Kalalau Trail is Now Open But There Are Changes

Reservations required for all Hāʻena State Park visitors

Sven Bannuscher
Photo by: Sven Bannuscher – The Kalalau Trail, one of the hardest hiking trails in the world along the Nāpali Coast

As of June 17, 2019, the Kalalau Trail is officially reopened and ready for visitors.

Hāʻena State Park and Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park (Including the Kalalau Trail) were closed in April 2018 due to severe flooding and damage to the parks and roads after several storms that hit Kaua’i’s north shore. The area saw 50 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.

Prior to the closures, the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) had been considering changes in their park management strategies to provide a better visitor experience while also protecting the surrounding communities and natural resources.

During the 14-month closure, while Kūhiō Highway was under major construction, the DLNR finalized it’s new master plan and worked to implement new changes when the parks reopened. Some of the changes implemented as of the re-opening on June 17, 2019 are listed below.

A new 100 stall parking lot has been built to accommodate all private-vehicles. Parking along the street is no longer allowed. Overnight parking is also no longer allowed.  Along with the new parking rules, parking fines have increased to $200 per violation.

All day-use visitors to Hāʻena State Park are required to purchase online reservations (https://www.gohaena.com/) prior to their arrival. This includes visitors entering in private-vehicles, shuttles (kauaiNSshuttle.com) or walking/biking in. Reservations will be limited in number to prevent overcrowding. Approximately 70 parking stalls are set aside for reservations while about 30 stalls are for locals to use (no reservation needed, first come-first served). The park will be open daily from 6:30am until sunset.

Even though the Kūhiō Highway is now open, there is still construction going on. Also, the day-use process at Hāʻena State Park is still new and there may be issues that cause a slow-down in the system. Visitors are cautioned to be patient and plan ahead for delays.

Day-use visitors will include those visitors going to:

  • Kēʻē Beach and other attractions in the area
  • Hanakāpīʻai Beach (Approximately 2-miles away along the Kalalau Trail, 4-miles round trip)
  • Hanakāpīʻai Falls (Approximately 2-miles up from Hanakāpīʻai Beach, 8-miles round trip)

Day-use visitors at no time will be permitted to hike the Kalalau Trail past Hanakāpīʻai Beach. A Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park camping permit is required to hike past Hanakāpīʻai Beach whether or not you plan to camp.

Permits are required to hike the full Kalalau Trail. Those with permits are not subject to the newly implemented Hāʻena State Park visitor limits & reservation system. Entrance into Hāʻena State Park will be granted with a Kalalau camping permit. Overnight parking is no longer allowed in Hāʻena State Park so permit holders will need to arrive by shuttle (www.kauaiNSshuttle.com) or arrange for private drop-off.  The new shuttle service is taking reservations starting Friday, June 21, 2019.

For more information about obtaining a reservation to visit Hāʻena State Park, click here.

Camping permits:

Currently the State is only issuing 2019 permits a few weeks out. There may still be road construction repairs that will close the roads (and thus the trail) for days at a time. They don’t know exactly when these closures may take place and don’t want to give out permits too far ahead of time. After these issues are resolved, we expect them to begin their “Year-in-advance” policy again.  For more information about obtaining a camping permit, click here.


Haena State Park
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9 Comments

  1. When getting a parking permit it requires you to enter a time. If you choose the morning time (6:30 am) does this mean you have to leave by 12:30 pm (which is the start of the afternoon time)? Also if getting a parking permit does that include entry into the park for your passengers? I couldn’t find this information on the site. Thank you!

    1. Yes, for a morning parking reservation, you must leave by 12:30. If you want to stay all day, you must get both a morning and an afternoon reservation. Yes, that does include entry.

  2. finding the new system to be impossible to work with.. Absolutely no parking available 14 days out and I started looking at 6 AM. And finding return trips on the shuttle that cooperate with the trip to the trail is not negotiable. . . . the return trips available are on the same shuttle that my party of 4 is being limited to choose based on availability is the same shuttle we would be taking there in the first place. Hope this gets resolved so that everyone interested in visiting the island for the expressed purpose of taking this hike can actually do it.

    1. I agree, the system needs a lot of help. Hopefully the State figures things out to make the process less complicated soon. They are trying to keep the number of visitors to 900 when it used to average 3000. That means there are 2100 disappointed people every day. That’s no fun.

  3. It is impossible to get any parking, I want to buy parking permit for 7/25/19 and today is 7/11/19, the first day I can purchase for 7/25/19, I tried the whole morning starting at 8:00am and the website already told me they are all sold out. Any of the days that they allow you to buy are sold out. How can that be possible? So basically no one can purchase the parking permit. And the shuttle cost $15.00 per person, I have 7 people in my group and 3 of them are little kids, so I have to pay $105.00 to visit this public beach and trail? As well just close it down or told everyone to do shuttle, so we don’t need to waste time to purchase permit online anymore.

    1. Yes, the State of Hawaii has made it very hard to visit the park. They used to have 3000 people a day visiting the park and the new system makes it possible for only 900 people to visit. The parking is limited due to the parking lot being so small. 2100 people per day who want to visit the park are not allowed to. Unfortunately there is nothing that we can do about it.

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