If you want to visit the Kalalau Trail in 2022, read this!

You must plan ahead!

I’ve been getting many emails every day with questions on how to visit the Kalalau Trail. I’ve created the following summary that answers most of the questions that I’ve been getting.

There will be a lot of visitors that hike the Kalalau Trail this year. There will also be thousands of visitors that won’t be able to see the trail because they didn’t plan ahead. Which category do you want to be in? You must plan ahead if you want to visit.

There may be road work that will affect your visit. Visit https://hidot.hawaii.gov/2021-hanalei-hill-landslide/ to find out the latest information on road closures.

There are two ways you can visit the trail. You can hike the whole trail (11-miles in and 11-miles back out) or you can hike the first 2-miles of the trail (Day-Use). It can get confusing as to what is required for each type of visitor. Hopefully this article will help you successfully plan your visit.

Hā’ena State Park Day-Use

The first 2-miles of the Kalalau Trail from Ke’e Beach to Hanakāpīʻai Beach is open for day-use without a permit. Visitors must have advanced reservations to enter Hā’ena State Park. Hā’ena State Park has a 900 visitor per-day limit.

A Day-Use Reservation will allow you to:

  • Visit Ke’e Beach
  • Hike 2-miles along the Kalalau Trail to Hanakāpīʻai Beach and back. (4-miles round trip)
  • Hike to Hanakāpīʻai Beach, and from there, hike 2-miles up a side trail to Hanakāpīʻai Falls and back? (8-miles round trip)

Reservations can be made up to 30-days in advance, and no later than the day before your visit. Reservations sell out quickly (very quickly) so I would recommend getting your reservation as soon as they become available (Midnight, Hawaii Time).

Reservation Methods

Visitors are able to get reservations and enter the park using one of the following methods:

  • Shuttle – Shuttle is the recommended option. Shuttle tickets sold roundtrip and include your entry into the park.
  • Drive in – Limited parking vouchers are available.  There are only 100 parking stalls.  30 of the stalls are reserved for locals, leaving only 70 stalls available for visitors.
    • You can reserve a parking voucher for $10/timeslot plus $5/person at this link: https://www.gohaena.com/ 
    • Parking Reservations can be made for the following times:
      • Morning (6:30am-12:30pm)
      • Afternoon (12:30pm-5:30pm)
      • Sunset (4:30pm-sunset)
    • Enter anytime after your timeslot begins but you MUST leave by the end time
    • All visitors named on reservation must arrive together in one vehicle (no multiple trips).
    • Make a separate reservation for each vehicle.
    • Cancel 3 days prior to your visit date for refund by emailing info@gohaena.com with the WS# you wish to cancel.
    • Note: If it won’t let you select a voucher for the day and time specified, they are sold out for that time.  Choose another date or time.
  • Entry Only Pass – You can walk, bike or arrange a private drop-off (and pickup) into Hā’ena State Park with an Entry Only Pass.  Get one for $5 at this link: https://www.gohaena.com/There is a limited amount of passes available
    • Note: If it won’t let you select a voucher for the day and time specified, they are sold out for that time.  Choose another date or time.
  • Pre-arrange a ride in and back out – If you want to pre-arrange a ride to or from the trail head, you can contact Kevin – Call or text at (973) 769-8854. Note: You will still need a reservation to get dropped off at the trail head.

Hawaii Residents: If you are a resident of the State of Hawai’i, and have the ID to prove it, you are exempt from the fee/reservation requirement. 30 local parking stalls are first-come, first-served. Anybody in your vehicle who doesn’t have a local ID, must have a reservation in order to enter.

Common Questions:

  • If someone does cancel their reservation, the first person to see the newly opened availability will have the opportunity to purchase it.
  • There is no waiting list.
  • The system has no way to notify you if someone cancels their reservations.
  • Reservations cannot be changed. If the date you want to visit changes, you must cancel your current reservation and make a new reservation if one is available.
  • If there are no open reservations, then you cannot visit the park. Remember to plan early next time.

Get more information about Hā’ena State Park Day-Use here or on our FAQ page here.

Kalalau Trail Map
Kalalau Trail Map

Permit to hike the full Kalalau Trail

Anyone proceeding along the Kalalau Trail past Hanakāpīʻai Valley (2 miles in) must possess a valid Napali Coast State Wilderness Park camping permit whether or not you plan to camp. This same permit allows you to camp at one of two different places: Hanakoa or Kalalau. Permits are $35 per-person per-day. Residents get a $10 discount. If you have a permit, you do not need to make a Day-Use reservation. Your permit will get you into Hā’ena State Park.

Violators of the permit policy may be cited, and those cited will be required to show up in court. Violation of this rule is a petty misdemeanor under Hawaiʻi law, and a conviction will result in a criminal record in addition to penalties.

Availability- The amount of people allowed on the trail at any one time is limited to a small number (Currently 60). Permits often sell out and during busy times of the year can sell out quickly. Currently the State is only issuing permits 90-days out (Up from 30-days earlier this year). Get your permits early to ensure you will be able to visit Kalalau. 

Local residents walk-in permits- An additional capacity of 20 people each night will be allowed from May 15-September 7.  These permits can be purchased up to 30 days in advance to walk-in applicants only, at the Kauaʻi State Parks Office in the State Office Building in Līhuʻe. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m.-11a.m., Tuesday through Thursday, each week through the summer.

Parking

In addition to a permit, you’ll also need a separate parking reservation or drop-off arrangement.

Limited overnight parking is available for campers with overnight permits for Napali Coast State Wilderness Park. Camping permits must be acquired from State Parks prior to purchasing overnight parking. Users will be charged for the number of days your vehicle occupies the lot (e.g. a one night stay will require paying for 2-days, a 4-night stay will require paying for 5-days, etc.) Visit GoHaena.com to reserve a parking spot.

Other overnight parking options include limited overnight parking at Aliʻi Kai Resort in Princeville. Call (808) 826-9988 for details and reservations. Finding legal overnight parking anywhere else on the North Shore is a problem. If you are staying at a hotel the night before you hike, I’d suggest arranging something with your hotel if they allow it. Or, ditch the rental car and taxi/rideshare into the trail head.

Online Permit System

You can check for permit availability and purchase camping permits online. Visit the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resource Online Reservation System to reserve your permit.

  • Visit the Hawaii DLNR reservation system at this link.
  • Click “Continue” at the bottom of the page.
  • Select Island “Kauai”.
  • Select Location “Napali Coast State Wilderness Park”.
  • Click “Continue” at the bottom of the page.
  • Browse for Availability.
  • Click Make Reservation at the bottom of the page. (You’ll have to create an account)

If you are coming to Hawaii to hike the trail, I always suggest getting your hiking permit before you get your plan ticket. I get hundreds of emails from visitors who make their travel arrangements first and then cannot get a hiking permit anytime during their visit. Don’t let this happen to you. There are no exceptions to the rule. A special permit will not be issued to you because you didn’t plan ahead.

Get more information about permits by visiting our Permit page.

Landslide

You may have heard about the landslide that happened last year and closed the road to the trial. The road is opened back up but you may run into road construction that makes travel time to the trail longer than normal.

Weather

Weather can affect your trip. Getting a permit is a risk. Just because you have a permit does not guarantee you will be hiking the trial. The State will close the trail if it deems the trail to be too dangerous. This is usually due to swollen streams during a storm. Hikers can die because the streams get moving too fast and they try to cross them anyway. If the trail is closed, you cannot hike. The State doesn’t pre-announce trial openings so if the trial is closed, they won’t tell you when it will open back up. When they decide it is no longer dangerous, they will open it.

Keep a watch on the weather in the days leading up to the hike. Find a back-up plan just in case the trial closes.

Additional Information

If you have additional questions, you can follow these links to help you find your answer:

Related Articles

29 Comments

  1. I am a resident on Oahu but I do not have a state license. I am a RN at Queens. Also hiking with someone in the military who is stationed at Schofield. If we have proof by address can we get overnight parking? We already have the camping permit to do Kalalau trail. Thanks!

    1. Overnight parking is limited. Being a local does not help. Being a local with a local ID will get you day parking. I’m not sure if they will allow take anything other than a photo ID.

    1. If you have a permit, it includes entry into the park. You can’t park your own car but you can come with whoever you would like.

  2. Hi!

    We squared away an overnight camping permit for Kalalau beach. Does this mean we can square away our own transportation to get into Hā’ena State Park? As mentioned above, our permit will allow us to enter the park? We won’t need to ride the shuttle? We won’t have a car so we won’t need to park.

    Thanks!
    Julie

    1. Permits include entry into the park. You just have to figure out how you will get to the park. Taxi, Uber, Drop off by friend, Hitchhike, Shuttle, etc. Once you get there, you will be let in.

  3. We purchased shuttle and entry pass online to hike to Hanakapi’ai falls but have to park at Waipa park. I can’t tell if I have the right pass, permit or whatever? I was surprised they were $35 per person so I am wondering if I got an overnight camping permit or accidently bought a time-share.

    1. If you are only hiking to Hanakapi’ai falls, you don’t need a permit, only a reservation. Getting to the trail is the tricky part. If you have someone that can drop you off, it’s easy and cheap. If not, you will have to get a shuttle or taxi/car service. You can get all your shuttle questions answered on GoHaena.com.

      1. I would double check this info because on the state park website it says all visitors must have a permit it says nothing about any day time or only hiking to the falls.

        From the parks website:
        Do I need a reservation to visit Hāʻena Sate Park? If you do not have a State of Hawaii driver license or state ID, you will need an ADVANCE paid reservation made online. All 3 types of entry include access to Ke‘e Beach lagoon and day hiking on Kalalau Trail as far as Hanakāpī’ai Beach and/or Hanakāpī’ai Waterfall. Hiking further or overnight camping requires permit (see camping).

        1. Permits and reservations are two different things. Permits are needed to hike the whole trail. Reservations are needed for day-use and only work for the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail.

    1. Milolli is a kayak in only campsite and is not connected to the Kalalau Trail. Having a permit to camp there does not allow you access to hike the Kalalau Trail.

  4. We were online this morning at 3 am (12 Hawaii time) to purchase our permits for our visit in exactly 90 days and right away everything was reserved. I am not able to click on the following date (will try tonight), although it appears as though tickets have already been purchased and there are only a few available. Seems like the permits are being purchase by a third party prior to being open to the public?? Thoughts? Is this possible?

    1. There are hundreds of people trying to get one of the 60 permits available. They sell out within seconds sometime. Have all your information filled out prior so all you have to do is click the button when the time comes. If you are filling out the forms when the time comes, you will be too late.

      Also, some permits sell out early because they are part of a larger purchase. If you get permits for 3 days starting on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday permits drop down even though others can’t get permits for those days yet. That is the system.

      Good Luck!

      1. I made a reservation for our family of 4 (I reserved the shuttle & entry pass) for $35 each. I also reserved us for a campsite at Kalopa State Recreation Area (permit cost $33) even though we will not be staying overnight. Now we can hike further than the 2 miles? Was what I did correct? Fingers crossed it was. Thanks for your help.

        1. The reservation and shuttle ride allow you into the park, only to hike along the Kalalau Trail 2 miles (You can also hike a side trail up to the falls and back). A camp permit at Kalopa is unrelated to the Kalalau Trail and does not give you any access to the Kalalau Trail in any way.

          If you want to hike the Kalalau Trail all the way to the end (or anywhere past the 2 mile mark) you need a Kalalau camping permit. If you had a Kalalau camping permit, you wouldn’t need a reservation to enter the park since the permit grants you access to park and the whole trail.

      2. Is it possible to travel by boat to the end of the trail and hike out the following day. Assuming I had a overnight permit.
        I know they were allowing it back in the 1980s

  5. Hi,

    I was fortunate to purchase the overnight camping permit for 9/20-22. I also purchased overnight parking for the same period. I figured that’s my best bet at assuring parking and access to the trail during that range of days.

    If I decide to just do day hikes, would I be allowed to exit and re-enter the park (and have a parking spot) as long as it is within the days covered on the permits?

    I can’t find an answer to this anywhere 😆

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Overnight parking is only for overnight campers. Technically, if you decide not to use your overnight permits, you should return them and get reservations. This opens up the permit to others who can use it. If not, you would be taking one of 60 permits given out per day and using it for day-use instead. Also, you would be taking up an, even more limited, overnight parking spot. You need to decide whether you are going to hike the whole trail before August. If you are not, you should return your permits and get reservations when they open up in August.

      1. Thanks! FYI I asked the question to the park, here is the response from GoHaena:

        aloha again,

        With regard to those who hold KALALAU TRAIL camping permits AND overnight parking reservations, our management team made a decision to allow re-entry on any date including in their permit/reservations for those who do not camp overnight on the trail. IDs will be checked at each entry, and all hikers must be named on the camping permit. Thank you and find other helpful details on our Info page “plan your visit” and “camping” sections.

  6. I live on Maui and have a state ID, are the 20 local permits available to all Hawaii state residents or only Kauai residents?

    Thanks

  7. Hi there,

    Is there any difference between a hiking permit and a camping permit? Would you be able to list the permits that I will need to hike the full trail?

    Thanks,

    Holly

    1. There is only one type of permit. If you just hike or if you camp, it’s the same permit. It’s the only permit that lets you hike past the 2 mile beach.

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