Waimea Canyon in Kauai

The most beautiful place in the state.

I’ve only been to two of the Hawaiian Islands (The Big Island and Kauai), but I’d be rendered speechless if there was any place in this entire state that was more beautiful than Waimea Canyon, especially at its northern end, where you can gaze at the all-but-inaccessible Napali Coast. If you go to Kauai and don’t spend at least half a day here, you are a failure as a traveler as far as I’m concerned.

Seriously. Shame on you. Go to your room and think about what you’ve done.

This canyon is a mile wide, 10 miles long, and somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 feet deep, depending on what source you believe. It looks like the Grand Canyon’s little sister. It’s smaller, yes, but it’s lush and green and vibrant with life. I think I’d have a much easier time surviving in Waimea than in that harsh and rugged valley in Arizona, no matter how iconic it may be. Like the rest of Kauai, there are no snakes and there’s plenty of shade and vegetation.

Moot point, though. While there are plenty of hiking opportunities in this area, you might want to remember that if you hike 2000 feet down to see a waterfall, you’ll have to hike 2000 feet back up. Those days, for me, are decades in the past.

Fortunately, the canyon rim is accessible by car, and there are plenty of overlooks that allow you to revel in the beauty without breaking a sweat. We stopped at five of them, and also visited the museum, where you pay the park’s admission fee. (It would probably be easy to sneak past this fee, but we wanted to pay it if it means the canyon will be well taken care of. A ten-dollar contribution to protect something so priceless is a sound investment as far as I’m concerned.)

Below, you’ll see photos that we took on our visit, and after that are some links that you can check out if you want to learn more about Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast. Many of the pictures on those web pages are spectacular. Enjoy!





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