Waimea Canyon – Gateway to the Napali

The iconic Napali coast is legendary on Kauai. Most of the time you view it by sea, but one of the best ways is on the extreme west side by land! Begin your journey by heading to Kalaheo on Highway 50. Follow the signs to Waimea Canyon – this is an all day trip even from the south shore so be prepared.

As you wind your way up there are numerous spots to stop and see the view. I’d encourage you to take advantage of them. There is one particularly large overlook with a big parking lot – so watch out for that. There are lots of trails as well once you get up out of the canyon drive. Here’s a good overview of them.

Waimea Canyon State Park

At the top of the canyon you’ll find Waimea Canyon State Park. There is a parking and entrance fee which you’ll get at kiosks once you arrive at the park.

So this is where it gets really cool. The hike takes you along the top of the Na Pali Coast and especially above the Awaawapuhi and Nualolo Valleys overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A word of warning, these trails are not easy but they are not dangerous. Just bring good hiking shoes, a walking stick, and water.

Above the Na Pali you are looking down to the mid-way point of the Kalalau Trail. If you take a cruise you can see it from the ocean as well.

Remember, this is an all-day experience so leave early, bring a lunch, and plan on being gone all day. If this is your first time on Kauai this is one of those “must do” excursions.

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