Waimea Canyon is on the west side of Kauai, Hawaii’s greenest island. It is accessible from the south of the island off of highway 50. As you climb the mountain road don’t neglect to look out behind you and to the west. You will get great views of the Forbidden Island of Ni’ihau. There are several stopping points along the road which are perfect for admiring the southern coastline and beyond. Farther along the canyon road is very slow and windy, but you will want to see it through to the end. You should be used to the slow part by now as all of Kauai posts speed limits below what you may think are necessary. It is well paved except for a short stretch of a couple miles that is riddled with potholes.
You will find the best hiking, camping and lookouts in Kauai on your way to the top of the canyon road. Select your hikes with care and according to your tastes but every lookout point is a must-see. Starting with Waimea Canyon Lookout, then a few miles down at Pu’u Ka Pele Lookout and Pu’u Hinahina Viewpoint you will be looking eastward into the vast canyon with its spectacular greenery. The last two lookouts, Kalalau and Pu’u o Kila, are on the last mile of road and provide stunning, cliff edge, ocean views.
The green, misty end of the road is a stark difference to the brown, grassy beginning. Along the way, towards the west, you will find diverting roadways along several mountain ridges. These roads are unpaved and meant for hunting and fishing groups so the state requires you to have a hunting permit before travelling them. Given the wetter weather and steeper slopes it is best to attempt these roads in a four-wheel drive capable vehicle.
Waimea Canyon will you give you a lot of pleasant visual surprises. It is packed with hiking trails and activities that make it worth visiting many times during a visit to the island. If mountains are your haven then Waimea Canyon is Kauai’s perfect escape.
This article was contributed by Jake from the Villas at Poipu Kai, a beautiful condo resort in Poipu .