Dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon certainly shapes up to its namesake. Stretching 1.6km wide, 16km long and over 3,600 feet deep, this is a site that can’t be missed. Stunning panoramas feature verdant valley gorges, rugged escarpments and colourful layers of striated rock that seem to change colour as the sun passes.
A geographical marvel, visitors will enjoy the red, brown and green hued landscape that leads down into hidden waterfalls and myriad walking tracks. Lookouts offer incredibly vistas over the areas regular rainbows and the windy drive that leads up, boasts adventure in itself.
To get to the general Waimea Canyon National Park region, you’ll want to hire a car. Two roads take you to the canyon and can both be experienced in turn. We suggest starting with the Waimea Canyon Drive, which starts in Waimea. This windy road is not too challenging and offers incredible vistas across the Napali coastline and vast red landscape. When you come across the Waimea Canyon Drive and Koke’e Road intersection (this is the coastal road you’ll take on the return, finishing in Kekaha), it will be another 6.4km onwards to the Waimea Canyon Lookout.
At the end of Highway 550, the Puu O Kila Lookout awaits. Looking across the stunning Kalalau Valley and Alakai Swamp, this awe-inspring panorama must be experienced. Along the way, be sure to stop in at the Koke’e Natural History Museum where you can learn more about the region and it’s unique climate.
The Waimea Canyon boasts myriad challenging walks, including trails that lead down into secret swimming holes and under cascading waterfalls. On the Canyon Trail (beginning on Highway 550), hikers can sit atop the 800 foot Waipoo Falls while on the moderate Black Pipe Trail, hikers traverse through the stunning Koa Forest.