The Na Pali Coast on the island of Kauai is one of the biggest highlights of Hawaii. Everyone who visits the island of Kauai also pays a visit to this impressive cliff. But this is unfortunately not so easy, because what many do not know before is that there is no road leading to or even around the Na Pali Coast. The possibilities to experience this spectacular coast are very limited. We now present you the 4 best ways to discover the Na Pali Coast.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
The Na Pali Coast on Kauai
The Napali Coast is a 27 kilometer long coastal strip on the north coast of Kauai and a very special place. The rugged rock formations with their over 1200 meter high cliffs have not only been the backdrop for many Hollywood movies, but are also the dream destination of almost all nature lovers.
The rock faces are partly loamy reddish-brown or poisonous green and are home to one or the other hidden waterfall. There is hardly a comparable coastline to be found anywhere in the world. The Napali Coast is truly unique.
And as nature would have it, it does not make it easy to explore. Thank god the Hawaiians couldn’t build a road around the Na Pali Coast. So we present to you the 4 best (and only) ways to experience the beauty of the Napali Coast.
Hotel Recommendation on Kauai
The Kauai Beach Resort is located in the capital Lihue near the airport directly on the beach. So you are not only quickly in the sea but also very quickly to all corners of the island. You get comfortably furnished double rooms and a super cool pool.
- perfectly conveniently located in Lihue
- super cool pool
- manageable, quiet hotel complex
- very good organic breakfast
#1 Hiking the Kalalau Trail
One of the most beautiful ways to experience the Napali Coast is of course by walking on the Kalalau Trail. This trail leads up to 35 kilometers along the cliffs and offers many unforgettable viewpoints of the coast, the mountains of Waimea Canyon and the Pacific Ocean. If you want to hike the whole trail you have to be damn good on foot and buy a permit beforehand.
But even if you’re only semi-athletic, you can hike a 12-kilometer section of the Kalalau Trail and explore Hanakāpī’Ai Beach and Hanakāpī’Ai Waterfall. You need a ticket for this as well, but it’s a little easier to get.
The hike is very busy and also quite challenging. Not only because of the many meters in altitude, but also because of the sometimes extremely muddy ground and the need to cross a river several times.
However, the beauty of the coast and the waterfall at the end of this “easy” trail compensate for all the hardships.
Read more about the Kalalau Trail here: Kalalau Trail on Kauai I All about the Na Pali Coast Hike
#2 Helicopter Flight over Kauai
As you can imagine, the view from the air is probably the most beautiful you can have of the Na Pali Coast. One of the best ways to experience Kauai and also the Napali Coast from the air is to take a helicopter flight over the island*.
In a one hour flight you will not only see the other highlights of the island (like Waimea Canyon) but also the spectacular Na Pali Coast. The helicopter flies a few hundred meters out to sea and allows you to have a view of the cliffs that you would otherwise never get.
We took such a scenic flight on Kauai and can say that it was one of the most beautiful experiences of our whole trip. The views – which I usually only know from my drone – were really indescribably beautiful and an unforgettable highlight of our trip.
You can book a helicopter sightseeing flight e.g. here: Helicopter sightseeing flight on Kauai*
#3 Boat Trip along the Na Pali Coast
You can get a similar perspective as from a helicopter (only a bit lower) on a boat trip along the Napali Coast. There are several operators who combine a boat trip with dinner, snorkeling or a trip into the caves of the Napali Coast.
Of course, there is also the possibility to make the whole thing a bit more sporty and take the trip with kayaks instead of a boat. Unfortunately, this is only possible in the summer.
No matter which option you choose, the trip will be unforgettable in any case, because the spectacular coastline of the Napali Coast you will not forget so quickly.
#4 Hiking in Waimea Canyon
Another great way to experience the beauty of the Na Pali Coast is to hike through Waimea Canyon. This canyon is one of the most beautiful highlights of Kauai and is located about 1200 higher than the coast and offers on one side the clay brown canyon and on the other side numerous hiking trails, some of which bring you scary close to the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.
The hiking trails here are partly official, but partly also unofficial and would probably have been closed off with a fence in Germany long ago. Here in Hawaii, however, you can easily walk only a few meters along the edge of the cliff next to which it is over 1000 meters steeply downhill.
How to find the best hiking trails in Waimea Canyon and what else you can experience here you can read here: Waimea Canyon Kauai | All info for your visit