Waimea Canyon State Park: Waimea Canyon Lookout


Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! 


Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is ten miles long and 3000 feet deep (The Grand Canyon in Arizona is 277 miles long and 6000 feet deep.) Waimea Canyon was formed both by erosion from the Waimea River cutting through the rock and by the collapse of the volcano that formed Kauai.


Waimea Canyon and Kōkeʻe State Parks preserve the canyon wilderness and maintain a network of trails and lookouts for visitors to enjoy the area. Waimea Canyon Lookout is the first official lookout on Waimea Canyon Drive around the 10-mile mark.


This area has a large parking lot, restrooms and multi-level viewing platforms. We arrived early, beating the tour buses. After watching the wild chickens running around the lot, we proceeded to the viewing platforms.


There is a head-on view of the canyon from this spot.  We could see Waipo’o Falls flowing down the opposite wall with helicopters hovering near it.


The cliff walls were once black lava rock. Over time the exposed rock weathered to its present bright red color.


On the rocks far below the platform, we could see a Hawaiian Ibex goat. Goats are not native to Hawaii, so these are really feral goats. They were introduced to the islands by Captain Cook in the late 1700s.


To control their population and the damage they do to the vegetation, the government issues hunting permits for them. This one didn’t seem too worried about all the humans nearby.


Kauai Posts:


Location: Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796

Designation: State Park

Date of my visit: April 19, 2019


18 thoughts on “Waimea Canyon State Park: Waimea Canyon Lookout

  1. We loved our visit in 2002, but on arriving, the canyon was obscured by mist. Others came and went, but we lingered and were rewarded with tremendous views as the mists lifted. Thanks for sharing T. Allan

  2. A good perspective of the Canyon, T. I backpacked into it in the early 70s, back before it became inundated with helicopters and had its peace and solitude shattered. –Curt

    1. It was pretty peaceful first thing in the morning…I’m glad I insisted our driver take us there first instead of meandering along the coast as he’d wanted. I couldn’t hear the helicopters from across the canyon, but the tour bus crowds would have ruined the experience.

  3. So beautiful! Good eye spotting the goat. I especially love the final shot of the flower. So unusual (at least in my experience) to see pink, orange and yellow flowers together in a cluster like that.

    1. Thanks 😊. I did see a faded pastel version of those flowers in a garden center here in the northeast, but I’ve forgotten the name. I guess to be hardy in our climate, they must give up the brilliance of their Hawaiian counterparts.

  4. Nice shots! I don’t recall seeing the waterfall. I stitched together several images of the canyon from that viewpoint and some slight distortion gives it almost a 3D effect. There are some cliffs north of Durango that look really similar, but I suppose they are more likely sandstone.

  5. I remember when I visited that place 15 years ago and it was just beautiful. I loved the Jack Johnson vibe it gives off. Always Zen. Thanks for posting and sending me down memory lane.

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