Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Overlooking Na Pali

Photo: Overlooking of Na Pali

Na Pali in Hawaiian means “The Cliffs,” an apt title for this 15 mile stretch of coastline on the Northwest shore of Kauai. Na Pali is an unforgettable blend of multi-colored sea cliffs, fertile valleys and remote beaches.

Steep sea cliffs rise almost directly up from the azure Pacific as razor-thin ridges extend toward the higher mountains. These parallel ridges shelter deep valleys that were inhabited by Hawaiians in ancient times.

The Na Pali Coast spans from Ke’e Beach on the north shore where the terrain is very lush and tropical to Polihale on the south shore where the terrain is very dry and arid.

The helicopter tour usually arrives at the Na Pali Coast near Nualolo Valley which was once a major taro growing valley with a fishing village near the coast.

Next your pilot will point out Honopu, a “hanging valley” that doesn’t come all the way to the sea but ends at a steep drop-off. Keep an eye out for the famous Honopu Arch, a large sea arch with a white-sand beach running right through it.

Beyond Honopu is Kalalau Valley, which is the widest and the most famous of the Na Pali valleys. Kalalau was also well populated in ancient times as evidenced by the lava rock terraces and other archaeological remains including heiaus (sacred places of worship). Towering above Kalalau are “The Spires,” a number of pinnacle-shaped cliff formations that resemble church steeples.

As you continue flying north you will see Hanakoa Valley known for its waterfalls and as a place of training for Hawaiian warriors. Interesting landforms along this seacoast include large lava tubes called Pirate Caves, and the eroded Paddler’s Arch with a waterfall going through it.

The helicopter tour will then take you past Hanakapiai where you will see the northern end of the Na Pali Coast at Ke‘e Beach with its coral reef and protected lagoon. Above Ke‘e is a Hawaiian sacred place used for hula training in ancient times.

Tours of Na Pali Coast

Deluxe Waterfall Safari
Most popular.
55 Minutes | Waialeale Crater | Waimea Canyon | Na Pali Coast

Kauai Refuge Eco Tour
Land at a secluded waterfall!
90 Minutes | Waialeale Crater | Waimea Canyon | Na Pali Coast