Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park
- Type: Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Travelers insist that visiting the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" is a must. This 10-mile long, one-mile wide, and approximately 3,500-feet deep gorge can accomodate both low-impact workouts (taking a winding drive through the canyon and making a few lookout stops along the way) or high-octane adventures (you can also hike down one of the verdant trails). You'll find the Waimea Canyon along Highway 550 in the town of the same name. The gorge spreads across Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State parks.
Try to plan your trip for a clear day, otherwise you'll encounter limited visibility and miss out on the canyon's vibrant colors. However, clouds move in and out fast, so you may only have to wait a few minutes for the perfect photo opportunity. The most popular lookouts include the Waimea Canyon lookout (just past the 10-mile marker on Highway 550), the Pu'u ka pele (just past the 12-mile marker) and the Puu Hinahina (around the 13-mile mark). Visit in the morning to get the best views of the gorge, and the beat the crowds. If you choose to drive, do so carefully; the canyon road is full of potholes.
You can hike through the Canyon and state park for $1 per person. It costs $5 to take the driving tour. Visit the Waimea Canyon website and Koke'e State Park website for information on the canyon hikes and lookouts.