Hiking the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls, Kauai Hawaii

We landed on Kauai with a mission – to visit the elusive Hanakapi’ai Falls via the rugged Kalalau trail.  We’d learned about this adventure using the app, “Kauai Revealed”. According to our research, the four mile trek to Hanakapi’ai Falls had been described as moderate to strenuous.  We felt strong and prepared.


Let the Fun Begin!

When it comes to our treks, my friend Deedric and I have an unspoken level of competitiveness.  We loaded up our gear for the day; my gear consisted of my camera, while Deedric carried the remainder of our things – water, snacks, and my full-size camera tripod – a necessity for capturing images of the falls. The first mile of the hike involved a steep climb up a rocky, red-clay trail – a natural “slip and slide” of sorts. As I climbed, slipped and scrambled up the trail, I thought, “This is going to get interesting,” and it did.

view from the trailhead

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Did you lock the car?

About 1/4 mile in (and up) we stopped to enjoy the sights and (honestly) to catch our breath. We celebrated our awesome parking spot. “That’s what happens when you get up early”, Deedric laughed, “Wait, did you lock the car?”  I laughed.  “No, seriously, did you?”, he questioned.  “Umm, No”, I quickly replied, “You have the keys”.  Deedric returned to the car – our guidebooks had cautioned us of vehicle break-ins at the trailheads, we didn’t want to fall victim to thievery.

Deedric returned and we continued our trek.  We soon encountered a fit young couple heading the opposite direction.  Figuring the couple was returning from the falls, I asked, “Were the falls amazing?”.  “Ha”, the flip-flop clad woman said, “The trail was way too treacherous”; her male counterpart agreed.  “City kids”, I giggled as we continued, “How far did she really think she was going to get in flip-flops?”

you have been warned

You have been warned…

The 4-mile hike to the falls was challenging; we encountered warning signs, obscure trail markers, multiple river crossings, and more exhausted hikers. Despite the adversity, Deedric continued hauling the heavy pack over fallen trees, through bamboo forests, and up steep slopes while I flitted about capturing memories. I was quietly thankful I didn’t have to carry the pack; it looked heavy and was clearly taking its toll.

will you be number 83


The end is in sight

Along our route, we’d occasionally catch a glimpse of the falls – a distant promise of the impending reward at the end of the trail. Suddenly, we rounded a corner and had reached our destination! Deedric ran to the water which he described as “C-c-c-cold” while I set up the tripod, almost, there was piece missing.  “Deedric, did you bring that piece that hooks my camera to the tripod”, I asked. “Um, no, you have the camera”, he replied.  I sheepishly apologized. Yes, I’d left the camera attachment in the car and the tripod was lugged to our destination in vain.

Hanakapi'ai Falls first look


Without the tripod, we were still able to capture great photos and video of our trek to Hanakapi’ai Falls and we returned to the trailhead victorious. Despite the challenges we’d encountered, Deedric and I had accomplished our mission and continue to adventure together today.

 Adventure Buddies

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