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Na Pali Coast Ohana
 Committed to protect, preserve and educate

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About Nāpali

Nā Pali is Hawaiian for the cliffs
  From the thousand foot spiked Pali that soar overhead to the remnants of the Hawaiians of centuries ago, everywhere you look in Nāpali is a wonder for the eyes. Learn more about our work at Nuʻalolo Kai. Photo courtesy of www.napaliphoto.com

Nāpali Coast State Park, a breathtaking wilderness area on the north shore of the island of Kauai, stretches along 12 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Nāpali Coast is a very special place. The cliffs provide a rugged grandeur of deep, narrow valleys ending abruptly at the sea. Waterfalls and swift flowing streams continue to cut these narrow valleys while the sea carves cliffs at their mouths. Extensive stone walled terraces, house platforms and temple structures can still be found on the valley bottoms where Hawaiians once lived, farmed, and worshipped.

You've probably seen the beauty of this coast already — Nāpali is prominently featured in most advertisements for Hawaiʻi, in travel magazine articles, and as the setting for TV commercials and Hollywood films.

The State Parks Division grapples daily with trying to manage Nāpali's 6,175 acres of wilderness, home to countless cultural and archaeological sites, threatened native ecosystems, and many known and yet to be discovered endangered species.

An estimated 150,000 people visit the park annually. Presently, however, there is not a single full-time employee dedicated to the protection of this park.

Learn more about the many problems facing the park.

The Kalalau Trail

The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. The trail traverses 5 major valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by sheer, fluted cliffs. The 11-mile trail is graded but almost never level as it crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakāpiʻai and Kalalau, each containing camping areas.

Originally built in the late 1800s, portions of the trail were rebuilt in the 1930s. A similar foot trail linked earlier Hawaiian settlements along the coastline.

Kalalau is also accessible by boat, and kayaking is an alternate way to see the coast under one's own power.

Today, Kalalau Valley at the end of the trail serves as one of the premiere backpacking destinations on the planet.

Boat Access Only

Day use is permitted at Nuʻalolo Kai and Miloliʻi, two areas west of Kalalau which are accessible only by boat during periods of calm surf. Nuʻalolo Kai, a small land area backed by sheer cliffs and fronted by a protecting reef, is presently the focus of the Nā Pali Coast ʻOhana's enhancement efforts. Containing a spectacular array of fragile cultural and archaeological sites nestled into this small area, Nuʻalolo is visited daily by commercial boat tours with permits.

The State Parks Nuʻalolo Kai Archaeological Resource Management Project has been carried on since 1996 and with the combined efforts of State Parks, DLNR, the Nā Pali Coast ʻOhana volunteers and the Nāpali coast boat companies, all who have worked together to make this one of the most successful curatership programs in Hawaiʻi. Over the summer months of May to September, work groups arrive in Nuʻalolo with the help of the tour boat companies that service the coast. The main objective has been to map and document all the existing Hawaiian sites, so that condition can be assessed and a long-term caretaking plan can be implemented. To date over half of the sites have been documented, yet on almost every trip new sites are discovered.

Updated: 2014-05-16T07:29:03-1000 (HST)