You must plan ahead!

There will be a lot of visitors that hike the Kalalau Trail this year. There will also be thousands of visitors that won’t be able to see the trail because they didn’t plan ahead. Which category do you want to be in? You must plan ahead if you want to visit.

There are two ways you can visit the trail:

  1. Hike (includes campers) the whole trail (11-miles in and 11-miles back out)
  2. Hike the first 2-miles of the trail (Day-Use)

It can be confusing as to what is required for each type of visitor. This article will help you successfully plan your visit.

Hā’ena State Park Day-Use

The first 2-miles of the Kalalau Trail from Ke’e Beach to Hanakāpīʻai Beach is open for day-use without a permit but all day-use visitors must have advanced reservations to enter Hā’ena State Park. Hā’ena State Park has a 900 visitor per-day limit.

A Day-Use Reservation will allow you to:

  • Visit Ke’e Beach
  • Hike 2-miles along the Kalalau Trail to Hanakāpīʻai Beach and back. (4-miles round trip)
  • Hike to Hanakāpīʻai Beach, and from there, hike 2-miles up a side trail to Hanakāpīʻai Falls and back? (8-miles round trip)

Reservations can be made up to 30-days in advance, and no later than the day before your visit. Reservations sell out quickly (very quickly) so I would recommend getting your reservation as soon as they become available (Midnight, Hawaii Time).

Reservation Methods

Visitors are able to get reservations and enter the park using one of the following methods:

  • Drive in – Limited parking vouchers are available.  There are only 100 parking stalls.  30 of the stalls are reserved for locals, leaving only 70 stalls available for visitors.
    • You can reserve a parking voucher for $10/timeslot plus $5/person at this link: 
    • Parking Reservations can be made for the following times:
      • Morning (6:30am-12:30pm)
      • Afternoon (12:30pm-5:30pm)
      • Sunset (4:30pm-sunset)
    • Enter anytime after your timeslot begins but you MUST leave by the end time
    • All visitors named on reservation must arrive together in one vehicle (no multiple trips).
    • Make a separate reservation for each vehicle.
    • Cancel 3 days prior to your visit date for refund by emailing with the WS# you wish to cancel.
    • Note: If it won’t let you select a voucher for the day and time specified, they are sold out for that time.  Choose another date or time.
  • Entry Only Pass – You can walk, bike or arrange a private drop-off (and pickup) into Hā’ena State Park with an Entry Only Pass.  Get one for $5 at this link: There is a limited amount of passes available
    • Note: If it won’t let you select a voucher for the day and time specified, they are sold out for that time.  Choose another date or time.
  • Pre-arrange a ride in and back out – If you want to pre-arrange a ride to or from the trail head, you can contact Kevin – Call or text at (973) 769-8854. Note: You still need a reservation to get enter the park.

Hawaii Residents: If you are a resident of the State of Hawai’i, and have the ID to prove it, you are exempt from the fee/reservation requirement. 30 local parking stalls are first-come, first-served. Anybody in your vehicle who doesn’t have a local ID, must have a reservation in order to enter.

Common Questions:

  • If someone does cancel their reservation, the first person to see the newly opened availability will have the opportunity to purchase it.
  • There is no waiting list.
  • The system has no way to notify you if someone cancels their reservations.
  • Reservations cannot be changed. If the date you want to visit changes, you must cancel your current reservation and make a new reservation if one is available.
  • If there are no open reservations, then you cannot visit the park. Remember to plan early next time.

Get more information about Hā’ena State Park Day-Use here or on our FAQ page here.

Kalalau Trail Map
Kalalau Trail Map

Permit to hike the full Kalalau Trail

Anyone proceeding along the Kalalau Trail past Hanakāpīʻai Valley (2 miles in) must possess a valid Napali Coast State Wilderness Park camping permit whether or not you plan to camp. This same permit allows you to camp at one of two different places: Hanakoa or Kalalau. Permits are $35 per-person per-day. Residents get a $10 discount. If you have a permit, you do not need to make a Day-Use reservation. Your permit will get you into Hā’ena State Park.

Violators of the permit policy may be cited, and those cited will be required to show up in court. Violation of this rule is a petty misdemeanor under Hawaiʻi law, and a conviction will result in a criminal record in addition to penalties.

Availability- The amount of people allowed on the trail at any one time is limited to a small number (Currently 60). Permits often sell out and during busy times of the year can sell out quickly. Currently the State is only issuing permits 90-days out (Up from 30-days earlier this year). Get your permits early to ensure you will be able to visit Kalalau. 

Local residents walk-in permits- An additional capacity of 20 people each night will be allowed from May 15-September 7.  These permits can be purchased up to 30 days in advance to walk-in applicants only, at the Kauaʻi State Parks Office in the State Office Building in Līhuʻe. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m.-11a.m., Tuesday through Thursday, each week through the summer.


In addition to a permit, you’ll also need a separate parking reservation or drop-off arrangement.

Limited overnight parking is available for campers with overnight permits for Napali Coast State Wilderness Park. Camping permits must be acquired from State Parks prior to purchasing overnight parking. Users will be charged for the number of days your vehicle occupies the lot (e.g. a one night stay will require paying for 2-days, a 4-night stay will require paying for 5-days, etc.) Visit to reserve a parking spot.

Other overnight parking options include limited overnight parking at Aliʻi Kai Resort in Princeville. Call (808) 826-9988 for details and reservations. Finding legal overnight parking anywhere else on the North Shore is a problem. If you are staying at a hotel the night before you hike, I’d suggest arranging something with your hotel if they allow it. Or, ditch the rental car and taxi/rideshare into the trail head.

Online Permit System

You can check for permit availability and purchase camping permits online. Visit the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resource Online Reservation System to reserve your permit.

  • Visit the Hawaii DLNR reservation system at this link.
  • Click “Continue” at the bottom of the page.
  • Select Island “Kauai”.
  • Select Location “Napali Coast State Wilderness Park”.
  • Click “Continue” at the bottom of the page.
  • Browse for Availability.
  • Click Make Reservation at the bottom of the page. (You’ll have to create an account)

If you are coming to Hawaii to hike the trail, I always suggest getting your hiking permit before you get your plan ticket. I get hundreds of emails from visitors who make their travel arrangements first and then cannot get a hiking permit anytime during their visit. Don’t let this happen to you. There are no exceptions to the rule. A special permit will not be issued to you because you didn’t plan ahead.

Get more information about permits by visiting our Permit page.


Weather can affect your trip. Getting a permit is a risk. Just because you have a permit does not guarantee you will be hiking the trial. The State will close the trail if it deems the trail to be too dangerous. This is usually due to swollen streams during a storm. Hikers can die because the streams get moving too fast and they try to cross them anyway. If the trail is closed, you cannot hike. The State doesn’t pre-announce trial openings so if the trial is closed, they won’t tell you when it will open back up. When they decide it is no longer dangerous, they will open it.

Keep a watch on the weather in the days leading up to the hike. Find a back-up plan just in case the trial closes.

Additional Information

If you have additional questions, you can follow these links to help you find your answer: