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Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

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Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

Neither myself or my wife are big hikers -- so taking any hikes into the canyon are out of the question.

We were planning on seeing the canyon as part of one of our "sightseeing days." (verses just plain old beach days; hoping we could see the canyon, princeville, the "Fanatasy Island" falls and the spout in Poipu in one day -- can that be done???)

I was wondering ---- if we just wanted to see some awesome views of the canyon, where would everyone suggest? Are there designated lookouts? Where should we go?

Like I said, I' like to see it and appreciate it (longer than Clark Griswald did in the movie "Vacation") but we don't want to dedicate a whole day to it.


Moorpark, California
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for Kauai, Catalina Island
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1. Re: Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?


Go ahead and drive up to the canyon. There are two roads, highway 550A and highway 552. They join at 550B. We usually take one way up and the other way down. There are several opportunities for you to stop and enjoy the canyon including two turnouts with wonderful looks outs over the canyon. Drive to the end of the road, past Kokee and enjoy the Kalalau Valley lookout. We usually then stop back at Kokee State Park for a little while. Check out the museum and the little store. You can also grab a bite to eat and some souvernirs. Maybe relax at a picnic table and enjoy the peacefulness of the area, check out the numerous chickens all over the place! (My children enjoy chasing them.... I know,bad!)

On the way back, you can stop at Waimea Brew Pub for a beer and sandwich. Or continue driving west to Polihale State Beach (Barking Sands Beach). We usually do not stay there long during the day; it's quite hot. We usually save that for a sunset barbecue.

You can make a day of it and see the canyon quite well with very little walking. (My 79 year old mother did this last June with her walker).

Have fun!


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2. Re: Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

If you get up early and drive to the canyon you don't have to hike it. I can't remember where you are staying, but if you plan to do that and then drive into Poipu to see Spouting Horn, drive up to see the northshore area you'd better leave early. That will be a full day. It is 1 1/2 hours from Poipu to Princeville at the most. No traffic I can do it in 1 1/4 hours. You could do all the things you want to do in that one day, just be organized, go over the map ahead of time and enjoy the scenery a long the way.

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

Have you considered a Helicopter tour? The website for Blue Hawaiian has numerous photos and a videos of sights along the route; including Waimea Canyon: bluehawaiian.com/kauai/phototour/

Once the Flash Player has loaded, click on "tour scenes: (middle of the page) & select the red dot for Waimea Canyon. After finished with photos, go to lower left-hand portion of page & select "video clips".

There are many excellent Helicopter compamies on Kauai, but I believe Blue Hawaiian is the only one to fly the advanced Eco-Stars.

We made reservations for our 20th flight a couple of weeks ago; have never regretted one.

Bellefontaine, Ohio
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4. Re: Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

Bruuuuce, You can drive up to the Canyon....Not sure where you are staying to give a time status...But start early in the morning to do the things you want to do in 1 day....Once you get to the Canyon(at the lookout) you will most likely be there for about 20 min.to get your fill.

Go to Poipu to Spouting Horn once there you will see it take pictures and go thru the shopping area this should take about 30 to 45 min. depending on your shopping....Then drive north to Princeville. Traffic is the worst between Poipu and Kappaa so be aware of you time schedule that way.Avoid Poipu and Kappaa around 1-6 pm traffic crawls in some areas....

Southern California
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5. Re: Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

Not sure where you are staying but here is what we like to do (and save the Northshore for another day unless you are staying there):

Leave hotel (Marriott in Lihue) about 8:8:30,sometimes earlier than that if possible.

Drive all the way up to Kokee first, you want to get there as early as possible to view the Kalalau lookout before the fog rolls in. I think I read on this forum awhile back that the Pua O Hila outlook is now open again also. We usually take the road out of Kekaha up.

Stop at Kokee Lodge for beer or soft drink. Check out their tee-shirts (was really disappointed in their inventory last year, they used to have some great tees with wildlife on them).

Drive back down to one of the Waimea canyon lookouts and walk up the stairs for a view and picture taking.

Both Kokee Lodge and main Waimea Canyon lookout have bathrooms but the only food is at Kokee Lodge unless you count those ladies selling coconuts at Waimea.

Drive back down the other road to Waimea. Stop for lunch, we like Wranglers, others on this board like Shrimp Station.

Drive over to Spouting Horn and check it out. Lots of vendors here, it has been awhile since we have gone during the day so no comments about the quality of merchandise.

Optional side trips:

Drive through Hanapepe and check out the shops. We were not impressed but it has been a few years.

Drive out to Polihale (jeep or 4-wheel drive recommended if weather is bad, you will be driving on a dirt road for several miles). This is nice but very hot and this beach can be dangerous.

We usually just head back to the hotel after lunch for a few hours of beach or pool time before drinks and dinner.

6. Re: Whats the best and most efficient way to see the canyon?

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