The Kalalau Trail, the most famous of Kauai hikes, is known throughout the world as a beautiful, vast, remote, difficult, and dangerous.
Stretching 11 miles along the cost of the island of Kauai in Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail (or death trail to some) takes most hikers two days to make the round trip. Some expert hikers are able to complete the entire trail in just one day.
Listed as one of the most dangerous hikes in the entire world, visitors are asked to acquire permits to camp in the Kalalau Valley at rate of $20 per person per day. Access is controlled in order to maintain conservation.
Rising water levels, narrow trails including the crawlers ledge, heavy rains, mudslides, and falling rocks all contribute to the obvious risk of injury or death along the trail. In fact, in 2012, a woman fell to her death near the beach waterfall.
But for those brave enough to hike the Kalalau Trail, there will be memories made to last a lifetime and stories to tell each night at camp. Not to mention, there are numerous spine-tingling photo opportunities just around the corner.
Beauty and Danger on Kauai Hikes
The idea of Hawaii hikes usually means that you are going to see incredible views. However, the Kalalau Trail death toll shows that hiking on Kauai is also quite dangerous. There have been numerous Kalalau Trail deaths due to basic things like not respecting the Kalalau Trail crawlers ledge and subsequently plummeting hundreds of feet. That being said, the Kalalau Trail Kauai provides unbelievable vistas, so take your time and enjoy an amazing adventure.
Despite ample warning, these caution signs don’t seem to deter many hikers from braving the Kalalau Trail Kauai.
This steep portion of the trail sits 300 feet above the shoreline. One misstep would mean certain catastrophe for hikers and add to the many Kalalau Trail deaths.
Lots of Hazards Including the Crawlers Ledge
It’s always best to pack hiking poles when visiting the Kalalau Trail. The rocky path is as narrow as it is treacherous, especially when it culminates at the Crawlers Ledge.
As if the trail narrowing to just a foot in width isn’t dangerous enough, hikers must always be on the lookout for rocks falling from above. This is like many Hawaii hikes, unfortunately.
A steep upward ascent is the reward awaiting any hikers who dare to brave the Kalalau Trail despite the formidable Kalalau Trail death toll.
The breathtaking scenery can be deceiving. The beautiful lower tier of Waimakemake Falls may be beautiful, but it’s too shallow to swim in. This is why many people make the choice to go hiking on Kauai.
Be Careful So You Don’t Add to the Kalalau Trail Death Toll
Look out below! Wet, steep, and slippery rock edges are prevalent throughout the Kalalau Trail.
Rappelling is a common activity enjoyed by visitors to the Kalalau Trailer – just beware that neither the hiking nor the rappelling are well suited to beginners.
Those hikers who want the full experience are welcome to enter Box Canyon, which is prone to severe flash floor danger and frequent falling rocks.
There are hikers every year who end up in precarious situations, needing to be airlifted to safety due to flashfloods and other disasters. For that reason, permits are required to hike the Kalalau Trail. Even then, sometimes particular parts of the trail need to be closed for safety.
The pools of crystal clear water and falls strewn throughout are every bit as dangerous as they are beautiful.
Kalalau Trail Crawlers Ledge
Are you afraid of heights? Featured here is what is known as Crawler’s Ledge, and with good cause. Signs are all about warning hikers about the several hundred foot drop from the edge of the cliff to the ocean below. The Kalalau Trail Crawlers Ledge is dangerous – and beautiful.
Scenes Below the Crawlers Ledge
Still, from the bottom, the many waterfalls hikers can explore on the Kalalau Trail are gorgeous and tranquil and certainly does not look like a place called the death trail.
Sights and Sounds on Hawaii Hikes
Hopefully you don’t startle easily. Hikers are sometimes surprised to hear the sound of goats and chickens echoing in the distance as they navigate steep and dangerous cliff edges. This is one of the many reasons people choose to go on Kauai hikes.
It can be easy for hikers to be distracted by all the beauty that surrounds them. But safety comes first, so if you plan to hike the Kalalau Trail, keep your eyes forward!
Many hikers who want to take pictures find it difficult to do so without a panoramic lens. The sheer vastness of the Kalalau Trail makes it nearly impossible to do so.
There’s a daredevil in every crowd! Hikers are generally discouraged from taking shots like these at the edge of a cliff. But for those who are brave enough to do so, what they see below is a beautiful, albeit frightening sight and a reward for embarking upon Kauai hikes.
The Kalalau Trail and its surrounding parkland is a popular destination for adventure seekers. The miles of pristine shoreline offer an ideal environment for yoga.
Avoiding Kalalau Trail Deaths
Unless you are a mountain goat, it’s a good idea at points on the trail to grasp the edge, or crawl on your hands and knees.
The gusts of ocean breeze can help to keep hikers cool on hot, sunny afternoons in Hawaii.
The Beauty of the Kalalau Trail Kauai
One commonality shared by numerous hikers on the Kalalau Trail is the sense of isolation. Even though hikers are just a few miles from developed areas, the Kauai hike’s vast landscape creates a very different impression.
Your surroundings on the Kalalau Trail can change very quickly. Around every corner lies a new landscape to discover!
Still, the Kalalau Trail attracts a mix of hikers from the world over each and every year. Young, old, and from every corner of the globe, this Hawaiian gem is not to be missed.
Hiking on Hawaii is One of the Great Joys for Adventure Seekers
Just remember when hiking the Kalalau Trail – make every effort to keep both feet firmly planted on the trail at all times.