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This was my favorite hike in Hawaii. It was so beautiful I felt like I was in a movie! Make sure to bring lots of water and even a water pump or life straw, we ran out of water and thought we had brought too much initially. Also have a snack, I didn’t eat that day and my legs started shaking quite a bit.
As others have said, the hike in and out of the canyon is not easy. But the reward is being totally isolated and quiet down in the canyon. So gorgeous!
The main thing that we learned the hard way is that the river that is near the campground can become impassable after a rainstorm. We left our camp to go for a day hike further into the canyon, and crossed the river with no issue. There was a downpour while we were on the other side of the river, and weren't able to cross back to get to our camp. We had to spend the night on the other side where thankfully there was another shelter. Luckily we had some food and our water filter and hammocks, and someone left a brand new sleeping bag that we used to keep warm. We were able to cross back over the next morning.
Also, our car got broken into where we left it parked on the road. Dont leave anything valuable in the car!
Despite being stranded and getting our car broken into, we also got engaged in the canyon…so this was definitely my most memorable backpacking trip.
How can you complain about a campground in paradise?!
On the Na Pali Coast trail at the halfway point near Hanakoa Falls is a few primitive spots to call home before venturing on. Warning: The ground is wet (duh, it's Kauai) and "locals" tend to squat in the area. There's a 3-sided shelter to get out of the rain, but that happened to be where a kidding was more or less living. He was sweet and watched out things while we hiked to the waterfall - although he could have easily stolen everything we had.
The area feels so sacred and special that even if you may be miserable and wet, you can't help but feel at peace.
I have done the hike to this campsite 4 times in 4 years. Each year I anticipate going and each time I do it I find myself asking myself, "why am I putting myself through this torture?" Then I am rewarded with the my goal, The kalalau beach. Campsites are spread out with camping available anywhere in the treeline running the whole length of the nearly half mile long beach. The campsites are fare for being so remote but the real treasure here is in the beach. Sit for a sunset and you will understand. Be aware is an 11 mile hike in and an 11 mile hike out. Do your research and get your permits.
the hype does not match the reality. Oh, if you are deaf it is a wonder to behold. The innocent tourists in helicopter tours make it a waste of time and money. Even thou you might be loving the magic which is pervasive, when you leave you will realize you have been cheated.
The 2.5 mile hike down Waimea Canyon to arrive at this site is worth it for the views alone. The campground is rustic. There is one outhouse and a covered picnic area. Our site was directly on the river. We stayed in the river or on the rocks in the river to swim, cook and hang out as it was the only spot free from mosquitoes. The views from the bottom of the canyon were breathtaking. We were the only campers when we went to bed but woke up to 2 men with horses and hunting dogs staying there.
The arduous hike in and impending brutal hike out make this campground a haven for those willing the make the trek. There’s a compositing toilet and a shelter with a picnic table in case it rains. Lots of trash from irresponsible hunters/campers near the shelter but the camping pads close to the river are beautiful. TONS of bugs that you can’t really feel biting you so bring really good (and environmentally friendly) bug spray. We took baths with bio soap in the river which flows strongly enough for fresh water (steripen that!) to drink but has small pools to sit in to cool off from the hike and wash up for camping. Lots of roosters and quail, hunters seeks wild pigs down I. The canyon. ATVs come through on occasion but this is a very private campground. Good tree coverage as it rains nearly every day in the canyon. Hikes around the area lead to various waterfalls and natural water slides. Don’t leave valuables in your car (we left our car unlocked to avoid broken windows - 8 piles of shattered window glass on the side of the road when we arrived at the trailhead (pull off on the side of the road to park and go there, no true parking lot).
This is not an excellent place to stay, it’s a softball field at the edge of Waimea Town and is a campground for a number of homeless people. The bathrooms are dingy and not well maintained, the beach is a mess and the water is murky. As three women traveling alone, we didn’t really feel safe so we opted to a few other spots on the island.