Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park | Kauai, Hawaii

Located on the western side of the island of Kauai is Waimea Canyon also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Starting in the town of Waimea, a 2-mile scenic drive will take you through two state parks and to tons of scenic overlooks and hiking trialheads.

Hanapepe Valley Lookout

I highly recommend taking Waimea Canyon Drive on your way in and hopping out at the overlooks to get different views of the canyon.

Excitement over my new tripod
The first glimpse of Waipo’o Falls through the haze.

The Waimea Canyon Lookout is also the parking lot for the Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls. It’s a 3 mile out and back trail and I would say it is a moderately difficult hike to get to the falls. You have to be super careful as you go down to the falls but it is so worth it.

Just beyond my feet are those giant falls in the photo above.

We built up an appetite on the hike so we stopped at the only restaurant in the park, Koke’e Lodge Cafe & Bar. As we were eating, some thick clouds rolled in. We continued on into Kōkeʻe State Park to check out the rest of the overlooks but unfortunately the fog was too thick to see anything (as it often is).

We heard some people complaining about the price of admission into the park ($10 per car and $5 per person) because they weren’t able to see anything at the overlooks but I think that just means you should count on doing at least one hike while in the canyon because clouds are fairly common. Kauai is the second wettest place on the planet after all.

As a reward for our efforts, we stopped for a coconut drink on our way back into Waimea and enjoyed it at Salt Pond Beach. This beach was perfect because unlike the north shore you can actually get in the water without being swept away. A great way to end an amazing day!


5 thoughts on “Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park | Kauai, Hawaii

    1. When we landed back in Minnesota my first thought was, “Where are the mountains? Where are the waterfalls? Where are the beaches? Why do I live here?” haha

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