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Kauai: Backpack the Kalalau Trail, Snorkel, and Dayhike

  • May 11, 2013 · 6:00 PM
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Join me for a week or ten days on Kauai! (You can stay a week, ten days, or longer if you want. I'm staying ten). 

Kalalau Backpack: 4 night backpack for advanced backpackers only - Sunday, May 12th through Thursday, May 16th.

Peter Potterfield, in Classic Hikes of the World, rates this backpack a 5 out of 5 in difficulty and a 4 out of 5 in psychological challenge. "The elevation gain on the route is comparable to summit day on Mount Rainier, an honest 5,000 feet of elevation work, exacerbated by tropical heat and an equatorial sun, this exertion can lead to exhaustion and sunstroke." "The trail itself is steep and exposed in places, and during wet weather can become treacherous." "Don't try to cross swollen streams, which can rise quickly to dangerous levels in heavy rain."

Proposed Itinerary:

Saturday, May 11th: Arrive in Lihue. Stay the night at the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel.

Sunday, May 12th through Thursday, May 16th: Kalalau Backpack. I'd like to leave town for the backpack around 9 AM Sunday morning. We'll need to drop off everyone and their packs at the trailhead, and then park our cars at Ha'ena Beach Park (one mile from the trailhead). On Sunday, let's hike the 6 miles to Hanakoa Valley and camp. Monday morning, we can check out the Hanakoa Falls side trip before backpacking the remaining 5 miles to the end of the trail at Kalalau Valley. We'll finish up on Thursday by hiking 11 miles with 5000 feet of climbing on this day. Option to camp again at Hanakoa Valley should you not want to tackle the entire 11 mile hike in one day. Our permits are good for either camp. Stay in lodging (Aston Aloha Beach Hotel) Thursday night through Saturday night.

Friday, May 17th: In the afternoon, snorkeling at Makua Beach. If conditions are too rough, we'll head to the south side of the island and snorkel at Po'ipu Beach. This day is open for other activities as well.

Saturday, May 18th: Nounou Mountain East Side day hike (about 1.75 hour hike) in the morning and hiking in the Alaka'i Swamp area, including the Kawaikoi Stream Trail, in the afternoon.

Sunday, May 19th through Tuesday, May 21st: Waimea Canyon Backpack (2 night backpack). On Sunday, we'll start by checking out some overlooks around Waimea Canyon, and then descend to the camp at the bottom (2200 feet down). Dayhike on Monday in the canyon. Early rise on Tuesday in order to make it back to the airport for the flight home.


RSVP Process: RSVP to the Waiting List and once I speak with you in person or over the phone, I'll move you over to "Yes." Please don't book anything before speaking with me. Thank you.






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  • Luzona

    I did Kalalau & several hikes in Waimea 2 yrs ago. This is a must do for those who want to see one of the most beautiful tropical hikes. The scenery and the hiking is phenomenal. My meetup pic background is from the Kalalau trail.

    April 3, 2013

  • George G.

    Anyone interested in cycling one day?

    February 16, 2013

  • Kevin

    I have to cancel my longer trips for the near future.

    February 7, 2013

  • Kevin

    Unfortunately I am not going to be able to make the trip now. I am gonna have to settle for the pictures...

    February 7, 2013

  • Kerry

    Flight booked!

    January 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Flight and permit booked! Countdown began!

    January 10, 2013

    • George G.

      Hi Stan. Did you book the same flight dates as Tom?

      January 10, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      no, can't stay that long. :( We will fly in Sat. arriving noon, and flight out Sun. (19th) afternoon.

      January 24, 2013

  • Kathryn D

    So will you do a slide show/photo sharing when you get back? I'd love to see some pictures!!

    January 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just wanted to share a pretty good trip report with pics I found online:


    December 6, 2012

    • George G.


      December 6, 2012

    • AJ

      This trip report convinced me. Thanks Stanley.

      December 9, 2012

  • Kevin

    OK, you talked me into it.

    December 5, 2012

  • Tom

    Why a 4 night backpack to Kalalau Beach? Some would say it's only 11 miles one-way, shouldn't it only be a one day in, one day out backpack? There are a number of reasons for making it 4. Many people stay for 5. Part of the first day we'll spend driving. Parking a mile from the trailhead will slow us down, too. Plan on camping 6 miles in the first night. There are two sidetrips worth taking on this route and I'm planning on just relaxing once we get to Kalalau Beach. We can always leave a day early if we don't want to stay. I plan on hiking out in one day.

    November 27, 2012

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