Exploring Waimea Canyon and was one of our many highlights in Hawaii. I have to say it was tricky to know whether we will see anything up there, the thick cloud seemed to be stubbornly sitting above the canyon all the time, but not even trying to drive up there would have been a very regretful move.
The fog shifts to those who wait
On our first attempt we were just like some of the tourists, who climbed to the very top, saw a thick fog, had hearty breakfast and drove back.
Even though I was disappointed with the views, or the lack of views, we still had a hell of a 19 mile drive. And it was still amazing just to be here.
The most valuable thing we learnt while exploring the canyon is that you have to be patient. You can’t rush nature, it will show you what it wants to show you and when it wants to show you. If you are not patient, you won’t see anything. Later in our travels, this lesson helped us to see many beautiful things that seemed invisible at first glance.
Hiking in Waimea Canyon
We were desperate to go back to Waimea Canyon and had another, much clearer scenic and hopeful drive on the next day.
There are two roads to get to the canyon, Koke’e Road and Waimea Canyon Drive. We took the latter, which passes canyon lookout points. The views are spectacular!
It was still foggy, but this time we waited. We were patient and soon enough the fog started shifting revealing the magnificent canyon.
As we drove higher, once out of the car, I was literally running to the lookout points fearing the fog will cover them again. When I finally looked into the canyon, I stood there speechless and I believe, my jaw dropped. I remember feeling so happy that even if a thick fog came over again, it couldn’t have spoiled my mood. To me it was a dream come true.
The Waipo’o Waterfall in the distance was a great hiking target and so we started our hike.
If you want to experience the thrill, you have to go hiking down into the canyon. There are lots of different trails, but rain creates hazardous conditions and they aren’t for the faint-hearted for sure, but that’s the best way to explore the canyon. So grab a stick or two, make sure you have your hiking boots on and enjoy the red dirt trails.
We started our hike with a relatively easy Cliff Trail (o.1 mile) and continued down the semi steep, 1.8 mile Canyon Trail which promised rewarding views. It’s a slightly challenging trail, mostly because it’s wet and slippery and some might find it quite harrowing, but with a stick and proper walking boots it’s manageable. The views make it all worthwhile.
As we were approaching the end of the trail, we could hear Waipo’o Falls in the distance and people we met on the way, encouraged us to keep going. Sitting at the top of the waterfall (and trying not to slip) was indeed very rewarding.
On the way back, it stared raining and the white fog covered the canyon. We considered ourselves very lucky to have hiked down just at the right time. Just a few minutes can make a massive different to the visibility.