Bicycling down Waimea Canyon is a something you should not miss! Spectacular scenery in Hawaii's colorful "Mini-Grand Canyon." Gorgeous foliage you can see at your own pace on bicycles, and it's all downhill so no stress! Transportation provided.
At Outfitters Kauai also take Wailua and Hidden Valley Falls river kayak adventures. Kipu Falls Zipline Safari. Napali and Poipu sea kayak tours. Island wide from convenient Poipu location. (South Shore of Kauai)
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Kauai has a canyon that might evoke images of the “real” thing in the Southwest. Well, it does not quite compete with the renowned relative but it is certainly impressive. There are two approaches to the canyon with two different effects on the viewer. The more promoted one (off Kekaha, Koke’e Road 550) is leading you through the backyard till it is not possible anymore and suddenly reveals the natural wonder in its full splendour. The second approach (off Waimea, Waimea Canyon Road 550) is not advertised at the place where it turns off from the main highway, so people usually miss it, but this road offers more gradual exposure to the phenomenon through direct contact from the very beginning where the vast coastal plain slowly but surely narrows to achieve the twisted meanderings at higher elevation. Conveniently, the road passes just meters away from the ravine and on many occasions there are parking spots for easy access to the lookouts. If one needs a more “in-the-buxom” kind of feeling, there are hiking trails that take the avid explorers on a journey through the different “sleeves” and add extra angles and prospective to the incredible scenery. The asphalt road finishes on a “high note” quite literally with the Na Pali coast at your feet where magically the reddish tones have switched to green ones.
On the drier west side of the island is the Waimea Canyon State Park (1,866 acres) and the Koke's State Park (4,345 acres) that include the Waimea Canyon of Kauai. This is reportedly the largest canyon of its kind in the Pacific Ocean. The canyon is 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,500-feet deep. Carved thousands of years ago by rivers and floods that flowed from Mount Waialeale's summit, there are today numerous drive outs where one can stop the car, and walk to the edge for a stunning view. There is plenty of hiking and geological appreciation, but we didn't have time for that on this trip. I understand that the state park also includes Alakai swamp, which we also didn't visit. But, I wish we had done all these things. This is an excellent activity for Kauai that many people probably miss due to the effort to get there. There are no gas stations along the 40 mile long Waimea Canyon Road. At beach level, the air is often quite warm but by the time one gets to elevation of the ranger station it can be quite cool, so even if your hot at the beach, don't forget to bring long pants and a sweater. My photos here don't do the place justice really. We had a problem of a cloudy haze and it seemed like I was always shooting into the sun, so I hope these images at least give you an idea of what the place is like.
Kauai is known for its spectacular beauty. This particular feature is considered a "must see" from just about anyone's point of view. Dubbed as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific", it is in fact a very nice canyon. Because of the highlands, the area receives quite a bit of moisture. This gives the landscape a variety of color, especially with the red soils and green vegetation. The road starts at Waimea and continues towards the canyon. There is a main overlook area and several areas up the road to pull off as well. Just like the Grand Canyon, this feature is created from the erosion caused by the drainage in the area.
Waimea Canyon has been called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific--though I think that it is much more beautiful than it's mainland counterpart. At Waimea, there is a rich tapestry of colors that you won't find at the Grand Canyon with the red, iron-rich soil, the green plants, and the blue sky (or if you're there on a cloudy day, a greyish-white sky!). You can see waterfalls dripping down the canyon walls--especially after a rain.
Sometimes when you go there, it can be "white out" conditions, meaning you can't see a thing. Don't be discouraged. Just come back later in the day, and it will have cleared up and you'll see some amazing views.
There are several hiking trails that start from here and there are many wonderful vantage points along the way and even further up the road from the canyon lookout. As you're driving to the canyon lookout, you can see Ni'ihau. Further up the road, you can get some awesome (literally) views of the Kalalau Valley at the Pu'u O Kila Lookout.
Make sure to bring a sweatshirt or a jacket with you, as it is about 10 degrees (or more) cooler than on any other part of the island.
I would advise going here as early as possible in the day for the best view and to avoid being stuck behind giant tour buses. The road is very curvy and when it is clear out the view is fantastic! There are several spots to stop off and catch the view. The day we went was very cloudy, so I included some photos we took earlier from the helicopter.
There is no fee to drive through here, there is a small museum you can visit for hiking trail maps and other general information. It was informative.
On the west side of Kaua‘i you'll find Koke‘e (ko-kay-ay) State Park and the beautiful Waimea Canyon. It is said that Mark Twain once compared Waimea to the Grand Canyon. They certainly look similar.
However, their origins are quite different. The rock layers you see in Waimea Canyon were laid there as one lava flow upon another over the span of hundreds of thousands to millions of years.
The rock layers in Grand Canyon are sedimentary layers formed hundreds of millions of years ago under the sea and were then thrust upwards through the geological forces of plate tectonics.
Both were cut and shaped into their present beauty by the tender loving care of Mother Nature's rain, heat, and cold while Father Time provided eons upon eons of pampering.
Waimea Canyon Drive has several places to stop and view its beauty. Be sure to take in every one of them. And if you're lucky to be here after there's been plenty of rain, you'll get to see Waipo‘o Falls (why-poh-oh, a separate tip) in all its glory (it was bone dry on one of our trips). It is best viewed from Pu‘u Ka Pele Lookout.
Waimea Canyon is the largest canyon in the Pacific. The canyon measures 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,500-feet deep. There are numerous trails that lead through and above the canyon. You can take the stairs to the view point, but there is also a ramp for the disabled. Also, there are carts where vendors sell delicious dried pineapple, sweet coconut flakes, and other various snacks and drinks.
On the way up, stop on the side of the road and take a look at the red dirt. There's a company called "Red Dirt Shirts" that uses this dirt to dye tshirts, hats, etc.
Kaua'i's Waimea Canyon is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific for good reason! It is wide, deep and beautiful, sporting many of the same orange and red colors as the real Grand Canyon in Arizona. Though much shorter in length, it does have a beautiful waterfall within view of the rim. It also has the advantage of having way fewer visitors than the grand canyon -- there were never more than 10 cars in the parking lot any time we've visited.
Waimea Canyon was equally my favorite stop in Kaua'i along with the Na Pal'i coast. It is known as the "Grand Canyon of the South Pacific." I have also been to the Grand Canyon. Although Waimea Canyon doesn't compare to the Grand Canyon in size, it's vegetation makes it much more beautiful in my opinion. Check out my WAIMEA CANYON ALBUM for more spectacular photos from my 2006 visit.
Having visited some of the world’s great canyons, including the Grand Canyon and Colca Canyon, I had fairly low expectations for Waimea Canyon. Waimea is only 14 miles long and just over 3500 feet deep, but in many ways it is superior to its better known brethren. While it can’t compare in size or grandeur, the contrasting red soil and green foliage of the canyon, when combined with the cascading waterfalls, makes it unlike any place I have ever seen. Equally remarkable is how the canyon drowns out the noise from the never-ending parade of helicopters and renders them mere specks on the horizon. The canyon is easily accessed by car via the various lookouts along Waimea Caynon Road and Kokee Road, on foot via hiking trails, on horseback, or via helicopter. A visit to this remarkable sight is highly recommended.
No trip to the island of Kauai would be complete without a visit to the Waimea Canyon. In the 19th century Mark Twain called it the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." The reddish soil and lawers of the canyon are indeed reminiscent of the grander canyon in Arizona. Although much smaller, Waimea is still large enough to be a spectacular gorge, 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep.
As you drive up the up the Waimea Canyon Road yuou will pass several great vantage points from which to view the canyon. The most popular one, the Waimea Canyon Lookout, is just past the 10 mile marker. On a clear day the view across the canyon to Waipo'o falls is breathtaking. At the lookout you will find a large parking area and restrooms. On the day we were there vendors were also present offering refreshment, and we took advantage of the opportunity by adding some fresh pineapple to the picnic lunch we were carrying. Restrooms and splendid view are also available just three miles further up at the Pu'u Ka Pele Lookout. The Moa, or wild game chicken, was especially prevalent in the parking area of this lookout. Watch for baby chicks and try not to run over them.
If you are going to Kauai, make sure you stop and see Waimea Canyon. It's on the west side of the island up a very long windy road. We headed up in a tour bus but it was not uncommon to see cyclists pedaling towards the top. They should give you a medal for making it to the top under your own power.
The Canyon is stunning. It's like the Grand Canyon filled with vegetation. Here and there you will see waterfalls as well.
Also, on the way up, the tour guide showed us an Island off the coast that is supposed to be reserved for Native Hawaiians who live like the old Polynesians before power.
This was by far my favorite part of Hawaii just because I thought it was so different from what I "THOUGHT" Hawaii would be like.
Also called Grand Canyon of the Pacific. To get there you have to drive up a 19 miles winding road and you never know what the weather is going to be like at the top of one of the wettest spots in the world. We got there and the clouds were hiding the view so we drove to the top to see the Na pali view. When we came back down the clouds had lifted slightly but what we saw was worht the wait!
Rent a car, take a tour, but you must travel down the Waimea Canyon Drive to Waimea Canyon State Park and Kokee State Park. This is a beautiful scenic drive with many stops and lookout points. You can also take a picnic lunch and stop for abit.
Bring plenty of film and gear up that digital camera.