Hawaii October 30, 2016
The Unrivaled Canyon Hike In Hawaii Everyone Should Take At Least Once
Located in western Kauai, Waimea Canyon is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and though the expansive canyon is not as big – or as old – as its Arizona cousin, you will surely never experience anything quite like this geological wonder in Hawaii. And while the lookout provides some stellar views of the canyon, no trip to this renowned state park is complete without a hike on the Waimea Canyon Trail.
With brilliant shades of red, brown, green, blue, gray and purple, Waimea Canyon State Park encompasses approximately 1,866 acres, and is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations.
However, for some unfortunate reason, few of these visitors opt to hike the 4-mile Canyon Trail, where hikers are constantly rewarded with unobstructed views of this geological wonder.
Nearly 14 miles long, one mile wide, and more than 3,600 feet deep, the stunning Waimea Canyon is full of striking cliffs, incredible colors, and cascading waterfalls, all of which you will see along the Canyon Trail.
The moderate trail begins at Halemanu Road off Highway 550 between mile markers 14 and 15; unless you’re the first to arrive, there should be a few cars in this dirt parking area.
Follow this dirt road through a clearing and to a fork in the road: the left leads you to the short + sweet Cliff Trail (approximately .5 miles round trip), while the right leads to you the Canyon Trail. If you’re up for it, and didn’t think the first portion of the hike was too strenuous, we suggest you complete both trails.
It is on this trail that you will experience incredible canyon views…
...and fascinating lava formations carved into the cliffs.
Unlike many similar canyons, Waimea Canyon was not formed solely from steady erosion, but by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created the island of Kauai. While Kauai was continuously erupting, nearly four million years ago, a portion of the island collapsed, creating a depression that filled with lava flows.
Over time, the basalt weathered from its original black hue to Waimea Canyon’s signature red. After all, waimea translates to “reddish water” in Hawaiian, surely referring to the canyon’s striking color.
If you have yet to take this incredible hike, please put it on your
outdoor Hawaiian bucket list as soon as possible, along with these 12 easy trails.