The Grand Canyon of Kauai
They call it the 'Grand canyon of the Pacific'. Waimea Canyon is some 10 miles long, and up to 3000 feet deep, and is one of the most recognizable landmarks of western Kauai, next only to Napali Coastline. Its not quite in the same scale as the Grand Canyon, but is worth a look. The canyon is formed by Waimea river carrying all the rain water from Mount Waiʻaleʻale, one of the wettest places on earth. Waimea in Hawaiian means 'reddish water'.
We took the winding and steep Waimea Canyon Road up along a ridge of the canyon. The road climbs fast, and soon you are looking over the incredible vista of reddish walls of the canyon at the distance. At the lookout, there was a native Hawaiian man posing for photographs. It was a bit touristy, with all the big tour buses, and the people in shorts, sneakers, hats and the mandatory Hawaiian shirts spilling out of them. There was the inevitable keep-sake family picture with the canyon in the background.
Later in the day, after we hiked the Awa‘awapuhi trail, and as the sun was going down, the canyon looked more beautiful, the colors more vibrant. A tiny waterfall was flowing nearby, making its way through the red soil. All in all, a day well spent.