Kaua‘i’s legendary Na Pali Coast is often cited as one of the most beautiful places on earth, and with good reason. Miles of verdant mountains frame the coastline, concealing waterfalls and lush valleys within its emerald folds and framing a handful of picturesque beaches accessible only by foot or by boat. Here, five spectacular ways to enjoy the scene.
ON THE GROUND
The famous (or infamous) Kalalau Trail has earned its reputation as one of the nation’s most challenging hikes. The 22-mile round-trip trail is both treacherous and spectacular as it hugs the sheer cliffs high over the Pacific. A day hike will get you to the first beach of Hanakapi‘ai, while the full loop to Kalalau will require camping gear and permits.
FROM THE BACK
To see the Kalalau Valley from the mountainside, head to Koke‘e State Park on the west side of the island. The Kalalau and Pu‘u O Kila lookouts offer views of the ridgeline, with the latter home to a short but sweet hike offering a look into the valley. Go early to avoid the all-too-ubiquitous cloud cover. When the skies clear, the views are unparalleled.
UP IN THE AIR
A helicopter tour of the Na Pali Coast is by far the most glamorous way to enjoy the Garden Isle. Safari Helicopters’ Deluxe Waterfall Safari will take you over the lush, remote interior of the island and along the Na Pali Coast for a full 360-degree experience. 3225 Akahi St., Lihue, 246.0136, safarihelicopters.com
SAIL THE HIGH SEAS
Take in the coastline by sea on Captain Andy’s 65-foot Gold Coast yacht, their snorkel tour with a luxury upgrade. The five-hour tour will take you from Port Allen in Hanapepe along the coast to experience hidden coves, dolphins and snorkeling. 335.6833, napali.com
From mid-April to mid-October, Kalalau can be accessed by kayak with Napali Kayak. Join the day trip for a spectacular 17-mile paddle boasting aquamarine water, sea caves and the views of the sheer, fluted cliffs. For the adventurous traveler, camping trips can be arranged. 5075 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei, 826.6900, napalikayak.com