I spent last week with the Store Division from Automattic at their meetup on Kauai. Toward the end of the meetup Ben, Peter, Joe, and I day-hiked the Kalalau Trail. The trail runs 11 miles along the north coast of Kauai across an area with extremely minimal development.
You start out hiking through lush terrain that follows a well-trafficked trail. Lots of people hike the first 2 miles in to a beach.
That first beach at 2 miles in sits right below a flowing stream. You can take a 2-mile side trip up the valley to a waterfall. We were looking to do the entire trail, though, so we skipped the waterfall.
From there you continue up and down along the cliffs parallel to the coastline. The contrasts are just beautiful as you have the dense green plants growing right out to the ocean.
Around the 6.5 mile mark you come out of the lush vegetation and hit a much drier section of switchbacks. It leads you down to the literal edge of the cliff.
We were looking at the trail and almost confused about where it went as it curled out of sight. Turns out where it goes is just right on around the edge of the cliff. Fun stuff.
Coming back the other direction you can get a sense of how the trail winds its way around.
And when you’re hiking around that corner the trail doesn’t give you a lot to go on.
At 9.5 miles in we paused for a bit. There was a nice elevated point you could walk out to and get a view up both directions of the coast and back in to the valley behind the trail.
It was already 1:00pm by this point so Joe and I turned back for a more relaxed hike back. Peter and Ben ran, literally, the remaining 1.5 miles to the beach at the end of the trail. After Joe took a quick power nap…
We headed back along the trail. I took a brief stop about 5 miles from the trailhead to wash my feet off and cool down a bit in a stream flowing through one of the side valleys.
We got back to the van about 9.5 hours after we left that morning. The sun was just setting which meant Ben and Peter had about 30 minutes of hiking in the dark.
We then drove all the way back to the south shore where we were staying and promptly plopped down in the hot tub for a good long while. Overall was one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. It was a fairly demanding 19 miles but so worth it.