WAIMEA CANYON- KUKUI TRAIL

Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
Encompassing 1,866 acres of mountainous canyon terrain, Waimea Canyon gives the Grand Canyon a rivaling run for its geology and scenery. Is it the 2100ft. elevation loss when you hike down to the bottom and find yourself in its lush flora at the bottom of the canyon or is it the grand vista views that many people can find a the top?  I am not exactly sure but I believe it is a mix of the two together and the fact that it is all ancient lava flow!! It makes sense to me why people come flocking here from all over the world to see this "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" on the oldest of the eight islands in the middle of the Pacific.


Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
Like the other Hawaiian islands, Kauai was born under the water and grew out of the ocean from a massive volcano that deposited layers of lavas on top of each other which has helped to create some of the most amazing and colorful mountainous terrain on the planet.


Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
The brittle and thin lava flows on the west side of the island literally have been eroding away as the rainwater from the top of Mt. Waialeale's depression pools and spills down to the west, creating this beautiful display of geological anomaly.  
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

The main vista of the Waimea canyon range allows any visitor to view the lush green and fiery red mountain range with multiple waterfalls spilling over from the cloud forest and multi tiered waterfall routes that tease my desire to grab 1000ft. of rope and pull down some of these seemingly frontier canyoneering routes.
 
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
There is one section at the bottom of Waimea Canyon that has more of a narrow corridor that I was not able to get down to on this trip but it looks like it could have similar properties to the Zion Narrows.
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
There are some interesting ridge trails that can take you to the top of the waterfalls near the road and some other trails that can take people to some of the ancient workings of volcanic activity as the lava painted and sculpted its way through the island 5.1 million years ago.
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
I tackled the Kukui trail which takes a sloping route down more than 2000ft. of elevation loss to the canyon floor and up a main canyon corridor where campsites are available for people that want to spend multiple days down at the bottom of Waimea.  
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
At first I didn't think much of this canyon, yea its pretty from the top, but the bottom had a beauty in itself that I found to be a place that got away from the tour buses and gasping tourists attempting to make their way back up from a bottom bounce hike to the canyon bottom.  The Canyon floor was beautiful and had a serenity to it while being surrounded by ancient volcanic canyons only a few million years old. 
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
On the way down on the Kukui trail, you pass through different sections of rain forest and desert like environment which gives the trail some really nice variation especially when you comeback up and are making a lot of stops to catch your breath.
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii


The flora changed as I got lower down to the bottom of the canyon floor.  Some of the trees that were dominant at the bottom included; Breadfruit, Moluccan Albizia, Kauila.

Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
The canyon itself was full of lush greenery and water flowing through the rivers, small waterfalls were passed and even though the occasional helicopter passed by from above, it was not that loud as the water drowned out some of the sounds of human technology.
  
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
 I continued for another mile to see how far I could get before my turning point and day breaking into nightfall that would leave me hiking up and driving around the island in the night which is something that I did not want to deal with.
 
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
The hike back up was going to be a steep one, especially after a long day of flying and driving around the island just to get to the canyon.
 
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how Waimea canyon turned out and how it is very comparable to the massive scale that the Grand Canyon has and even though it is not as long or as old as the Grand Canyon, this place marvels the beauty that volcanos and nature can create especially when earth rises out of the ocean in the way that Kauai did 5 million years ago.  
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
Next time I am camping at the canyon and checking out some side canyons while I am down there. You can get permits to camp in Waimea Canyon at the visitor center at Kokee state park and they seem pretty easy to obtain.
Waimea canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
 
 
 

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