National Geographic’s World’s Best Hikes

Kalalau Trail made National Geographic’s World’s Best Hikes: 15 Classic Trails.  Here’s what their writer Peter Potterfield had to say:

Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Valley

Round-Trip: 22 miles, 3 to 5 days

When to Go: May to September for drier weather; April or October for more solitude

The finest coastal hike in the world, this rugged route through Kauai’s impressive Nā Pali Coast will challenge you physically with tropical heat and steep trails, and scare you with exposure on muddy slopes. But after a day of slogging 11 miles through the fluted cliffs above surf that crashes like howitzer fire on the coast below, you are rewarded with a view of the impossibly serene mile-long arc of golden Kalalau Beach along the shimmering Pacific. The Kalalau Valley itself holds fairy-tale waterfalls and lush tropical jungle, well worthy of exploration, but the highlight is camping right on the beach, with the Western Pacific before you, reflecting the setting sun.

Insider Tip: It’s hot, and you’ll be tempted, but don’t even think about cooling off with a swim at Hanakapi’ai Beach on the way in. All those small, makeshift memorials are erected in the memory of hikers who thought they might enjoy wading in and were immediately swept out to sea by the violent rips.

Here’s the other hikes that made the list:

  • Kungsleden, Sweden: Abisko Mountain Station to the Saami Village of Nikkaluokta
  • Grand Canyon Hike, Arizona: Rim to Rim to Rim
  • Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal: Lukla to Everest Base Camp
  • Fitz Roy Trek, Patagonia, Argentina: El Chaltén to Laguna Torre to Poincenot Camp to Laguna Eléctrico
  • Petra Through the Back Door, Jordan: Dana Reserve to Petra
  • Grindelwald, Switzerland: First to Lake Bachal to Faulhorn Hut
  • Yosemite Grand Traverse, California, United States: Post Peak Pass to Tuolumne Meadows
  • Chilkoot Trail, Alaska and Yukon Territory, U.S. and Canada: Skagway to Bennett Lake
  • Tonquin Valley, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada: Portal Creek to McCarib Pass to Tonquin Valley and Out via the Astoria River
  • Bay of Fires, Tasmania, Australia: Stumpy’s Bay to Bay of Fires Lodge
  • Long Range Traverse, Newfoundland, Canada: Western Brook Pond to Gros Morne Mountain
  • Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand: Ship Cove to Anakiwa
  • Mountains of the Moon, Uganda: Central Circuit, Ruwenzori Range
  • Croagh Patrick, Ireland: Summit Climb, Westport, County Mayo

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  1. January 07, 12:30 Visiting Kauai? Try the Kalalau Trial – Pipiwai Trail

    […] National Geographic’s World’s Best Hikes […]

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