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Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, 96796

The Basics

The canyon, within the purview of the free-to-access Waimea Canyon State Park, is best seen on a tour, which allows you to gaze over the cliff edges without having to also navigate a vehicle along the winding, canyon-hugging route. Take a 4WD tour on Kauai’s backroads and past popular attractions like quaint Koloa Town, the Spouting Horn blowhole, the artsy town of Hanapepe, and the old Russian Fort before skirting the canyon. Or follow the Wailua River—coupling boat or kayak rides to the jungle of Fern Grotto—with a journey west for comparatively dry river views. Most Waimea Canyon tours continue to Kauai’s northern coast, stopping at Kokee State Park and the Kalalau Overlook for sweeping views of the undulating Na Pali Coast.

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Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
$143.45 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Waimea Canyon to West Shore tour/bike ride
Loved our tour guides! Learned a lot about the culture and history of the island. Then had a scenic ride down the mountain which added spectacular views and a wonderful sunset.
Valerie_H, May 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Kauai

star-5
Self guided tour the best
rdavis1945verizonnet, Apr 2022
Waimea Canyon & Na Pali Driving Tour app
Great narration; great stopping points; Waimea canyon the best. Didn't want a group. Wanted to go at our own pace.
star-5
Spectacular
tkkmgreen, May 2022
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
This is one of the best activities we have done, anywhere, anytime. The downhill biking was spectacular, but the entire trip was well organized and well planned, and the guides were not only safety conscious, but also entertaining, creative and tech-savvy photographers, with great island dining and hiking recommendations.
star-5
Beautiful views!
Tiffany_G, Mar 2022
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the area and kept the ride fun and enjoyable. Safety was their concern. I would recommend having some bike riding experience.
star-5
Worth every minute
Robert_S, Feb 2022
Private Waimea Canyon Tour
A perfect day. Tour guide, John, very personable, felt right at home. Vehicle clean, easy in/out at many interesting stops. Guide shares an abundance of knowledge on many aspects of island, plants, animals, people and history. This tour is of south shore of Kaua'i and continues to the road's end in Waimea, west side island, with views of Napali coast from the landward side. Many excellent photo stops.
star-5
A Little Bit Of Heaven
Ruth_J, Mar 2022
Private Waimea Canyon Tour
Our wonderful trip included seeing monk seals and giant sea turtles besides the breathtaking views of Waimea Canyon. Thank you for such a fantastic experience!
star-5
Waimea Canyon tour with John.
Philip_p, May 2022
Private Waimea Canyon Tour
John was a superb guide from start to finish. Would highly recommend him. He was extremely knowledgeable and picked all the right points for photography opportunities. Even his choice of lunch venue was spot on. We had a brilliant day out.
star-5
Great way to explore the island
Denise_B, Apr 2022
Waimea Canyon & Na Pali Driving Tour app
We used the Shaka Kauai app to take several self guided driving tours while we were on the island. It allows you to take your time and explore what you want. Would highly recommend to everyone!!
star-5
No better way to see the island
Julia_H, Mar 2022
Kauai's Waimea Canyon and South Side Private Guided Tour
an amazing way to see the southern shores and the canyon. Noah was great and super knowledgeable. We learned so much about the island of Kauai, it's history, and culture. I was also really excited to hear that the town that inspired Lilo and stitch was in the area and Noah was awesome enough to stop by for us to see it. I would gladly recommend him to anyone who wants a great experience when visiting Kauai.
star-5
Don't miss this tour - it's fantastic!!
Linda_F, Feb 2022
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
We highly recommend this tour! My husband, 23-year-old son, and I loved it. Ernesto and Kiana were wonderful tour guides. Ernesto had everything timed perfectly so we would reach the beach in time to see the beautiful sunset. He was so personable and really thought of little touches that made it so enjoyable! It was part-driving, part-biking and we didn't find it strenuous at all. Ernesto was also very focused on safety. It was a highlight of our trip to Kauai in early December 2021.
star-5
Amazing tour !
Tina_L, Jan 2022
Kauai's Waimea Canyon and South Side Private Guided Tour
Noah’s tour was the best. He is very informative about the island. He took us to places we would not have known about. He is very accommodating. Thanks again Noah for a great experience!
star-5
Nice way to see the canyon
heidi_t, Feb 2022
Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Ride
Very knowledgeable and very courteous Great guides Very safety oriented Beautiful views Bike in great condition A really good time
star-5
A great overview of the island
Joyce_J, May 2022
Private Waimea Canyon Tour
The many views from waterfall, canyon, monk seal, sea turtles and blow hole were unforgettable. John's knowledge of history, plants and aquatic life were informative and interesting. With his 40 years on the island he shared some great insight and tips about island eateries and shops.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Waimea Canyon itself is dry and dusty, but the Na Pali Coast can be foggy and wet. Be prepared and dress in layers for whatever the weather may bring.

  • Although the canyon trails aren’t generally wheelchair accessible, the many lookout points are.

  • For experienced hikers, longer treks—including guided multi-day hut-to-hut hikes—are an option. Trail maps and additional information are available in the Kokee Museum and Visitor Center north of the canyon.

  • There are no gas stations and only one restaurant along Waimea Canyon Drive—a route that, depending on how many stops you make, could take all day. Choose a tour that includes lunch or snacks, or pack food.

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How to Get There

Access Waimea Canyon along scenic, in-and-out Waimea Canyon Drive (Highway 550) in southwestern Kauai. There are several lookout points and trailheads along the route. You can access the road from coastal Highway 50 in the town of Waimea, or from farther west at Kekaha, via Kokee Road. On the return journey be sure to look for glimpses of distant Niihau, the Forbidden Island.

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When to Get There

It’s best to head to Waimea Canyon early in the day (before 10am) or in the late afternoon (after 3pm), when the fog that regularly rolls off the sea is less likely to obscure views along the route. Very early morning and at sunset, the canyon’s colors come alive and make for great photographs.

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Stops Along the Waimea Canyon

There are dozens of pull-offs along Waimea Canyon Drive, but don’t miss sights like the Waimea Canyon Lookout at mile marker 10 or Waipio Falls, best seen from a small lookout around mile marker 13, opposite a picnic area with restrooms and water fountains. The Iliau Nature Loop is a flat and easy (though dusty) trail with signage on local birds and plants, as well as some great canyon views; look for it just before mile marker 9. The restaurant at Kokee State Park, north of the canyon, serves local-style meals—try the loco moco, a hearty Hawaiian dish of white rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Waimea Canyon?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Kauai?
A:
As well as visiting the Waimea Canyon, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: