If there’s a holy grail of all hikes in Hawaii, it’s got to be the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. This 11-mile trek takes hikers into the heart of the Napali Coast, which is only seen by boat, by air, or on this hike. The trail starts at Ke’e Beach and ends at Kalalau Beach where there’s a campground. You have to have a permit for the campground, and since this hike requires two days (22 miles round trip), you essentially need a permit to do the full hike. This hike is super popular (a bucket list item for many) so you have to plan pretty far in advance to make this happen.
If you didn’t come quite so prepared for a 22-mile hike and the thought of it makes you want to reach for the nearest bag of donuts, don’t worry-you can still catch those ah-mazing views! The first two miles of the Kalalau Trail are open to day hikers (no permits required). If you’re only going to do one hike on Kauai, make this it! Don’t be scared off by harrowing tales of overnight hikers who had to cross 18” ledges with a sheer drop off into the ocean below, the first two miles of Kalalau, while strenuous, are very doable.