Many of us might stay away from trails that Outside magazine has deemed one of the world’s most deadliest. The Kalalau Trail is approximately 11 miles one way and many people who attempt the entire trail, do so in one day. Others camp at the half way point.A permit is required to continue past the 2-mile point, which means anyone can hike the first stretch – and plenty of them do.
The first two miles of the trail are soupy mud, made thick and deep by an overflow of people experiencing the famous trail. Hikers and joggers alike, tackle the trail to experience the beauty and hike up to Hanakapi’ai Falls. But once you get past the second mile, the people thin out and you are left with the serious backpackers, there for the long haul.
So why is the Kalalau Trail so dangerous? Many have died trying to hike it through, while others have had to be rescued by helicopter. The coast has become overrun with hippies (yes hippies) who have squatted in areas, creating somewhat of a commune, even building beds, furniture, clay ovens and gardens in the Kalalau Valley. They have even diverted natural streams for their own consumption. Despite their frequent arrests, they come back. One drugged out hippy through a Japanese hiker off of a cliff in 2012. Many have died swimming in the surf and others have been rescued from flash floods that made streams impossible to pass.
The hike in general is fairly treacherous, making even experienced, hikers think twice. “there were urgent signs approaching a cliffside we would come to know as Crawler’s Ledge.It’s called that, we were about to discover, because one must crawl along a path carved into the rock at what certainly feels like a 45 degree angle. On the left side of that path is rock, with nary a chain nor rope to hold. On the right side is more rock, leading some 20 stories down to the ocean, where massive waves bash anything in their paths against the cliff.” — Winston Ross
But, despite the treacherous hike and unwanted squatters, the trail is still in Hawaii, which is known for its incredible landscape and views.