Na Pali Coast, Kauai: Heaven on Earth

By Coco Zickos
Photo:  Alena Nicholas.  Na Pali Coast State Park

Photo: Alena Nicholas.

Nā Pali Coast State Park is touted as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Regal mountains and fluted peaks embellished with dramatic sea caves and valleys make it the epitome of paradise.

Ancient Hawaiians once resided within the many valleys in this esteemed locale. Their communities thrived, obtaining sustenance from fishing or harvesting produce like taro. Kalalau Valley nurtured the largest Nā Pali Coast community and continues drawing people to its cathedral-like beauty.

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The Famous Na Pali Coast Hike – Kalalau Trail

Photo:  David S., member.  Na Pali Coast State Park

A starry night on Kalalau Beach. Photo: David S., member.

You can’t gain access to this dramatic untouched portion of the island, however, unless you plan a tour or embark on a treacherous hike. The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile hike only for the adventurous who lack a fear of heights. Camping for at least one or two nights in the embrace of this valley carved out by rain millions of years ago is the only feasible way to set out on this trip. It’s a commitment, but the rewards of being under a blanket of stars and hearing the sound of the ocean at night are completely worth it.

A Na Pali Coast Tour by Boat

Photo:  Kit Furderer.  Na Pali Coast State Park

Photo: Kit Furderer.

Anyone with steady sea legs could also consider a journey via vessel to see this gorgeous coast. Tours that embark from the north or south shores cover different grounds and some stop for snorkeling while others look for whales. Most will take you past the famous Nā Pali Coast State Park valleys including Honopū, Nuʻalolo, Miloli‘i and Kalalau. You’ll get to view the remarkable differences between each and gaze at the massive reach of the mountains towering some 3,000 feet above you. Pristine beaches and dense foliage are among the sights that artistically blend into some of the most beautiful vistas in the world.

Na Pali Coast Tour by Plane or Helicopter

Photo:  Alena Nicholas.  Na Pali Coast State Park

Photo: Alena Nicholas.

For the most comprehensive tour of the Nā Pali Coast State Park, a small plane or helicopter is your best bet. It’s also the perfect opportunity to just sit back and relax while you enjoy the incredible view. Buzz close to mountain tops dripping with waterfalls and dip into the valleys below and get a bird’s eye perspective of this inaccessible region that few are lucky enough to traverse.

Don’t Miss Out on the Na Pali Coast State Park

One thing is certain. You can’t visit Kaua‘i without seeing the Nā Pali Coast State Park in all its glory and getting a snap shot of what it might have been like to live among the many communities that once called this heavenly place home. Click here for information about Nā Pali Coast State Park regulations for hiking, camping, and boating (including kayaking).

See Also:
Hiking the Kalalau Trail
Hike to Hanakapiai Valley
Kayaking the Nā Pali Coast
Kalalau Valley
Tour the Nā Pali Coast

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