be a lot closer.

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