As was reported by many news agencies this week, there were several hikers stranded along the Kalalau Trail on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 when the Hanakapiai Stream was swollen due
The Kaua‘i Fire Department airlifted 32 stranded hikers from the Kalalau Valley Wednesday evening after rising waters made the Hanakapiai Stream impassable.
On occasion parts of the Kalalau Trail is closed to visitors. Sometimes this is due to trail maintenance or a planned event like it was last summer for the feral goat and pig hunt. When these planned events happen, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks does not issue permits during that time period. This can be disappointing if you were planning a trip for that time period but at least you can find out ahead of time that there are no permits available.
There are several stream crossings along the Kalalau Trail. These water crossings can be a great place to take a break, fill water containers and canteens or even cool off by taking a dip. While most of the time the streams are a blessing, they, like most other things, can have their negative side. During or following a big storm, these streams can swell up and become raging rivers. They aren’t the harmless oasises that they usually are, but rather they become dangerous, sucking torrents of water that can injure or imperil hikers.
The Kaua‘i Fire Department has airlifted over 60 people from the Kalalau Valley today after multiple streams became impassable.
One male hiker suffered a non-life threatening injury and was flown to Princeville Airport, where awaiting medics transported him to Wilcox Hospital.
December 2014, Andy and I went on a backpacking trip on Kauai’s scenic Kalalau Trail. Little did we know that days of rain can cause raging rivers that are impassible. The only way across the rivers was to wait or catch the Kauai’s rescue helicopter.
County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said the Kauai Fire Department reported about 10 individuals were stranded on the far side of Hanakapiai Stream around 4 p.m. on Monday. Ocean Safety personnel made contact with the group and provided them with food and water to remain overnight, since weather conditions did not allow for a rescue.
On Friday, 2 days after the Kalalau Trail was closed due to Storms Iselle and Julio approaching, a 19-year old woman was swept downstream while attempting to cross the stream at Hanakoa. The woman, who had been camping at Kalalau with a 24-year old male friend, was last seen as she was swept away downstream. The friend attempted to find her as he made his way down to the shore but was unsuccessful. He then hiked out to contact authorities.