Friday, January 15, 2010

Napali: The Cliffs




The aptly named north-northwest Napali Coast of Kauai is a 25-mille stretch of roadless shore where big seas do battle with a series of 2,500-foot-high cliffs separated by valleys. The notorious trail to the biggest of these valleys, the Kalalau (pictured) is an arduous 11-mile trek that begins where the road ends on the north side of the island.

But for the best views and a number of lesser-know trails that descend from above the precipices you need to head to the west side of the island and make the drive up to Waimea Canyon. Above the canyon are great views into the Kalalau from overlooks you can drive to. Or, select from a half-dozen or more trails—typically requiring 10-plus miles round-trip hiking with about 2,000 feet of down-and-back-up elevation. One of the best is the Nualolo Cliff Trail (pictured), which ends at a red-dirt escarpment that will curl your toes. For complete directions for all the hikes in the Waimea Canyon check out the spanking new Kauai Trailblazer for 2010.