The rugged and lush Na Pali Coast is a downright essential stop for any trip to Kauai.
Picture the breathtaking backdrops of famous films such as "Jurassic Park" and "Avatar." Waterfalls, rainbows, giant ferns, wild goats and crashing turquoise waves are the norm.
The challenging Kalalau Trail is on the northwest side of Kauai and is part of the Na Pali Coast State Park. The 11-mile (each way) trek starts uphill and winds through steep cliffs, wet gulches and open ridges, ending at a remote beach in Kalalau Valley. The views are worth the pain endured by the steep and often narrow trail; but be warned: The Sierra Club rates it a nine out of 10 in degrees of difficulty.
Once at the beach, set up camp and prepare to be floored by the most incredible, unimaginable starry sky. It’s common to spend one or more nights at the beach (perfect for tired feet), which requires a permit.
Not quite ready for this advanced hike? This coast is also accessible by boat or from a helicopter tour.
And don't forget these trail essentials: