Hi, my name is Alyssa Switzer. Welcome to my article on Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. I’m 27 years old and grew up on the beach surrounded by water – at the time Lake Michigan. Then I decided to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergrad where I also lived on the lake.
Following graduation I moved to California and have been there for about five years. I have had a strong pull towards the outdoors since I was very little. The earth is magic to me. I could be in the woods behind my house growing up or at places such as Na Pali Coast and be in awe.
Kauai – My Favorite Hawaiian Island
My boyfriend and I have a strong urge to move to an island in the future. Therefore, we have to do our research! I have traveled to Kauai multiple times and it’s my favorite Hawaiian island. The ‘Garden Isle’ is so incredibly lush. It does rain quite a lot here but this only adds to its beauty.
Weather conditions can change from sunshine to rain without warning but then you will be treated with a rainbow! This rain also helps to protect the island from over-tourism as many vacationers want to relax at the beach in the sun and this isn’t always guaranteed in Kauai. When you visit Kauai you might find yourself as one of the only tourists on the island which is so cool!
On my most recent trip to Kauai with my boyfriend, we even had an entire beach to ourselves on our third day there. We were able to swim in the tide pools, hike, climb and rest without seeing a single other human. That is part of the reason why I love this beautifully lush Hawaiian island so much!
Staying at Marriott Beach Club
We decided to visit Kauai during the pandemic. And it’s crucial to note we did quarantine! My boyfriend and I stayed at Kauai’s Marriott Beach Club (a 5-star hotel in our book!) where they had all guests participate in a 72-hour quarantine. Following the 72 hours, we had our second COVID test and after passing it we were then able to rent a car and roam the island freely.
Kauai’s Marriott Beach Club was gorgeous! Our balcony looked over the ocean and mountains. The surf at our hotel beach was amazing for beginners like myself and the pool was the largest on the island (probably one of the biggest pools that I have ever seen). Most importantly they handled the bubble quarantine extremely well.
On our first day we headed north where we hiked to Secret Beach, roamed Anini Beach, shopped and had amazing food in Hanalei, and then watched the sunset from Princeville. That is the glory of Kauai. You won’t see people with beach umbrellas, coolers and chairs heading down to the beach.
Two Days Hiking in Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
We hiked through Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park for two days. Sadly, we couldn’t finish our hike due to a flash flood. This state park gives you the opportunity to hike in a dense jungle, in a foot of slippery and thick mud. The views are breathtaking and the surroundings will leave you speechless.
Not only are you hiking in a jungle, seeing and climbing over waterfall after waterfall but you also have sea life! I would be shocked if you didn’t see a whale. I had to constantly remind myself that I was still in the US. Na Pali Coast is a dream and we are blessed to have it. If you are able to hike it or view it from a boat or helicopter in your lifetime – well that is spectacular.
The Power of Nature at Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
Don’t get me wrong – this hike was hard! I consider myself to be in good shape but the elevation change kicked my butt. Add in the mud, humidity and rain – and well, let’s just say I treated myself to a drink that night. We also encountered a flash flood and saw that it met the ocean.
My boyfriend and I then decided it might be safer to cross the river (flood) where it met the ocean on the beach. We hiked down and were able to get across. However, once we reached the other side we began to question if we should go any further. We were worried the tide was going to come up, the storm would get worse and we would be stuck without service.
Therefore, we decided to go back. Except crossing wasn’t easy – as in we are lucky to be alive! I held my boyfriend’s arm and as we were crossing we hit a hole where the water went up to my neck. The power of the flood was moving so quickly it began to sweep our feet out from underneath us.
So on the right hand side we had the flash flood and on the left we had massive waves from the ocean coming at us. My boyfriend definitely took control of the situation (and he’s much taller than I am) and was able to pull us to safety. We lost his phone to the water but luckily that was it.
Reaching the safe side of the flood and hiking up to the top of a small hill looking over the river which met the ocean was such a relief and probably my best memory of the hike. I felt safe in this moment but at the same time I had just experienced the raw power of nature. Through it all, I was still in awe of the incredible mountains that were surrounding me.
Tips for your Visit to Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
You do need a permit to go hiking in Na Pali Coast and there are many warning signs. My advice would be to avoid the rainiest months if you are wanting to hike in Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. This is especially important advice to heed if you don’t consider yourself an advanced hiker.
When in Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, be sure to visit Hanakapiai Falls. You can only reach the falls on foot. It’s a four mile hike to the waterfall and four mile hike back. Prepare yourself with hiking shoes, food and water. The trail is called Kalalau Trail and you have to apply for a permit first.
Other must-visit destinations in Kauai are Queen’s Bath (a unique tide pool), Waimea Canyon State Park (known as the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii), Hanalei Bay (especially for sunset) and then the following beaches: Larsen’s Beach, Hideaway Beach (our favorite beach) and Secret Beach. Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy your time on the beautiful Na Pali coast!