Although inaccessible to vehicles, this coast can be enjoyed over land by hiking or in a helicopter, and from the ocean by kayak and paddleboard. Charter tours are available on rigid-hulled inflatable boat or catamaran, originating from Port Allen and Hanalei Bay. The Kalalau Trail from the end of Hawaii Route 56 (called the Kuhio Highway) provides the only land access along the coast, traversing 11 miles (18 km) and crossing five major valleys (and many smaller ones) before reaching Kalalau Beach at the base of Kalalau Valley. Side trails along the way lead to waterfalls in the valleys above.
The first settlers on the Na Pali Coast were Polynesian navigators around 1200 AD. Soon after, many Tahitian migrants followed, shaping the culture of Kauai and other Hawaiian islands today. The coast was a center for trade between Hanalei, Waimea and Ni`ihau, and branched out to nearby island colonies. After Kauai was visited by Captain Cook in 1778, many Westerners began traveling to the island. As more foreigners arrived, the Hawaiian tribes along the Na Pali Coast where Na Pali Coast State Park now exists began to die off from Western diseases. The last known native Hawaiians to live along the Na Pali Coast were sighted in the 20th century.
Camping in Na Pali Coast State Park is only allowed with a valid permit. There are three sites that allow camping access. During the summer season from May 15 to September 7, access from the ocean via boat or kayak is only allowed with a valid camping permit. Along the Kalalau Trail, the two authorized spots for camping are in Kalalau and Hanakoa . Both are covered by the same permit and can be accessed by hiking. These locations include facilities to accommodate campers. Five nights is the maximum stay on the Kalalau Trail, and one night maximum for Hanakoa. The camp site at Miloli'i is only accessible by boat or kayak. Permits allow access for maximum of three days. Composting toilets are available at all three camp sites.