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Waimea Canyon: Hawaii's Natural Wonder and Grand Canyon of the Pacific

Updated on July 12, 2013
Majest, beautiful Waimea Canyon, "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
Majest, beautiful Waimea Canyon, "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
Beautiful Kauai
Beautiful Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii

The Beautiful island of Kauai is home to one of Hawaii’s natural wonders, Waimea Canyon.
Thousands of years ago, Waimea Canyon was carved by running rivers and great floods that flowed down from Mount Waialeale’s summit; renowned as one of the wettest spots on earth (it receives an average of 466 inches of rain each year).
The visible lines on the canyon walls depict different volcanic eruptions and lava flows that occurred over the centuries.

Located on the Kauai’s west side, Waimea Canyon is majestically 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and approximately 4,000 feet at its deepest point.
The first look into the canyon is dramatic. The banners of colors are as far as the eye can see with its deep crags, buttes, and gorges that are painted with deep rich hues of roses, lavenders, celadons, and siennas.

One of three lookouts over Waimea Canyon
One of three lookouts over Waimea Canyon
Lookout viewing Napali Coast, Kauai
Lookout viewing Napali Coast, Kauai
Mark Twain nicknamed Waimea Canyon, "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
Mark Twain nicknamed Waimea Canyon, "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific"

Taking it All In

Waimea Canyon is protected by the Koke'e State Park which encompasses approximately 4,500 acres of land and has 45 miles of trails that run through the canyon and the nearby Alakai Swamp.

The canyon can be viewed from a number of lookouts along Waimea Canyon Drive.
There are three "official" lookout locations from which you can view the Canyon;
The official Waimea Canyon lookout (just past Mile Marker 10 on Highway 550), the Pu`u Ka Pele lookout (a smaller lookout near mile marker 13 on Hwy 550), and Puu Hinahina Lookout (between mile markers 13-14 on Hwy 550), which is believed to be the best of the three lookouts.

A beautiful scenic road winds into the mountains and ends in the lush forests of Kokee State Park. Once you reach the end, you will find hiking trails that are suitable for both the novice and the experienced hiker.

These trails will take you along the rim and down into the canyon. Be advised that the loss of elevation is about 2,000 feet in two and a half miles. Therefore, if you walk down, you’ll also have to walk up! However, if you prefer to get a “bird’s-eye view” of the canyon, you can take a helicopter tour from one of the many touring companies on the island.
A Waimea Canyon tour can include a trip to the canyon paired with other fascinating attractions like Opaekaa Falls, Hanapepe Lookout, and Spouting Horn where water spurts 50 feet in the air from the lava shelf.

You can also take Waimea Canyon Road all the way up to the top of Koke'e State Park where you will behold the beauty of the Napali Coast.

Waimea Canyon captures the breathtaking beauty of the pacific, and because of its grand span of beauty, color, and history, it was nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain.

Approximately 1.5 million visitors come to Kauai each year just to see this natural wonder. It is definitely a must see on your list when visiting Kauai.

Comments:Waimea Canyon, Grand Canyon of the Pacific: Hawaii's Natural Wonder

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    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub with wonderful pictures.

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Thank you Vellur. Waimea Canyon is so beautiful, I just had to share!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Well, you have certainly done justice to Waimea Canyon. A magnificent place to go for hiking, staying in a cabin at Kokee Park for a few days and taking in the incredible scenery.

      I did not know that Mark Twain named it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. How interesting! After making Hawaii my home for a number of years, I really miss it.

      Thanks so much for writing about Waimea Canyon!

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      It is a beautiful place. That's for sure. I spent a lot of time in Kokee on spiritual retreats. It was actually my favorite place to go every week.

      Thanks for reading!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I've traveled a great deal, but haven't made it to Hawaii.

      Thanks for reminding me that there are still amazing places to visit.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Great hub! Well written and beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing! Voted up and beautiful! :)

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      tobusiness, I have done some traveling, but never out of the country. There are so many beautiful and wonderful places in this world of ours. How fortunate we are to have experienced any part of it! I hope you are able to visit Hawaii someday. If you do.. start with Kauai. It will amaze you!

      ~Lisa

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Thank you sgbrown. I'm so happy you enjoyed it. I appreciate the vote up!

      Have a blessed day!

      Lisa

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 5 years ago from California

      I keep seeing these pictures from friends and others...I know I will see this beautiful canyon in person soon! Yay!! Lovely hub!

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Thank you Rachel. I can't wait for you to. One of my favorite things to do was to go up to the lookouts and hang out and listen to the comments of the visitors. The view even brought some of them to tears. :-)

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 5 years ago from India

      This is beautiful. I wish I could visit here. Love the pictures.

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Thank you cashmere! Hopefully one day you will.

      :-)

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 5 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      It looks and sounds beautiful!

      Hawaii is something of a dream destination for me ~ and for many others, I suspect.

      Is it me, or does Mark Twain exhibit a strong resemblance to Tom (Magnum) Selleck in that picture?!

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Kauai is a beautiful place! LOL on the Mark Twain/Tom Selleck resemblance. I had to look at the pic again, and I would tend to agree because of the way Tom looks today. However, I met Tom a few times during his Magnum years when he would travel to Kauai and he was definitely nowhere in the area of looking like Twain! Hubba hubba! :)

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 5 years ago from The English Midlands

      Yes, very good looking. You lucky thing!!!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey Lisa - I was out scouting for some traveling type hubs! This sounds awesome! I have never been to Hawaii but it would be like a 12 hour flight for me!

      This is really tempting looking...beautiful photos and info!

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      oh.. you would love it! If I still lived there..you could stay with me and I would take you alllll over the island. Show you the best spots.. cook you the best meals and watch the best shows...and even go fishing!!! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Wow, what a pretty scene. It was a nice tour. Hope to visit this place some day.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      What a gorgeous place! I would love to visit there. This is a very interesting hub and the pictures are beautiful.

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Thank you Dianna! I hope you do. I just know you'll fall in love with it! Mahalo nui ♥

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Thank you Pamela.... it is really beautiful. I spent a lot of time up at Koke'e (mountains). I truly hope you have an opportunity to visit the islands some day! ♥

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, how beautiful. I just saw the Grand Canyon for the first time recently, and now I'd really love to see the Grand Canyon of the Pacific! Voted up and beautiful and sharing.

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      I hope you have the opportunity to see Waimea Canyon someday Crystal. It is breathtaking. ♥

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