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Hiking in Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of the Pacific – for All Skill Levels

waimea canyon

Kauai real estate is in close proximity to one of Hawaii’s most incredible natural wonders; Waimea Canyon. Given the nickname “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain, Waimea Canyon is a large canyon that stretches roughly 10 miles long, one mile across, and over 3000 feet deep! And unlike its dry counterpart in Arizona, Waimea Canyon is covered in lush greenery and waterfalls.

Owners of Hawaii luxury homes are treated to one of the nation’s most beautiful hiking destinations on a year-round basis. Whether you are a beginner looking for a simple and fun stroll through the canyon or a veteran hiker ready for a challenge, Waimea Canyon has something for everyone! Here’s a look at some of the canyon’s most popular hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.

For all of these hikes, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and attire, and don’t forget to pack some water and snacks!

 

Cliff Trail: Easy

For beginners, families or first time visitors of Waimea Canyon, the Cliff Trail is an excellent place to start. Keeping to the ridge top, this trail provides beautiful views of the canyon. Parking is available right at the beginning of the hike.

The Cliff Trail spans only a tenth of a mile, making it a short round trip that can be completed in under a half hour. This trail provides a great scope of the size and depth of the canyon. Feral goats are often found along this trail as well!

Beginners looking for a longer and more leisurely stroll can park at the Koke’e State Park entrance off of Koke’e Road instead and take Halemanu Road, a .8 mile dirt road that brings hikers to the beginning of the Cliff Trail. Ending this trip at the Cliff Trail overlook makes this a nice two-hour round trip.

 

Canyon Trail: Moderate     

One of the most popular and scenic trails in Waimea Canyon, the Canyon Trail branches off of the Cliff Trail and is a 3.4 mile round trip that takes two to three hours to complete and enjoy.

waimea canyon2

About halfway down the trail, hikers will reach Waipo’o Falls, a gorgeous 800 foot cascading waterfall. This is a popular spot to stop for a picnic break. Continuing to the end of the Canyon Trail, hikers reach the Kumuwela Lookout. This is another excellent picnic spot, and a lookout that features an incredible view of the island from the mountain to the ocean.

It is worth noting that while the Cliff Trail is in close proximity to the Waipo’o Falls, they aren’t visible from that viewing point as you are actually above them at that point. So the Canyon Trail is your best bet if you want to see this waterfall.

 

Black Pipe Trail: Moderate

Another access trail to the Canyon Trail, the Black Pipe Trail is .8 miles long and takes roughly a half hour to cover one-way.

This path takes hikers through the beautiful koa forest, where they will find beautiful plant life including Native Hibiscus. The trail received its name due to a large black wooden pipe that hikers must cross to traverse it.

 

Kukui Trail: Difficult

Experienced hikers are strongly encouraged to try this steep hike, which can be accessed between mile markers 8 and 9 off of Koke’e Road.

Hikers will travel 5 miles round trip on this trail, journeying down to the bottom of Waimea Canyon to the Wiliwili campsite at the canyon floor. Along the way, you will see wild chickens and kukui nut trees when traveling through the forest. Eventually, you will reach the Waimea River, the perfect spot to take a break and admire the scenery all around you.

This hike is an excellent workout, especially on the two mile trip back up to the top of the canyon!