Kalalau Valley – Hawaii – USA
The Kalalau Valley is located on the northwest side of the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii. The valley is located in the Na Pali Coast State Park and houses the beautiful Kalalau Beach. This famous northwest coast is as dramatic as it is intimidating, with most visitors settling for an inspiring sailing to take in the view, snorkel and whale watch.
The valley is renowned for its natural beauty; it is surrounded by lush cliffs more than 2,000 feet (610 m) high. The valley bottom is broad and relatively flat, with an accessible region about 2 miles (3.2 km) long and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide. The abundant sun and rain provides an ideal environment for flora and fauna. Many native Hawaiians lived in the valley into the 20th century, farming taro from a vast complex of terraced fields. Today, its designation as a state park forbids any one from residing there.
Access to Kalalau Valley
Since the Nā Pali Coast is too steep for any motorized vehicles, all access to the valley is by boat or foot, with the exception of emergency helicopter landings. Kayaks are a popular way of visiting the valley, although sea conditions can make this dangerous during the winter. Hiking the Kalalau Trail is also popular, but the trail is about 11 miles (18 km) long, quite strenuous, and can be dangerous at parts.
Access to the Kalalau Valley is controlled in the name of conservation. A limited number of permits are issued for camping in Kalalau Valley every year by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). Anyone wishing to hike beyond Hanakāpīai valley must have a permit for staying in Kalalau Valley overnight. A total of sixty overnight permits are issued for each night. Permits must generally be sought as early as 6 months in advance of travel.
The valley is visible from the Kōkee State Park, which is accessible by road from the west side of the island. It is rumored that there is a trail accessing the valley from Kōkee, however all possible routes appear to be very dangerous and some people are suspected to have fallen to their deaths trying to find them.
Polihale, an uncommonly beautiful beach, is framed by the cliffs at the west edge of the Na Pali Coast. Isolated and other-worldly, the beach hugs the shore below steep mounds of blazing sand dunes.
[Text sources: wikipedia.org, hawaii.com]