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Hanakapiai Beach Hike – Kauai, Hawaii

Napali Coast – Kauai, Hawaii


Beautiful beaches and scenery, wildlife


It’s about a 4 mile round trip

Parking Lot Elevation

24 ft

Summit Elevation

535 ft at highest point then drops back down to sea level

Elevation Gain/Loss

511 ft

Time Required

2-5 hours


Not allowed


No fees

Water Info

Bring 2+ liters of water. This is a hot hike so please bring more water than you think you will need

Best Season



Open year round

Sun Exposure

Lots of shade but still hot

Trail Condition

Trail is a dirt path all the way to the beach. It’s about a 4 mile round trip


At trailhead

Visitor Center





Bring a meal and snacks


Bring good hiking shoes, bag for water and food, sunglasses, hat, camera

GPS Coordinates

Trailhead: 22° 13.223’N, 159° 34.967’W
Hanakapiai Beach: 22° 12.555’N, 159° 35.877’W

Trail Map

Driving Directions

The Trail:

Here we are at the trailhead

Here we are at the trailhead

The trail starts off next to Kee Beach.  Parking may be hard to find so you may just have to park farther away up the street.

Here is the trailhead

Here is the trailhead

Follow the street up to Kee Beach and you will see a trailhead sign that points northwest to the Napali Coast trail which is called the Kalalau Trail.

Pausing for a photo

Pausing for a photo

The trail is steep in places but it is still wide and accessible for traffic going both to and from the coast.  There are many opportunities for amazing pictures of the ocean and coast line.  This is truly one of the most memorable hikes I have been on.

The trail going to Hanakapiai Beach

The trail going to Hanakapiai Beach

When we did this hike we saw hundreds of hikers going to and from Hanakapiai Beach.  The trail to Hanakapiai Beach is only a smaller segment to a much longer trail which continues on up the Napali Coast but it would have taken us two days to hike to the very end and we were only in Kauai for a week.

We were more than just fine hiking to the beach but someday I would love to return and hike all the way to the end.

Hanakapiai Beach Hike

Hanakapiai Beach Hike

Anyway, during the hike we saw several guava trees and stopped to taste the fresh fruit.  The plants and trees make this hike incredible.  It is constantly green and lush and you feel like you are in a Jurassic Park movie…maybe because parts of the movie were actually produced here in Kauai.

Hanakapiai Beach

Hanakapiai Beach

At about the 1 mile mark you will see Hanakapiai Beach in the distance.  But at this point you still have about .83 miles to go until the actual beach.  Fortunately, it is mostly downhill from here.

Hanakapiai Beach Hike

Hanakapiai Beach Hike

The creek near Hanakapiai Beach

The creek near Hanakapiai Beach

As you approach the beach you will need to cross a creek.  This is a beautiful spot but it can be very dangerous when there are recent rains.  While we were here we saw a family of feral cats hanging out around the hoards of people eating lunch.

Hanakapiai Beach Hike

Hanakapiai Beach

Hanakapiai Beach

And finally here is Hanakapiai Beach.  It is a very dangerous beach to go swimming at so it is not recommended that you enter or go close to the water.  We spent about an hour relaxing and hanging by the beach.

Hanakapiai Beach

Hanakapiai Beach

Here is the beach from up above on the trail.

Hanakapiai Beach

Hanakapiai Beach

There are signs in the area that discourage people from getting close to the water.  The currents are very strong here so please be careful.

Hanakapiai Beach Hike

The Return:

Head back along the trail to the parking lot

Personal Thoughts:

If you plan to visit Kauai this is a MUST do hike.  It will take the majority of your day to drive there and actually hike the trail but you will not regret doing it.Trek Planner Logo

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The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek.  If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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1 Comment on "Hanakapiai Beach Hike – Kauai, Hawaii"

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[…] I’ve heard that there is a rumored extremely steep and dangerous trail to the bottom of the canyon but I haven’t found such a trail and you would probably fall to your death trying to follow one.  You can hike to this valley from the bottom by starting at the Hanakapiai Beach Hike. […]