Kalalau Valley

The Kalalau Valley is located in the Napali Coast State Park and houses the Kalalau Beach, set on the northwestern side of the Kauai Island in the US State of Hawaii. The valley is one of the earth’s most beautiful natural wonders, including a remote beach framed by grooved peaks. Hawaiians valued its beauty and worth as well, as it was the most inhabited of the Na Pali Coast valleys, where a vast community once flourished, and are believed to have lived there until the 20th century. Now, only those who obtain legal permits can visit this unspoiled land, where the Na Pali Coast is located in it, which is only accessible by kayak or by hiking the Kalalau Trail. 

Geography And Climate In The Kalalau Valley

Kalalau Valley
A beautiful landscape view of the Kalalau Valley under a blue sky on a beautiful sunny day on Kauai Island, Hawaii. 

Kalalau Valley’s ground is wide and relatively flat, framed by cliffs reaching more than 2,000 feet high. The valley is ranked as the largest valley along the coast, crossing two miles wide and two miles in depth, stretching backward. The valley is reached by a trail which is an 11-mile hike away from the last northern point on the north coast at Kee beach and a mile away from the beach of Kalalau. Also, the valley hosts a trail that stretches two-mile leading to the beautiful Hanakapiai Beach.

Kalalau Valley’s summers are hot and cloudy, just like the rest of Kauai Island. The winters are comfortable and humid, with mostly clear conditions. The average daily temperatures range between 19 °C and 29 °C and are hardly below 16 °C or above 30 °C. For tourists, the best time to visit Kauai Island for hot-weather activities is between May and October.

History Of Kalalau Valley

Kalalau Valley was inhabited by the native Hawaiian tribes, where about 2500 people used to live. It is believed that the Kalalau Valley was inhabited until 1919, farming taro from a massive complex of adjoining fields. Today, staying in the valley is illegal without a permit from the state. Kauai Island, which is the home of the valley, is considered to be the oldest inhabited of the main Hawaiian Islands and the only island that King Kamehameha did not occupy to unite all the Hawaiian Islands.

Habitat And Biodiversity Of Kalalau Valley

Flowers in the Kalalau Valley
Flowers in the Kalalau Valley. 

Throughout the years, the valley wasn't as rich as the other islands with their tropical selection of animals. However, Kalalau valley has been home to several distinctive bird species like akeʻake, ʻao, amahiki, etc. However, some birds are continuously endangered due to the approach of invasive species and changes in land utilization. Those endangered species now rely on conservation groups that help improve their population. On the other hand, many tropical trees are spreading over the Kalalau valley and trail. The most common plants are screwpine and O'hia trees, in addition to the wide presence of Taro, Maia, and Wauke plants.

Top Attractions In Kalalau Valley

Kalalau Lookout

Looking over the Kalalau Valley from the Kalalau Lookout
Looking over the Kalalau Valley on the Na Pali Coast from the Kalalau Lookout at 4,000ft, near Wai'ale'ale in Waimea Canyon State Park on the west side of the island of Kauai, Hawaii. 

                                                                                                                                    

The Kalalau lookout peaks at 4,00 feet above sea level, where visitors can find the Kalalau lookout after the 18-mile mark on Kokee road. Kalalau Lookout offers a unique viewing experience overlooking the Kalalau Valley and Na Pali Coast. 

Kalalau Trail

A young man hiking along the Kalalau Trail in the Na Pali Coast State Park in Kauai, Hawaii
A young man is hiking along the Kalalau Trail in the Na Pali Coast State Park in Kauai, Hawaii. 

The Kalalau is probably the most frequently used hiking trail in Hawaii, spreading over 11 miles. An estimation of 50,000 visitors uses this spectacular trail annually. The trail is located between the ocean and the towering bluffs of the Na Pali Coast and drops to sea level at the Hanakapiai and Kalalau beaches. The Kalalau Trail offers the only land access to this part of the uneven coast and is usually presented in guide books, on travel websites, and on travelers’ blogs. Visitors need a state permit obtained from the division of State Parks to pass across the Hanakapiai Stream or Hanakapiai Falls.

Waterfall coming off the cliff onto the beach at Kalalau on the Napali Coast, the northern shore of Kauai.
Waterfall is coming off the cliff onto the beach at Kalalau on the Napali Coast, the northern shore of Kauai. 

Moreover, the Valley is adjacent to a couple of beaches that endorse breathtaking views of rugged coastline and classic Napali coastlines, like Hanakapiai, Kee, and Kalalau beaches. Unfortunately, those beaches are not safe to swim in due to the surf and rip currents that are dangerous and often highly treacherous, especially in winter when high surf conditions conquer, leading to fatal accidents. Still, campers and hikers can enjoy the scenery of Hawaiian beaches.

The factors that make the Kalalau Valley and its trail so hazardous are the same ones that make it an incredible place to visit and experience. The area hosts a stunning blend of Hawaiian scenery, featured by vibrant blue waters, joined with tall mountain peaks and woodland valleys studded with waterfalls and streams, in addition to the wildlife, which often attracts photographers and those with an appreciation for the virgin wilderness.

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