Kauai’s Kalalau Trail: Rain or Shine

Joy Martin recently wrote a great review of her experience along the Kalalau Trail that was published on the REI blog.  Here’s an excerpt.  Follow the link to read the whole article on REI.


Most of the dousing occurs December through March, which creates a generally pessimistic aura on travel websites regarding outdoor recreation on this sopping Eden during the off-season. But as seasoned off-season travelers know, where there be weather, there be adventure. And what better place to find adventure than Jurassic Park?

For obvious reasons, Kauai’s Na Pali Coast has served as an idyllic backdrop for some sixty-odd feature-length films since the 1930s, including “South Pacific,” “King Kong” and “Jurassic Park.” Even without dinosaurs and giant gorillas, the jagged green cliffs, hanging valleys, silver slivers of waterfalls and endless stretches of blue water provide enjoyment for film mongers, sailors, surfers and landlubbers alike.

And since forever, the Kalalau Trail, a narrow red-dirt ribbon laced along the north shore, has made this scenery accessible off-screen to hikers and runners, too. The 11-mile one-way path leads to the fantastically secluded Kalalau Beach at the mouth of Kalalau Valley.

Those with more time typically trek one-way in a day and camp overnight or even stay for weeks, enjoying such primitive amenities as a makeshift volleyball net and all the swimming you could ever desire.

But the Kalalau Trail didn’t make Trail Runner magazine’s “10 Trails That Should Be on Every Bucket List” just for ending at paradise. It’s much more than a walk in the park; it’s a character builder.

And rainy season on the trail creates its own unique challenges.

For starters, persistent natural hazards, such as flash floods, landslides and merciless melees with muddy rocks abound for hikers and runners; one misstep could lead to a tragic slip towards the roiling Pacific one thousand feet below the eroding coastline. These conditions have led to the Kalalau Trail’s reputation as one of Backpacker magazine’s “America’s 10 Most Dangerous Hikes” while Outside Magazine rates it as one of the “20 Most Dangerous Hikes in the World.”

Read more on the REI blog.

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