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Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast


Growing up surrounded by Kauai’s ample natural beauty, it is no wonder that one of Mainei Kinimaka’s favourite things to do when she’s at home is exploring the abundance of hiking trails on offer.

On her most recent adventure, Mainei and close photographer friend Bryanna Bradley hit the lush Hanakapi’ai Falls trail, a moderately challenging route which winds its way through the spectacular island landscape.

Scroll down for their hiking guide and trail essentials, plus a gentle reminder to a) get outdoors or b) book a ticket to Kaua’i asap. Or both.

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast

I love to switch up my training by taking it outdoors, and one of my favourite ways to do that is hiking! So, I’m going to share one of my favourite hikes on my home island of Kauai on the Nā Pali Coast Trail.


Hike: Hanakapiai Falls & Beach

Distance: 8 Miles round trip to the falls, 4 Miles round trip to the Beach

Location: North Shore

Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast

Anytime I go hiking, I always make sure I pack the essentials before I begin. These include a large insulated water bottle, a good pair of running shoes, a hat and sunscreen for sun protection. Once that’s in order I am ready to go!

The hike starts at the most northwestern point of the island and will take you two miles to the scenic Hanakapiai beach. Or, if you’re feeling up for a challenge, four miles to Hanakapiai falls at the base of the valley. The first two miles cover the beginning of the famous Kalalau trail stop and enjoy the view at the half mile marker, as this is the only way you can see the Nā Pali Coast without a boat or a helicopter.

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast

As you descend onto the beach, you’ll come across Hanakapiai stream, which you will need to cross to get to the beach and continue to the falls. The stream is normally very easy to cross during summer months, but take caution when crossing if it’s recently rained and the water level is high. Do also read and obey all posted warnings. Hanakapiai beach has no lifeguard and is known for its unseen currents and hazardous shore break, so swimming is typically only recommended in the summer.

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast

The next two miles will take you straight into the heart of the valley. You’ll follow along the river through lush forests until you reach one of my favourite waterfalls on Kauai. The falls are so high you might leave with a sore neck from trying to look all the way to the top! Make sure to bring a lunch and dig in at the base of the falls, and don’t even think about leaving without taking a plunge into some of the freshest and chilliest water on island.

Take a Hike with Mainei Kinimaka along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast







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