Friday, October 21, 2016

Hiking Kalepa Ridge [Video]

My girlfriend and I recently returned home from our vacation in Kauai, my favorite of the Hawaiian Islands. While on Kauai we hiked the Kalalau Trail and did a few day hikes of which the most spectacular was hiking on the Kalepa Ridge. Watch the video and come along with us on a magical hike.


This video was taken with my, now returned, Samsung Note 7 mounted in my DJI Osmo Mobile to get the nice stable footage. Recorded in 4K and exported to 1080p.

Location
The Kalepa Ridge trail isn't hard to find but it's location is not well documented nor is it published in any of the trail maps you'll find on the island. To find the Kalepa Ridge
trail simply take the State Highway 550 (Kokee Rd.) to the Kalalau Lookout. Once on the platform overlooking the Kalalau Valley look to your left and you'll see the Kalepa Ridge. On the left side of the platform is a fence with a gate. Just open the gate and follow the trail down the steep descent to the Kalepa Ridge. Be warned, this trail is not for those with a fear of heights!

Trail Length

I'm not sure how long the trail is in distance but hiking at a good pace it took us about an hour to get out onto the furthest point so round trip in and out is at least two hours plus time you'll spend getting some of the most awesome photos and videos of your vacation. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to get back off the trail before nightfall. As you can see in the video Kalepa Ridge is not a place you wanna find yourself hiking in dwindling light.


Preparations

Be sure you're equipped with proper footwear, like proper hiking shoes. We saw a number of people starting down the trail wearing sandal. It didn't take tem long to realize they had to turn back. I think even regular sneakers aren't the best choice due to some of the steep slippery hills you traverse. You'll be in the sun most of the time so don't forget your water bottles. One liter per person should do it.

Trail Conditions

The beginning of the trail descends very steeply with no switchbacks. Once you reach the bottom of the first descent the trail is fairly level with only moderate elevation changes on your way to the point. Don't get me wrong, you'll be going up and down quite a bit on the way to the point but nothing too exhausting.

Although the trail is solid the hike along the Kalepa Ridge is severely dangerous only because much of the path is on the edge of cliffs with a near vertical drop thousands of feet which you can see in the picture below and the video. If you were to trip or lose your footing on a cliff edge the outcome would likely be fatal.

kalepa ridge hiking on steep cliffs


Summary

The Kalepa Ridge is a very surreal place but caution should be taken when hiking along or trying to take selfies near the steep cliffs. As you hike along the trail you'll be amazed with the views. You will also be presented with views of the Kalalau Valley and Kalalau Ridge that most visitors to Kauai will never see. If you make it all the way out to the point you'll even be able to look down on the Kalalau Beach. Enjoy the hike be be sure and exercise extreme caution and you create a memory that will forever be etched in your mind!