Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kauai's Grand Canyon of the Pacific

About 10 miles long and almost 4,000 feet deep, Waimea Canyon can stand alongside those geologic sites in the American Southwest as a scenic wonder. A rugged hunter's trail follows the river from sea level into the gorge—not an advisable route when tropical rains fall in the interior and send a churning deluge through the canyon. It's easier to reach the bottom via the Kukui Trail, which is off the road that climbs along the rim of the canyon, a trek of about five miles round-trip that drops more than 2,000 feet.

This shot is from farther up the canyon on the Black Pipe Trail, part of a network of trails near Koke'e State Park. The trail connects with the Canyon Trail and crosses midway along the courseway of Waipo'o Falls. This place is a hiker's paradise. See Kauai Trailblazer pages 151-171 for canyon trails, as well as the many trails that radiate seaward along the Napali (The Cliffs) coast and into the Alakai Swamp.