Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Part of the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve. Waimea is approximately 14 miles long, one mile wide, and up to 3,600 ft deep, located on the western side of Kauai.
Waimea is Hawaiian for "reddish water", a reference to the erosion of the canyon's red soil. This is absolutely beautiful. Bursting with ever-changing colors- the reds, oranges, and then greens of the foliage.
The drive up was long and a little nerve-racking. The incline was so steep that I felt like I was on a roller coaster, that, or the car would tumble backward at any moment. There were a lot of sites to stop at on the way up, as well as places to stop and go hiking in the tropics. The reserve boasts about 45 different trails lacing the Alakai Swamp.
Hikers are allowed to pitch a tent or there are cabins set in redwoods for rent. Unfortunately, no one thought of that, so we were not dressed to do so. If I get the opportunity again I would love to go hiking throughout this rain forest.
Among the stops available are Waimea Canyon lookout, which is the first good vantage point you will come to, located between mile markers 10 and 11 on this steep and winding ascent. Another that offers spectacular views is Puu Hina Hina lookout, between mile markers 13 and 14. There are also reddish lava beds on the way up. The scenery was unreal, something about nature just vibes me right. All the way at the top is Kalalau lookout.
Standing that high up, the view of the canyon below makes you feel very small, before me laid a work in progress of nature that began at least 5 million years ago. Though all the stops, as well as the entire drive up, were breathtaking, this spot gave me all the feels. Again I always feel my photos speak louder than I ever could.
The park is open daily year-round. Locals say the best time to go is early morning so you can get to see the panoramic view of Kalalau Valley from the lookout at 4,000 ft, before the clouds obscure the valleys and peaks.
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