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Welcome to Dream Vacations, a lifestyle column on travelling to amazing destinations with practical advice and my revelations about locales from years of personal experience. The power and beauty of nature surrounds us in various ways and forms, but the sheer magnitude of the Waimea Canyon on Kauai, Hawaii is mere reason enough to visit.

Bigger than the Grand Canyon?

While it is not bigger than the Grand Canyon, the Waimea Canyon is the largest of its kind in the Pacific region and Hawaii. It is 10 miles long, a mile wide and almost 3,600 feet deep at its deepest point. With three official lookout points, it’s breathtaking beauty is a must-see if you are day-tripping to Kauai or staying on the island. There are also a ton of activities that can make your trip to Waimea Canyon State Park even more enjoyable.

Finding the Lookouts

There are three main lookouts at the top of the canyon that give you amazing views of the colorful array of hues including reds, greens and browns. The Waimea river runs red from the erosion of the canyon walls and this effluence into the ocean can actually be seen from space.

  • Official Park Lookout – just past mile marker 10 on highway 550
  • Puu Ka Pele Lookout – near mile marker 13 on highway 550
  • Puu Hinahina Lookout – between mile markers 13 and 14 on highway 550

Before you set out from your hotel and travelling up highway 550 to the top of the canyon and ridge be sure your gas tank is full. Although it is only 36 miles from the bottom to the top, it is a 4,000 foot elevation change and many make the mistake of not ensuring a full tank before they take the trip.

Other Activities

The state park, canyon ridge and river valley provides for days of activities for an active family. Here are just a few of the great outdoor activities you can do:

  1. Hiking – there are tons of hiking trails from beginner, hour-long hikes to overnight camping.
  2. Fishing – trout fishing in the Waimea river is a great way to hike and fish. Make sure it is in season and you have the right licenses if needed in state parks.
  3. River Cruise – take a canyon river cruise up to famous Fern Grotto lava cave.
  4. Downhill Cycling – feeling adventurous? Ride down the canyon on a bicycle! From Ridge top to ocean, it’s safer than it sounds and great for most families.

Whether you just want to see one of the largest canyons in the world, get some fresh air hiking in or cruise the Waimea river while viewing the sights, the Waimea Canyon is a great place to spend a few days while on Kauai.

Looking for Kauai accommodations?  Feel free to call me about any of our Resort rentals.


Tags: Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii, hiking, fishing, lookouts, cycling, river cruise, resorts, family vacation