The Pakala Beach Trail in Pakala Village, Hawaii (Kauai) is an easy 0.6-mile out-and-back trail that leads to a surfer's paradise, Pakala Beach, and generally features surfers catching waves any day of the week.
This short trail connects Kaumaulii Highway to Pakala Beach. To find the trailhead, cross the stream heading north (or start on the north side), look for a break in the guardrail, and then head immediately south along the guardrail to find an rusty old cow fence. Watch out, as this rusty old cow fence is a skinny switchback path that has broken bars that stick out like sharp daggers. After passing the cow fence, the trail will meander its way alongside the stream as it makes its way out to the beach. Along the way, you'll likely pass plenty of friendly surfers, with surfboards or other flotation devices, as you hike the trail. One noteworthy spot along the way is a "gum tree" - simply an arched tree that's grown over the trail that visitors - mostly surfers - use to leave their chewed gum behind.
Eventually, you'll reach the beach. This track heads south and ends on a rock jetty. I hung out for a few minutes and took poor-quality zoomed-in iPhone photos of surfers catching some waves. There are no lifeguards on duty here, but the beaches are completely empty since almost everyone who visits here is looking to ride waves, not tan or swim. Everyone on the trail were friendly here, but as a non-surfer tourist, I felt very much out of place exploring this trail. Please be respectful of the locals and don't spoil their surf spot parking (read below).
Surfers and visitors will find parking near the coordinates provided along the highway. There are large turnouts along the road. This is a local surf spot that can fill up quickly in the morning, even on a weekday, as surfers are trying to get out before starting their day. If beach-going or just visiting, please do not stay too long so that the surfers can park as well.
Respecting the Land
Hawaiian land is considered sacred to native Hawaiians and many locals, so please stay on-trail, take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints. Respect the locals - don't stay for long and have a backup hike planned in case the parking lot is full.
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