Waimea Canyon in Kaua’i is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii — It’s vast, gorgeous, and a must-see if you are ever in Kaua’i. The best part? It’s a scenic adventure open to young and old of all abilities. Families can choose to view the canyon from the observation deck or hike to a closer view-point. There’s a men’s and women’s restroom available (but bring your own seat protector, hand soap and towels) near the observation deck, and you may find some local fruits for sale in the parking lot as well. When I went, there was a truck selling sugar-crusted dried pineapple, fresh mango, and even dragon fruit.
*Click on the photo boxes below to enter a large gallery slideshow!*
If you’re a tad more adventurous, there’s a trail that leads to a better vantage point of the canyon a little ways away from the observation deck area. You can either drive down to the first stop to park and start your hike, or drive a bit further down for a clearing where you can park to cut your hike in half. If you park in the first spot like my family did then you’re in for a narrow, up, down, and rocky hike. (It definitely isn’t boring.) If the whole family is going, be sure to bring water, dress appropriately, and bring some snacks. You can find more tips on hiking at my post for National Parks Depot, here.
After about 20 minutes or so of hiking you come across a clearing (where we found a car had parked and wished we had done the same). At the clearing the path splits with the 45-minute or so hike to the waterfall to the left and a 5-minute or so hike to the canyon viewing point to the right. (We decided to look for the waterfall and went left.) If you venture to the waterfall be sure to bring a carrier for your little one(s) and wear a swimsuit. The hike takes nearly 2 hours in total (not including time spent at the waterfall), so be sure to have everyone use the potty before you start.
Want to know what the hike might be like? Check out my (shaky) video from the last 15 minutes or so of the hike below.