Hawaii: Hike Kauai’s Hidden Valley
Kauai’s remote Napali Coast is one of the most dramatic stretches of coastline in the world, with lush green cliffs rising as much as 4,000 feet from the rocky, crashing surf. At its heart is the Kalalau Valley, a remote Eden that was once farmed by native Hawaiians and is now only accessible via the Kalalau Trail. But this is no walk in the woods: The precipitous 11-mile (each way) route traverses five valleys and sheer rock faces, gaining 5,000 quad- burning feet.
THE ACTION: Pack enough camping gear for at least one night on the spectacularly isolated Kalalau Beach. Obtain a permit from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, then hit the trail at Ke’e Beach. Plan a full day of hiking in either direction. At Kalalau, pitch your tent on the beach, then cool off in the freshwater Kalalau Stream.
LIVING IT UP: Bookend your hike with some downtime in nearby Hanalei, a quaint surf town surrounded by mountains and set on a beautiful white-sand beach. Stay at Hanalei Surfboard House and catch live music at Tahiti Nui.
ESSENTIAL CARRY-ON: Hiking boots with aggressive tread, like La Sportiva’s Synthesis Mid GTX, are a must when warm winter rains turn the steep trail into a muddy, peanut-buttery Slip ’N Slide.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Lihue Airport, then drive one hour north to Ke’e Beach.
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