Waimea Canyon State Park

Waimea Canyon State Park

Basking in the beauty of Waimea Canyon State Park, often called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, left me speechless

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February 7, 2024
4 min read

What’s interesting is that I had absolutely nothing planned for my time in Kauai. Nothing. Not a thing. I’d considered purchasing a luau ticket. But, when I got to the check out page, intuitively I stopped myself. I felt that after the scheduling of time and activities in Maui during my stay at Hotel Wailea, my stay at 1Hotel Hanalei Bay was pure going with the flow.

So, when I asked one of the concierge what I should do on the island, giving my limited stay, he immediately suggested Waimea Canyon State Park.

Attempt #1

Now, the micro climate in Princeville is actually different than the micro climate in Waimea. Even though Kauai is a seemly small island – the weather makes all the difference. Where it was clear and slightly drizzling all day in Princeville, the heavy rains in Waimea Canyon completely rained me out.  In fact, the only thing I could see was the sign that pointed to the lookout.

To which there was nothing to see.

I was incredibly frustrated and tired from looking forward to such a peak experience – and ending up with what felt like nothing to show for it.

However, I was determined to focus on the positives of the day – and the shots I DID get a few awesome shots of surfers at Kealia Beach, a shot of the Tree Tunnel and the Wailua Falls waterfall at sunset.

But damn, I mentally did a mental number on myself regarding stuff I simply could not control. Which folds into my internal measure of perfection and perfect pictures.

Along with wanting something and not getting it.

That only made me more determined.

Attempt #2

As there was time before our flight back to the Mainland, I wanted to try again the next day. After a delicious breakfast at Wake Up Delicious Hanalei, we made our way all the way back to Waimea Canyon State Park. And this time, due to the rain I’d gotten caught in the day before – the sky, the view and the luscious landscape was incredible.

The drive journey to the Lookout offered a range of magnificent range of Earth.

And when we arrived to the Overlook, with the clouds offering a brilliant contrast against a bright blue sky and the clear sight of the canyon below, all I could say was “Wow”.

I half expected to capture a rainbow during our visit. That’s how lucky and in gratitude I felt to be in the presence of such magnificence.

Didn’t get it.

But, what I received was an adventure that truly fulfilled my Hawaiian desires.

Travel Tip

  1. There is a cost to parking at the regulated look out points. For Non-Residents of Hawaii, it’s $5.00 per person. In addition, Non-Residents of Hawaii, you must pay $10 Per Vehicle.
  2. There’s usually a state worker, standing at the ticket machine on beautiful days to passive aggressively force compliance. Also, the machine only takes Visa and Mastercard, not American Express.
  3. ONLY IF YOU MUST should you use the toilets. They are NASTY. Bring hand sanitizer for your own peace of mind.

Waimea Canyon State Park



Waimea, Hawaii 96796

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