I don’t know what to say anymore about the most beautiful places in the world. Every time I go someplace new, I think it’s the most beautiful place on Earth. Even now, as I sit in our house in Princeville, HI while listening to Jack Johnson, I am reflecting on all the amazing places we’ve been and I still can’t determine the most beautiful place I’ve been. That said, the Na Pali Coast certainly competes among the top contenders for most beautiful places.
For our three younger kids, this was the first time they have ever flown on an airplane. As you’d expect, their favorite part was taking off. On our flight from Honolulu to Lihue, Truman was taking pictures from his phone the entire time. I think it left quite the impression on Norah and Truman.
Our house in Princeville is pretty amazing. We have lemon and avocado trees in our backyard and a huge coconut tree across the street. The chickens roam the streets and they start crowing early in the morning. You could not imagine a more different landscape from our home back in Utah.
I think the first time I ever heard of the Na Pali coast was from a close friend and colleague of mine who said it might be her favorite place on earth. I searched for pictures and made the decision right then that that’s where I wanted to take the family on our next vacation.
We hit the trail at 8:00 in the morning. The reviews and guidebooks all suggest this trail is rated a 9/10 for difficulty. I found this hard to believe since we’ve hiked some pretty serious places and this was a coastal hike. . Shortly after we started hiking, I understood the difficult rating. With every step we were walking on rocks, roots, and mud. It was a rigorous test of my ankle flexibility and endurance. However, the reward for putting in the effort was nothing short of “majestical.”
The views of the mountains rising out of the turquoise ocean were breathtaking. The vegetation was incredibly dense. There were guava fruits scattered all along the trail. At times it smelled like sweet fruit and at other times it smelled like a compost pile. After a couple miles we hit a small, but beautiful beach. As you would expect, the kids were in their swimming suits in short order and were playing in the waves. The water was warm and the waves were big. There was a high surf warning, so Jenny and I kept close eyes on them to make sure they didn’t go out too far. The kids could have played in the surf all day.
After spending some time at the beach, we pivoted on the trail and headed into the forest to find the Hanakap’ai Waterfall. This portion of the trail was full of unique (to us) foliage we had never seen before, like the teepee trees and bamboo. The trail was still muddy, but we were able to keep somewhat clean as we crossed the small river multiple times along the trail. As we approached the waterfall, I was surprised by how tall the waterfall was as the river cascaded over the Cliff’s edge.
I love waterfalls. Up to this point, my favorite falls were in Yosemite. For sure, all the waterfalls in Yosemite are beyond incredible. But perhaps the thing that makes these falls better is the ability to swim in the pool of water under the falls. It is so dang fun. The water falls over 130 feet and when we swam underneath it we could certainly feel its weight, but it was just so dang beautiful. The water droplets in the air were so thick it was a little challenging to breath. The water was warm relative to all the mountain waterfalls we have explored.
At this point, we were pretty tired and hungry. We ate a quick snack and started the long haul out. Truman’s feet were sore and I carried him a couple of times so he could have a break.