Monday, January 18, 2010

Hanakapiai Falls (Kauai)

Trails: Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Falls
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain:  1900 ft

Hiking time: about 5 hours with
Area: Na Pali Coast on Kauai

Trailhead: Haena Point
Trailhead Coordinates: N22 13.225 W159 34.959
Sights: Na Pali Coast, Hanakapiai Falls
Directions via bus:

Directions via car: Take Kuhio Highway up the East Coast and around the North Shore to the end. You'll end up at Haena State Park

Recommendations for hike: Good shoes, water, sunglasses, sunscreen would be nice for the trail to the first beach but unnecessary for the trail to the waterfall. Some food perhaps. 
Trail Conditions: Muddy due to rain runoffs and rocky. Good shoes. Prepare to get wet so. A fellow hiker, Carla, recommended Chacos which came in handy when we reached the trail to the waterfall. You're gonna get your feet wet and I hate hiking with wet socks and shoes. Especially when I have to make a return trip of 4 miles.


January 3rd, 2010
So after resting for like 20 hours it seems, napping on and off, and just glad of being off my feet (you can read more on my entry about Kauai), I set off for this hike. I began by hitching a ride down to the end of the road to Haena Park. It's a really nice place. There was a small ceremony on the beach over there. Got there around 8 am and there were already plenty of cars.
This hike follows the beautiful Na Pali coast on Kauai. So along the way I ended hiking with some people from the D.C. area. They were about my age and on Kauai and Oahu for some vaca. They've actually known each other since elementary school! I never thought about it but it's rarer than it seems. Anyway, the trail starts climbing immediately. It's well marked and not too tough. I'm glad I did it in the early morning though. The return trip in the sun is significantly harsher. Immediately, you have a beautiful view of Haena Park beach and get a nice view of the coast line.
After about 2 miles, you'll reach a junction. To the right is the beach (don't go swimming, you'll see why in a picture later), to the left the trail towards the waterfall and also to continue along to Kalalau Beach. The hike to the waterfall isn't too bad, though we had some trouble finding the way. There were certain points where we had to back track or find another way, just cause we lost the trail. At one point, we were at the stream crossing and didn't see the connecting trail on the other side. We ended going up the river through some current and soon found out that there was a way.
Eventually we made it to the falls. Amazing!!! The pool is huge and falls, I'd say 150 - 200 ft high. It's open sky too, though it was too early for the sun to shine down. After taking a quick dip and hanging out for a bit, we headed back. Once we hit the beach again, we found that there were hordes of people doing the trail. It was pretty crowded. The heat didn't help either. All sorts of people from backpackers to day hikers (I know that's not really all sorts but it seemed like a variety). After reaching Haena Park, I said bye and hitched a ride back to Hanalei.
Enjoy the pictures!

 Ceremony on the beach.

 Haena Park beach from a little into the trail
 Trail conditions
 The coast!!!!
Some more. Much nicer in person
 So we saw this sign as we approached the first beach. Once you get down there it looks pretty rough.
The beach from above. 
 So this little falls is across the stream along the way. I wanted to explore but also just wanted to reach the final falls. 
 Looking into the valley.
 Almost there.
 The pool. Not the best angle.

Note: After looking at these pictures, I need to upgrade my camera. They don't do it justice.

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