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Na Pali Coast Magazine | May 27, 2017

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Hanakoa Valley - Na Pali Coast Magazine

Hanakoa Valley
Chris Turner

A big part of the Bali Hai ridge is here at Hanakoa Valley, comprised of two incredible lava dyke ridges protruding up like sentries guarding each side of this lush, tropical rain forest valley. In the middle of Kauai’s Hanakoa Valley, you can see a waterfall cascading gracefully into the sea. To the right of that, along the near coastline, the shouting color of red iron ore makes it look like you took a wrong turn and somehow ended up on Mars. The bright orange rust of the coast stands out like a stop sign in the midst of the Mars-like soil with the dark green Hala trees creating a surreal contrast looking like some alien plant form, or perhaps something from Dr. Suess’s children’s book, Horton Hear’s A Who. Further back on the ridge, the sisal plant thrives looking like a twenty foot tall asparagus for giants. But then again, everything here looks big. There is a Jurassic Park feeling here, like you expect a Pterodactyl or other ancient flying dinosaur to swoop down from a nest on the cliffs, trying desperately to pluck you from the raft.

WHAT TO EXPECT…


  • A verdant, beautiful valley with lush greenery and waterfall; resident goats with the occasional wild boar.

  • Hiking beyond Hanakapi’ai requires a day-use permit. Winding 4 miles (6.4 km.) and taking between two and three hours to reach, the switch-back trail to Hanakoa climbs and drops through native forests and streams. Highlights along the way include Hoolulu Valley’s waterfalls, Waiahuakua Valley and waterfall, and finally, Hanakoa’s terraced valley, waterfall, and swimming pool.