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Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon

star-5
2,327 Reviews
Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, 96796

The Basics

The canyon, within the purview of the free-to-access Waimea Canyon State Park, is best seen on a tour, which allows you to gaze over the cliff edges without having to also navigate a vehicle along the winding, canyon-hugging route. Take a 4WD tour on Kauai’s backroads and past popular attractions like quaint Koloa Town, the Spouting Horn blowhole, the artsy town of Hanapepe, and the old Russian Fort before skirting the canyon. Or follow the Wailua River—coupling boat or kayak rides to the jungle of Fern Grotto—with a journey west for comparatively dry river views. Most Waimea Canyon tours continue to Kauai’s northern coast, stopping at Kokee State Park and the Kalalau Overlook for sweeping views of the undulating Na Pali Coast.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Kauai

star-5
Great family friendly way to see the island!
Ashe-G, May 2021
Kauai's Waimea Canyon and South Side Private Guided Tour
Noah was so much fun! Waimea Canyon was gorgeous and Noah kept the drive entertaining with stories and Hawaiian tales about the islands and kingdom. He modified the tour to allow us to explore the makauwahi cave trail and we saw giant tortoises munching grasses and native Hawaiian plants. Tacos in Waimea town and several stop to see breath taking views of the Napoli coast and Poipu Beach rounded out the day. Great intro to Kauai and lovely company to boot.
star-5
Fun and informative
Terry_O, Jun 2021
Kauai Private Tour : Waimea Canyon and Southside
Great tour, excellent very informative guide. He was great with kids and grandparents. We will use Bobby again for future tours.
star-5
Kauai day trip
Dennis_F, Jun 2021
Private Waimea Canyon Tour with Local Guide
The experience was well worth the price, and Orlando was an awesome host/driver. He made the day exceed our expectations.
star-5
Amazing
jeremy_a, May 2021
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
Amazing local-style hospitality! A great way to see a really beautiful part of the world. The bike trip down was fun!
star-5
Entertaining with Tik Tok vids
erikh2000, May 2021
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
A great experience. The guides (forgot to write down their name) made it a great trip. They were very entertaining.
star-5
Great way to see everything on Kauai
Kay_H, May 2021
Private Waimea Canyon Tour
Fantastic tour! John tailored it to us. He made a quick stop at Kauai Chocolates and a bakery for Malasadas. So patient and kind. Knew every answer to every question we had. It was a great tour and day!
star-5
Must try in Kauai
Vince_A, Apr 2021
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
We had such a great time. Guide and all staff were very nice and fun. We made the best memory in Waimea Canyon. All the spots they took us are amazing and breathtaking! They took very nice pictures for us. The bike ride was fun and easy. It took a little longer than 4 hours including coming back to the meeting spots. We used pick-up and drop-off service which was surprisingly affordable and convenient. We highly recommand this tour to everyone!
star-4
Lots to see in Kaui
kark111, Jul 2019
Private Waimea Canyon Tour
we had a full day of sightseeing and thanks to the weather couldn't appreciate all of the beautiful views the island has to offer. John was an informative guide and the day did seem to get a bit long, I think that maybe if a few of the retail stops were eliminated it would be a little better. It is a very professional tour, the van is clean and spacious and they provides drinks and snacks which everyone appreciated. Overall we enjoyed the tour.
star-5
The highlight of our Kauai trip
vchimi, Feb 2020
Kauai's Waimea Canyon and South Side Private Guided Tour
This private tour, along with the Noah's Ark West/South coast tour, were the highlights of our visit to Kauai. Noah is an extraordinary guide. He is very knowledgeable, flexible and well versed in the island's culture and history. Very highly recommended!
star-5
Waimea Canyon
John_S, May 2021
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
Breathtaking views and outstanding guides. Really nice tour, saw vistas from north coast, through the canyon to a southern sunset. Bike ride was exciting. Ernesto a great guide, really cared that his group was well taken care of.
star-5
Time of our life!
Mary_P, May 2021
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
Guides were awesome! Would have loved a short swim at the end, but it reached far beyond our expectations. Safe, fun, and absolutely beautiful!
star-5
Noah Ark Kauai Tours
lynnsierpinski, Jan 2020
Kauai's Waimea Canyon and South Side Private Guided Tour
Noah was very, very knowledgeable. He took us to special viewing point of Waimea Canyon, to the lava caves and beach locations. I would highly recommend Noah!!!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Waimea Canyon itself is dry and dusty, but the Na Pali Coast can be foggy and wet. Be prepared and dress in layers for whatever the weather may bring.

  • Although the canyon trails aren’t generally wheelchair accessible, the many lookout points are.

  • For experienced hikers, longer treks—including guided multi-day hut-to-hut hikes—are an option. Trail maps and additional information are available in the Kokee Museum and Visitor Center north of the canyon.

  • There are no gas stations and only one restaurant along Waimea Canyon Drive—a route that, depending on how many stops you make, could take all day. Choose a tour that includes lunch or snacks, or pack food.

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How to Get There

Access Waimea Canyon along scenic, in-and-out Waimea Canyon Drive (Highway 550) in southwestern Kauai. There are several lookout points and trailheads along the route. You can access the road from coastal Highway 50 in the town of Waimea, or from farther west at Kekaha, via Kokee Road. On the return journey be sure to look for glimpses of distant Niihau, the Forbidden Island.

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Trip ideas

Best Beaches on Kauai

Best Beaches on Kauai


When to Get There

It’s best to head to Waimea Canyon early in the day (before 10am) or in the late afternoon (after 3pm), when the fog that regularly rolls off the sea is less likely to obscure views along the route. Very early morning and at sunset, the canyon’s colors come alive and make for great photographs.

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Stops Along the Waimea Canyon

There are dozens of pull-offs along Waimea Canyon Drive, but don’t miss sights like the Waimea Canyon Lookout at mile marker 10 or Waipio Falls, best seen from a small lookout around mile marker 13, opposite a picnic area with restrooms and water fountains. The Iliau Nature Loop is a flat and easy (though dusty) trail with signage on local birds and plants, as well as some great canyon views; look for it just before mile marker 9. The restaurant at Kokee State Park, north of the canyon, serves local-style meals—try the loco moco, a hearty Hawaiian dish of white rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy.

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