I often get emails from people around the world telling me that they planned a trip to Hawaii to hike the Kalalau Trail and they just found out that there are no permits available. They usually ask questions like: Can I be put on a waiting list? Will more permits be issued at a later time?
The DLNR has just recently changed the rule concerning when camping permits are needed when hiking the Kalalau Trail. You used to be able to hike to Hanakoa and back without a permit. The new rule states that you need a permit to hike past Hanakāpīʻai Valley.
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.
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.
It seems every time that I camp somewhere I decide that there was something that I should have done different to make my trip a little better. I'm sure this happens to most people. That's why we get to be better and better campers with each trip as our experience widens.
15 years ago it wasn't easy to find reliable information, let alone photos and/or videos about Kalalau online. That's the main reason that I started this site back in 2002. I wanted it to be easier to find trail information for others than it was for me. Now days, with modern technology, it seems there's a never ending supply of new photos and videos popping up.
Crawler's Ledge is one of the most feared parts of the Kalalau Trail. I imagine it has kept many would-be hikers away over the years. I have a slight fear of heights myself but honestly have never found Crawler's Ledge hard to cross. I think the reasons that it isn't hard to cross are:
The Coast Guard (Honolulu Command Center) responded to a medevac request from the Kauai Fire Department late on Thursday night, August 28, 2014. A 24-year old hiker had reportedly fallen from a remote part of the Kalalau Trail, along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. The Coast Guard arrived on scene around 12:04 am on Friday.