NaPali Coast Beach

West Kauai

Miloli’i Beach, on the NaPali Coast, is a gorgeous stretch of white sand protected by a long barrier reef. Accessible by kayak only in the summer months when the ocean conditions are calmer, there is a small channel through the reef that one must pass to in order to land on Miloli’i Beach.  

The channel is not perpendicular to the shore; one must angle the boat so the nose is pointed more towards the Nu'alolo side of the beach (left when facing the shore from the ocean) and away from Polihale. The channel is clearly marked by two large signs on the shore; when the signs are lined up with each other so that the one closer to the mountain is directly behind the one closest to the ocean, you are in the channel.  Keep this alignment as you proceed through the channel to avoid being pushed onto the shallow reef by the persistent current.

Miloli’i Beach is a popular place for monk seals and sea turtles. Young seal pups will come to relax and play in the shallow pools inside the reef.  When they bark, their cries can be heard echoing off the 2500 foot cliffs that rise dramatically at the back end of the beach.   

There is a campground at Miloli’i that is open in the summer only. There are a few covered picnic tables and a mostly unused ranger shack as well as a couple of fire rings and an outhouse in the grassy field behind the beach.  

Miloli'i is a tranquil place with few people.  Kayak tours stop here for lunch on their all day NaPali Coast kayaking adventure.  This arduous, all day paddle is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for many and a good option if you do not have extremely advanced outdoor skills and experience with ocean kayak landing in variable seas.

Fresh water is available in Miloli’i Stream – from the campground, face the ocean and walk to the left (towards Polihale); once the sand ends, hop over the rocks for about 100’ and you will come to the stream mouth.  On the other side of the stream, you will see the Miloli’i Heiau (ancient temple); like all Heiau and archaeological sites, do not disturb the rock in any way.

Upstream, Miloli’i is a picturesque and beautiful little valley. There is a trail the can be followed by walking up the hill, past the water tank, and through the tall grass.  You will meet Miloli’i Stream just below a small but very picturesque double waterfall. Continue to follow the river upstream and you will notice PVC pipe lying at various places near the river bed. Now broken apart in many places, this piping used to connect the spring to the water tank. Keep your eye out for taro plants and you will find the spring.

As you walk, you will notice old rock wall on the side of the valley floor. Like the other valleys on the NaPali Coast, Miloli’i was once inhabited and farmed. You will notice the valley become progressively narrower as you continue upstream. As you near the very back of Miloli’i Valley, you will see the source of Miloli’i Stream– a series of springs emptying into a large pool of fresh spring water. The pool has a mud bottom, so be aware that entering it will cloud the water.  

It is possible to climb behind the spring source into the dry part of Miloli’i valley, which is the base of a gigantic dry waterfall. Gazing a thousand feet straight up a vertical red-rock-walled tube is a pretty amazing experience, but it is not without its dangers. Never ever enter the upper part of Miloli’i Valley when it is raining and be aware that rock fall is very common and can result in serious injury or death.

SAFETY WARNING:  Travel to Miloli’i is for very experienced outdoor adventurers only! You must be confident in your ability to safely navigate multiple different types of terrain in weather conditions that can change rapidly.  If you have any doubts about your qualifications, play it safe.

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