Waimea Canyon

Poipu Travel Blog

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Waimea Canyon

Since I was the veteran driver in these environs, I got to drive our party of seven along the southern coast of Kauai to visit Waimea Canyon today.  This is a jewel of the island and you will certainly hear how Mark Twain dubbed it the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii” from his visit in the 1800’s.  Not a bad drive from Poipu and what appeals to me most is the glimpses of Ni’ihau, the “forbidden island”.  This is another Hawaiian island that is privately owned and still has several hundred native Hawaiians living on it, somewhat as they did originally!  You rarely hear about this, but it never ceases to amaze me that this enclave exists.

A colorful Kauai rooster


You remain at sea level until you acquire the road ascending several thousand feet up into Waimea.  The road is necessarily twisty and you need to exercise caution…it will certainly rain off and on during your visit, but don’t worry --- it should quickly dissipate and be replaced by sunshine (though the roadways remain slick).  There are plenty of places to pull off and enjoy the incredible vistas into the red canyon…truly is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon!

What I like even better with the kids around is the number of chickens running about.  I’ve heard the rumor often enough to believe it…that hurricane Iniki  blew over a number of chicken coops and the freed birds thrived in this environment.

Jo Jo’s Shave Ice! Our gang is on the bench to the right…
  Whatever caused the chickens to flourish in the wild, they are all over the island, but especially going up the canyon.  They sport a riotous variety of loud colors and are actually quite attractive

At the very summit of the park road you can peek down into Na Pali from the mountain tops, which got Jeff & I psyched for our planned hike the next day.  One of many, many unique vistas in this place of splendor.


I successfully navigated our vehicle down the seventeen miles back to the coast and we made a stop at Jo Jo’s Shave Ice on the return to Poipu.  “Shave Ice” is a Hawaiian specialty…they do actually shave ice cubes to create these sno-cone like creations (unfortunately diabetic, so I’ve never sampled the wares).  In the middle of nowhere in particular, the fame of Jo-Jo’s was indicated by how packed it was on a Monday afternoon.  But the line moves quickly and judging from the smiles, everyone in our gang would have gladly waited longer to gain their shave ice!

anupa_rk says:
Ah now you are making me regret my decision of now including Kauai in my already crunched Hawaii trip!
Posted on: May 12, 2013
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Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon
A colorful Kauai rooster
A colorful Kauai rooster
Jo Jo’s Shave Ice!  Our gang is …
Jo Jo’s Shave Ice! Our gang is…
photo by: vances