The Waimea Canyon, located in the Hawaiian Islands, is also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Located on Kauai, this canyon is one of the most beautiful places in the islands. The canyon stretches almost ten miles, and is nearly one mile across! It is more than 3,000 feet deep and lush with waterfalls and greenery. The canyon is a favorite of locals for its many hiking trails, which range from novice to expert. The canyon is also visually spectacular with hues of green, red, purple, gray, and blue.
Waimea Canyon should definitely be near the top on every Kauai visitor’s list. The canyon is thousands of years old, and considered one of the Earth’s wettest spots with more than 466 inches of rain annually.
Many visitors choose to take in the canyon from one of the many hiking trails. No matter what the skill level of the visitor, there is sure to be a hiking trail that will suit. Regardless which trail you choose, all visitors should wear proper clothing and comfortable hiking shoes. It is also important to also pack high-energy snacks and plenty of water. Don’t underestimate the trail just because it looks friendly!
For families with smaller children or beginning hikers, the Cliff Trail is one of the best ways to see Waimea Canyon. This trail runs along the top of the ridge providing incredible views of the canyon. There is parking near the beginning of the trail making it convenient for visitors. The trail is only about one-tenth of a mile and can be done in less than 30 minutes.
Another good trail for beginners is a walk along Halemanu Road, a short dirt road near the entrance to Kokee State Park. This stroll brings visitors to the beginning of the Cliff Trail and combined together, provides a two-hour round trip hike.
Branching off the Cliff Trail is the Canyon Trail. This trail is suitable for hikers of moderate ability. The trail is 3.4 miles roundtrip and can usually be done in less than three hours. One of the best things about this trail is Waipoo Falls located about midway during the hike. Visitors reach Kumuwela Lookout at the end of Canyon Trail which features one of the best views of Kauai.
Yet another moderate hiking trail is Black Pipe Trail. This trail provides another access to Canyon Trail. Black Pipe is almost a mile long and may be hiked in a little under 30 minutes. This path meanders through a native forest where gorgeous native Hibiscus can be seen in all its glory.
For more experienced hikers, the Kukui Trail is a worthy challenge. This is a fairly steep hike with its entrance off Kokee Road, between markers 8 and 9.
Kukui trail covers five miles, and goes to the bottom of the canyon. Hikers see all types of wildlife along the way, including wild chickens. They also travel through a native forest where they can see kukui nut trees. The trail ends at the Waimea River which is a perfect spot to end the day.
It makes no difference which trail you choose, as you are guaranteed to have a fulfilling experience there in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Corral the family and take on any of the amazing trails, and you are sure to come out more fulfilled than when you arrived!