Day 22 – Hanakapi’ai Falls

We hit the trail around 7:15 a.m. from Ke’e Beach.  The parking lot wasn’t as crowded as it has been in the past. It was a nice sunny morning and the trail was fairly dry, not the mudfest it had been previously.

The view down the Napali Coast still takes my breath away, every time I look down it.

from the Kalalau trail

This was the first time we noticed this sign:

Hanakapi'ai Valley

and of course my favorite sign on the trail:

death sign

We made it to the river crossing in an hour and 12 minutes.  Pretty good time.  Then we turned away from the beach and headed into the Hanakapi’ai Valley to the falls.


A little ways up the trail, you had the a good view of the interior of the valley.

first view into valley

As we hiked along, we noticed stone walls and terraces built by the ancient Hawaiians.  This valley used to be used for farming taro.

Hawaiian stone wall

Of course what would a hike be in Kauai without mud?

mud, lovely, lovely mud

What was fun about this trail were the pockets of bamboo that would spring up.

bamboo thicket

We were able to pick our own fruit on the trail, mountain apples and strawberry guavas.

mike eats mountain apples

The trickiest part was crossing the river at Duke’s Pool.

Duke's sign

We lost the trail marker and thought you had to cross higher up, where the current was strong.  Mike crossed here, but I had minor freakout and then we located the right place to cross without a strong current.

duke's pool, cross before the pool, not after

We started to catch glimpses of the falls.

a glimpse

We only had a mere .25 miles to the falls.  Once we arrived at the falls, only three other people were there, so we could jump in the water and be by ourselves.

Hanakapi'ai falls, yes you can swim in that pool

Now that was scary jumping in the water  because the water was so cold, it literally stopped me breathing.

in the water
mike's swims around for a closer look
close by the falls

While Mike was swimming around, I sat on a rock and admired the falls.

staring at the falls

We ate a brief snack and headed back down the trail.  As we were leaving many people were just arriving at the falls.  Good time for us to leave dodge.

one last couple photo

With one last look at the falls, we hiked out of the valley.

one last look

On the way out, I grabbed some awapuhi to put in my hair.


I grabbed the head and just squeezed the goodness out of it and fingered it through my hair.  We picked a few to take back with us.  I did use it to wash my hair and the natural awapuhi is amazing.

Once we hit the Hanakapi’ai Beach the crowds were growing.


The groups coming in on the trail, slowed us going out.  The only redeeming quality of going slower was turning back to look down the Napali coast.

afternoon sun on the coast

The colors were stunning.

colors of the coast

Our gps recorded the hike at 7.6 miles (though trail books say 8 miles) and a total of 5.5 hours (including stop time).

trail profile

After we landed at Ke’e we ran into the water to cool off, then hit the outdoor showers.  Once at home, we cleaned up more, ate lunch and I napped.

After dinner tonight, we slowly walked to the beach for sunset.  Our bodies were feeling the effects of the hike. We sat with friends and watched the sunset.


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