Waimea Canyon offers spectacular views and natural splendor for our Kauai vacation rental guests. Located on the island’s west side, the canyon stretches 10 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep.
I guarantee that the images of the canyon will remain with you forever from its incredible scale to the rainbow of colors you’ll see. At the last two lookouts there are spectacular views into Kalalau Valley, one of the most beautiful sights on the island.
According to popular legend, Mark Twain nicknamed it the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Historians say that Twain never wrote about Kauai. Regardless of where the quote came from, and maybe it really was Twain, the description fits the canyon perfectly.
Carved thousands of years ago by floods and rivers flowing down from the summit of Mount Waialeale, renowned as one of the wettest spots on earth, the lines in the canyon walls detail different volcanic eruptions and lava flows that have occurred over the centuries. Its grand vistas go on for miles and the different hues are breathtaking.
The road into Waimea Canyon climbs to almost 4000 feet from sea level with cooler air, morning mists and evening clouds. Bring a light jacket or sweater in case of cooler weather.
Waimea Canyon Road leads you up to several canyon lookout points.
The first good vantage point is Waimea Canyon Lookout,located between mile markers 10 and 11 on Waimea Canyon Road. From here, it’s another 6 miles to Koke`e. There are a few more lookout points along the way that also offer spectacular views, such as Puu Hinahina Lookout, between mile markers 13 and 14, at 3,336 feet.
The various viewpoints offer views of the Canyon from every angle and at various heights. Most of the lookout walks are short trips and all are handicapped accessible.
Anne’s tips for visiting Waimea Canyon and Koke`e:
- Bring food and enjoy a picnic lunch in the meadow near Koke`e Museum.
- Fill your tank with gas. There are no stations once you head upcountry.
- Alternate road to canyon is from Kekaha. You can go up one way and back the other.
- Restrooms available at some viewpoints and main park area.
- Admission is free and the canyon is open year round.
- Excellent photo opportunities at every turn and viewpoint. Pack your camera.
- Best viewing of the Kalalau Valley at the end of the road is in the early morning.
- Numerous trails lead through and above the canyon – check at the Ranger Station for maps.
- Certain trails require a state permit before hiking.
- For weather information in the canyon, call 808-245-6001.
Driving Directions: About 20 miles from Poipu and on Kauai’s west side, take the Highway 50 and turn right up Waimea Canyon Drive (Hwy. 550) just out of Waimea town. From there it’s about 45 minutes to the top. The road has recently been resurfaced and offers a smoother ride than in past years.
Stay close to the canyon! Our Kauai vacation rentals at Kekaha are near the beach. You can enjoy the ocean and only be a short distance from some of the best Kauai hiking at Waimea Canyon.
We invite you to add your comments and tips. What do you like most about Waimea Canyon?