Learn More About The History Of Hawaii At This Beautiful Destination

Hawaii's Na Pali Coast in Kauai is iconic. Its large and lush cliffs contrasting the smooth ocean below make it a breathtaking sight. It's no wonder you so frequently see pictures of it in tourism advertisements. This part of Kauai is relatively a secluded area that's only accessible by hopping on a boat or trekking by foot. It makes for a wonderful, beautiful adventure. You can hike and discover some of the many waterfalls hidden in the hills or watch for the wide variety of birds that flock to it. If you're looking for something relaxing, you can sit on the shores and watch the waves roll in.

But the Na Pali Coast is just as rich in history as it is in beauty. The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is an ideal place to learn as well as explore. Whether you're fascinated by the terrain and the story of its formation, or the culture of the people that once inhabited these majestic hills, the state park is the perfect place to find answers while also experiencing the land itself.

The Kalalau Trail and history of the coast

One of the best ways to explore The Na Pali Coast is through the 22 mile long Kalalau Trail — Hawaii's most beautiful hiking trail. Of course, you can also hike just piece of it if the entire thing is daunting or you simply don't have the time. While you're wandering, you might come across the remains of ancient fishing villages.

As for the history of the area, Polynesians originally came upon the land and settled there around 1200 AD, and Tahitians followed ensuite. Fishing and farming along with trading amongst each other were the main means of survival. Life continued this way for centuries, and you can learn more about the cultures and ways of life during your time on the islands.

Now, you may be wondering why people left this beautiful landscape. In the 1820s, a couple decades after people from the Western world had made contact on the island, missionaries arrived and disrupted the traditional ways of life. They outlawed important elements of Hawaiian culture and established a large Western influence. The desire and opportunity to live in larger societies spread along with the Western influences, and, unfortunately, disease did too. These factors lead people to leave the island, and before the mid-20th century, the valleys that once bustled with life and activity were empty.

Getting to the Na Pali Coast

In the 1960s, the Na Pali Coast garnered the nickname "Garden of Eden" and regained popularity as people arrived with the hopes of establishing a new life in its hills. It only took a couple of years before the government started instilling regulations and requiring permits for people on the coast. Nowadays, you can fish, hike, and camp in the park — just make sure you adhere to the rules.

Coming to Na Pali State Wilderness Park requires planning. First you have to decide how you want to get there. If by boat, you can book a cruise or boat ride and maybe even throw in some fun activities like snorkeling. If you want to come by foot and take the Kalalau Trail, you have to get the proper camping permits. Note that the Kalalau Trail, while beautiful, is also one of the most dangerous hikes in the US. The cost is $25 per night for Hawaii residents and $35 per night for non-residents. There's a five night maximum for both.

Next time you're looking to find a slice of paradise, consider visiting Na Pali State Wilderness Park in Kauai, Hawaii. The beautiful views you'll encounter and fascinating history you'll learn will make for an unforgettable trip.