Running the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai

Running the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai


Most people take at least two days to comp lete the 22 mile round trip. Camping at either a stream near the 6 mile mark, or at Kalalau Beach at the end of the trail. Our plan was to travel fast and light, stopping en route only for photos and to filter water. So here we are about a half-hour in, we started at 7. We’re already sweating bullets. It’s super muggy. We’re expecting a lot of showers today, so I think the trail’s going to get pretty slick which could s low us down a little bit. But we’re hoping to finish in about 6-8 hours
maybe. Of course we brought headlamps and all the
10 essentials just in case. I’ve got my inReach GPS because there is no cell service, so if you turn an ankle out here you’re in trouble. Oh, and there’s our first rainbow! So you do need a permit to go past this 2
mile marker. That’s something that’s changed since 2015. That includes for day-hiking,
whether you’re camping or not. And unfortunately,
the permits sell out months in advance. So if you’re planning a trip be sure to book your permit before your flight. So it took us just over 4 hours to get to
the end of the trail. That was with a lot of photo breaks so we’re hoping to make up a bit of time on the way back. But this is beautiful. It took us a total of 8.5 hours, including
just a half-hour at the beach, for the 22 mile round trip, with over 6,500 feet of elevation gain plus equal descent. A few days later, we’d return to the coast
for a slightly different perspective on the trail.

85 thoughts on “Running the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai

  1. I always love watching your videos. This one too is so beautiful, and also came at perfect timing to push me out of winter lazyness and get out there to run around again 🙂 thank you – and have a nice weekend!

  2. Fantastic movie of the trail! great job! Am headed there myself in 7 weeks, can't wait! Which Salomons did you wear to navigate the soft trail? Was gonna bring my Speedcross 4 but it seems that you managed well without the extra grip.

  3. Amazing work Jeff.. what a place to run in! Please check out my travel pieces when you've got a minute!

  4. Just came back from Kaua'i, and we were able to visit Ke'e Beach. Now I'll have to plan on coming back to do this…

  5. I did the Kalalau Trail a few weeks ago. I remember how brittle the rock of Crawlers Ledge was. A hairraising experience. I saw trail runners, but I can not imagine running along there. I had to do it slow and carefully, LOL. Uploaded my own video just a few hours ago.
    I love your video. So well done.

  6. Beautiful footage.  This looks tough and dangerous.  I'm not a hiker and would love to try it but some of the shots look like my clumsy non-swimming self could too easily slip, fall and forever be lost in the ocean lol O.O

  7. I did this trail from Kalalau to Keʻe Beach in mid-January 1980. First, we were dropped off on Honopu to spend one night (it is now illegal for helicopters to land on that beach and I agree with this-we were on one of the very last landings), then picked up and dropped off on Kalalau where we camped for about ten days or so. I was five months pregnant at the time and kayaking/swimming to Honopu would have been too much (no boat tours back then), hence our choice of an helicopter.

    It was a tough hike out of there,–we got lost on numerous goat trails along the way because the "human" trail had been washed out in many places due to a huge storm about three weeks before we hit trail. We ended up sleeping on an incline on the right side of the trail while hiking out because we had no idea how far away from Hanakapiai we were and gave up on trying to get there in the dark.

    Overall, I'm very happy I did this trail and I love this video which brings back memories of it for me. The views were amazing and we got to gorge on lilikoi the whole way back because–at the time–they grew wild all along the trail.

    My son, born end of April that year, not quite four months after this hike, is now an avid hiker and rock climber. I wonder where he got that from ? 🙂

  8. Great vid…you animals…..and always fun to have the front seat in the helicopter….great day for video that day too!

  9. We did the similar thing from Yosemite Tuolumne meadow to Hetchy Hetchy, mostly down hill, about the same distance. Not as muddy and slippery though, that's the toughest issue, and the heat(94F)/humidity(close to 100%)! Good video. Got to out run the mosquitoes(Same issue in Yosemite)!

  10. Hi,

    I’m working for Jetlag (https://www.facebook.com/Jetlagbydemotivateur), wich is the biggest media about travel in France with more than 400K followers on Facebook. Each month, our content reaches a very important audience online and our videos are viewed by almost 40 millions of people all over the world.

    We want to make a video report about Na Pali Coast (in Kauai, Hawaii) and really loved what you've shot. That's why we're asking you the right to use parts of them.

    If you agree, it will be publish on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Of course, your account will be credited on screen and tag with a clickable link. This is a great opportunity for your work to become more and more famous. Actually, this is a winning collaboration for both of us. So it would be a real pleasure to work with you.

    If you need to see some examples of video content that we post on Jetlag, look here :

    https://www.facebook.com/Jetlagbydemotivateur/videos/vl.702723019888122/1904266566488005
    https://www.facebook.com/Jetlagbydemotivateur/videos/vl.702723019888122/1887206024860726
    https://www.facebook.com/Jetlagbydemotivateur/videos/vl.702723019888122/1923634601217868

    Please let us know if you agree,
    Thanks !

  11. If packing light, could a "normal" person only usually jogging twice a week do this in a day do you think? Or are the two of you some kind of amazing creatures?

  12. It's a bummer that the permits are so hard to get without waiting 2-6 months. I live here on Kauai and can think of no better place to enjoy this running art.

  13. 119 days for a re vist. Thanks for taking the time to show what it takes to make this trip. I have wanted to swim the almost 7 miles and run the 11 back. Great video. Keep them coming.

  14. Incredible Video Jeff, You went fast and head with a DSLR… well done. I love your style of story telling. Im headed out there to do a rescue run. How fast can i get out there and bring out the weight of a injured person. You never know when you might need to do that

  15. That is one amazing adventure! Running the trails in Hawaii such a different experience! Great video by the way!

  16. Wow epic videos guys. I can't believe you captured the sights of the trip so well while running that crazy trail. Keep up the good work. Subbed.

  17. Captivating … an eight minute video never went by so fast! I'm older and I know I'll never take that trail, but this gives a great feeling of what it's like. I would have liked to see more scenery shots, as well as "reaction shots" of the two of you.

  18. I feel like I'm watching NBC's "Dateline". I just don't know yet which one of them won't be coming home.

    I would like an advance copy of all of your travel itineraries so I can take out a double-indemnity policy on both of you to hedge my bets. Just joking, kind of.

  19. My goodness, what an incredible adventure you had! The Garden Isle is just beyond breathtaking and I cannot wait until I visit it my first time in Feb '19 for my birthday! This will be my 3rd Hawaiian Island. Each time I visit, it's harder to leave & I feel a truly genuine pull here on such a soulful level – my heart's home! Thank you for uploading such amazing footage – I wish I was in as good shape as you and your friend so I could brave the trek, think I'll stick to a chopper! LOL – Aloha!

  20. Kauai looks like one of the most beautiful places on Earth! Definitely on the bucket list! Would love to do this hike with a loved one some day! And a helicopter ride over that scenery wow ! I’d die happy haha,,Very well shot and edited ☺️

  21. Wow nice work! Can’t believe you were running on those cliffs. Looks beautiful, though! We saw this trail from way up above. 🙂

  22. wow, great video! I have always wanted to do that trail and wondered what it really looked like and how scary it could be. your video really captured that for me! A bucket list item for sure!

  23. Hopefully next time you go you can cut that time in half. Here's some suggestions in improving your "time" : Run-punching. Run-punching is something I invented a few years ago while watching a movie about prison breaks..talk about ignoring your environment and focusing on covering ground..nothing says stabbing your way over long distances and terrain like a freed felon with bloodhounds on their trail!! ..but I digress. Run-punching is the practice of passing fellow hikers on trails at a dead run and punching them out of the way with whatever fist is appropriate for the side of the trail they're on. This is extremely effective when hikers, walkers and lollygaggers are stopping incessantly on trails to take pictures and observe things, talk or..God forbid..reminisce on the beauty of something blah blah blah.. you get the point. I reccomend aiming for the neck or kidneys. This action also pairs well with Scream-Pic'ing.
    Scream-Pic'ing is kind of a happy offshoot or spinoff of Run-punching. I, sadly, had a twinge of emotion last year while BLAZING down the Grand Canyon and decided to take a few obligatory pics. I discovered that if you held out your camera or phone while running, holding down the shutter button…all while screaming like one of those goats on YouTube.. the "slow pokes" as I call them really get out of your way and you can effectively shorten your time by a full meaure!! Good luck! I hope this helps and remember.. the slower you are the weaker you are!!!!

  24. That was an amazing video! I'm heading to Kauai at the end of May. There were a couple of questions that I have that weren't answered by the video. What type of trail running shoes do you recommend for the trails in Kauai? What water filtration were you using on your hike? Thank you for sharing that amazing video.

  25. I just released a video game version of the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai
    and then on to Hanakapi'ai Falls. If you are waiting for the Trail to re-open,
    check out "The Kalalau Trail" at https://gumroad.com/l/kalalautrail

  26. I just released a video game version of the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai
    and then on to Hanakapi'ai Falls. If you are waiting for the Trail to re-open,
    check out "The Kalalau Trail" at https://gumroad.com/l/kalalautrail

  27. For more information on the the Kalalau Trail check out the State of Hawaii's Division of State Parks website.

    http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/hiking/kauai/kalalau-trail/

  28. Read my full trip report, including a map with our route and some additional safety considerations, on my website at: http://jeffpelletier.com/running-the-kalalau-trail

  29. Are there different types of trails you can choose like an easy one for beginners? Or maybe a shorter one that dont take 8 hours to walk

  30. Wow you guys did amazing job – I couldnt never able to do something like that – what kind of shoes did you guys wear to avoid slippery on that trail ?!

  31. Love this run/hike. Truly the most magical place on earth. It has turned into a tradition for us and we we do it everytime we go to Kauai. Brutally strenuous doing it in one day but thats the only way we've done it.

  32. Very well done! Thank you for producing a high quality, concise video highlighting this trail. Makes me want to come hike this trail!

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