Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kauai running

In April we spent a week on Kauai with a group of trail running friends and got to do several amazing trail runs. We started with the iconic Kalalau trail along the Napali coast. Unfortunately, my camera went on the fritz so I didn't get any pictures from this amazing run but you can see the route in the map below.

Kalalau trail route
The trail starts at Haena state park and goes along the coast for 11 miles to Kalalau beach where we hung out for a while before turning around to run back. The round trip has about 7,000 feet of climbing and took us just under 9 hours at a casual pace with plenty of stops to admire the scenery and have fun. Although this route had been on my bucket list for a long time, I was worried that the trail would have too much exposure to sheer cliffs dropping off over the ocean and that I would be suffering too much from my fear of heights. But the trail was quite wide and in the mile or so that is relatively exposed I was fine keeping one hand on the cliff wall next to the trail and I had one hiking pole in the other hand firmly planted in the ground. If you are a trail runner and headed to Kauai, you definitely need to run this route. A permit is required to be on the trail more than 6 miles from the trailhead (whether you are camping or just on a day trip) and you can reserve the permit online here.

We also drove around to the south side of the island and up into the Waimea canyon area and ran out on the Nualolo trail which gave us magnificent views back down onto the Napali Coast area. We thought we would be able to make a loop from the Nualolo trail along the Cliff trail and then return on the Awa'awapuhi Trail, but the Cliff trail was closed and fenced off so we did an out and back for a total of 7.5 miles and got some fantastic views and there are some photos below:

Nualolo trail route

View from the Nualolo trail

View down onto the Napali coast from the end of the Nualolo trail
View into Waimea canyon (from the drive to the Nualolo trailhead

Another view into Waimea canyon

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