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Kalalau Valley

Kalalau Valley skies.

On the second day of our trip the weather was perfect. We had hiked 11 miles on the Kalalau Trail, set up camp and witnessed an epic moonrise the day before. So now what?

Well, it was time to explore Kalalau Valley.

Inside a waterfall at Kalalau Valley, Kalalau Kauai

The Kalalau Series:
This is the fourth post in a five-part series on Kalalau. More from the series:

And go for a swim.

The Kalalau Valley is about 2 miles deep and half a mile wide (I looked it up on Wikipedia). The main trail that takes you to the back of the valley is called the Kalalau Valley Trail. The trail takes you to a swimming hole and if you know where you’re going, you can find a side trail that leads to Kalalau Falls.

We set out to find the falls, got lost and ended up on a different trail that follows a stream full of waterfalls. We were told by some locals that this trail is much more beautiful than the Kalalau Valley Trail so we were stoked.

In this post I’ll show you the route we took to find this trail and point out a couple good swimming holes.

Tents at the Kalalau camp site

We woke up sometime between 7 and 8 and crawled out of our tents. We were sore but after breakfast, coffee and a few Advils, we were good to go.

The objective of this day was to hike the Kalalau Valley Trail to the back of the valley and find Kalalau Falls. There’s not much info on the Web about Kalalau Falls but from what I could find, the official name of it is Davis Falls. The trailhead is very close to the camp areas. Just walk back toward the Kalalau Trail from camp and you’ll see the junction.

Make sure you bring a small pack for taking your valuables and some water and snacks around with you during the day. The rest of your gear you’ll just leave at camp. I heard that thieves are rare in these parts.

You’ll immediately be surrounded by forest.

Follow the trail down to the stream. If you wish to continue on the Kalalau Valley Trail, turn right after the stream crossing and follow this stream into the valley. We missed this turn and kept hiking straight following a very well defined trail. So if you want to follow the trail shown in this post, just keep going straight.

We ended up crossing a second stream and ended up at this huge clearing. The clearing was so big it was eerie. I suspect that these two trees suck up all the water and prevent anything from growing around it. But, then again, this could just be totally man-made. And it looked like this clearing was a junction for about 5 trails. But after some investigation, we realized that what seemed like trails were actually just erosion from water draining off the mountains.

We realized we needed to get back to the other side of the second stream and there, we found a path that led us into the valley.

As we crossed the stream we could see that this stream was a huge cascading waterfall.

Trekking poles and aqua socks with grippy bottoms (typically used by scuba divers) helped with the stream crossing.

Jungle-gym like hau trees surrounded this part of the stream.

Just a short walk up from where we crossed the stream, you’ll see a fork in the trail. Go left and you can get off the dirt trail and walk the rocks right next to the stream and waterfalls.

It’s just mini-waterfall after mini-waterfall.

Kalalau Valley is full of climbable boulders but these boots were made for walking.

We were told by a creepy hermit that this is a good boulder to jump off of. The water in front of it is nice and deep. The only problem is, there’s a creepy hermit (not pictured) living on the other side of stream.

This sort of looks like a good jump off spot too but the water under this waterfall was churning like crazy. It definitely would not be safe.

I don’t know what the Kalalau Valley Trail looks like but I have to think, we didn’t to wrong by taking this trail instead.

The thing about hiking up the side of a stream passing waterfall after waterfall is that each swimming hole tempts you to jump in. As the day got hotter we couldn’t take it anymore and gave in.

Cory spotted this as nice hermit-free swimming hole with deep water. You can jump from either side of the hole. And there’s a grotto like area to the left where you can sit on the rocks in the shade.

If you end up at this swimming hole, make sure you jump in the mini-waterfall that fills it.

When we got out of the valley it was the early afternoon. We came back to camp to eat lunch and then went for a walk on the beach.

The Kalalau Series

This is the fourth post in a 5-part series on Kalalau. See more from this series:

This story was last modified on August 7, 2013. (Originally published in August 2011.)

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