Kauai’s north shore with its quaint villages, winding roads over single-lane bridges and pristine beaches will transform you to a place and time of old Hawaii. In 2018, historic flooding on Kauai’s north shore severely damaged roadways and key infrastructure, leading to the closure of the highway west of Hanalei, access to Haena State Park and the Kalalau Trail.
But, there’s exciting new- over a year later, the road to Haena State Park and the Kalalau Trail has reopened! With the reopening has come a new set of rules for non-residents to visit the area. Read further to learn the where, what, and how to visit Haena State Park and hike Kauai’s famous Kalalau Trail.
Rule no. 1: Advanced Reservations and Permits are Required
All vehicles, walk-in entry and shuttle riders visiting Haena State Park and day hikers accessing the Kalalau Trail are required to make advanced reservations and/or purchase parking permits. Entry fees to the park are $1 per person for non-residents. Additional fees apply for a parking pass or to use the Kauai North Shore Shuttle.
Rule no. 2: Parking is limited
There are only 100 parking stalls in the parking lot – 70 allocated visitor parking stalls and 30 Hawaii resident parking stalls. Reservations may be made online at www.gohaena.com up to 14 days in advance and no later than the day before your visit. Parking permits are high in demand and have been sold-out nearly immediately of being posted online.
Rule no. 3: Overnight parking is not allowed
Those with permits to camp overnight at the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park/Kalalau Trail beyond Hanakapiai must either use the shuttle service or arrange for private drop off. Overnight camping permits are available for reservation two weeks in advance on https://camping.ehawaii.gov. Camping permits cost $20 per person, per night and are good for up to five consecutive nights.
Rule No. 4: Permit required for hiking beyond Hanakapiai Beach
The first two miles on the Kalalau Trail from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapiai Beach is the perfect mildly strenuous day hike, offering scenic glimpses of the Napali Coast while you wind around the narrow coastline. Once at Hanakapiai Beach, enjoy lunch next to the peaceful freshwater stream, find a spot on the beach to take a nap, or hike an additional two miles (one way) inland to the staggering 200-foot Hanakapiai Falls. However, hiking beyond Hanakapiai Beach requires a camping permit for the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. * Without a valid camping permit, you run the risk of being fined by the State DLNR.
*If you have a valid camping permit for the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, you do not need to make a park entry reservation for Haena State Park.
Rule No. 5: Skip the parking and take the new Kauai North Shore Shuttle
Not really a rule, but we recommend that those wanting to explore Haena State Park take advantage of the new Kauai North Shore Shuttle! We love the Kauai North Shore Shuttle because it is inexpensive and convenient. Reservations can be easily made online by visiting https://kauainsshuttle.com. Prices range from $5-$15, depending whether you want a hop-on pass (based on seat availability) or if you want to reserve your seat in advance. They also accept Kauai Bus passes as a hop-on pass (no reservations), which is great because Kauai Bus passes can also be used throughout the entire island. Small beach gear is allowed, such as folding chairs, snorkel equipment, and umbrellas. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space for surfboards, large coolers or other large items.
If you decide to take the Kauai North Shore Shuttle, there are two parking options. Parking at Princeville Golf Club is $15 (additional to shuttle fee) and shuttle service begins at 7:30 am. Travel time to Haena is approximately 30-40 minutes. All visitors must vacate the parking lot by 5:45 pm so plan your return from Haena State Park accordingly. There are only 10 stalls available and parking is first come, first serve. The second parking option is the park-and-ride at Waipa in Hanalei and catch the first shuttle to Haena at 7:00 am. Travel time from this spot is only approximately 20-25 minutes. This means you can be one of the first to arrive at the park for the day! Overnight parking is not allowed at either location.
Costs to go
- Non-resident daily entry fee is $1
- Non-resident parking stall permit is $5
- North Shore Shuttle fee $15 with reservations (From Princeville or Waipa to Hanalei) or $10 without reservations
Haena State Park is one of Kauai’s most pristine and delicate treasures. The road to get to Haena State Park is narrow, meandering over one-lane bridges and mountain stream crossings, past the openings of the wet and dry caves, and leading to perfect white sand beaches with crystal clear water lapping gently against the shoreline. To put it simply…it’s paradise.