Waimea Canyon Lookout

The first major—and most well known—pull-off to view the fascinating geology of Waimea Canyon is the Waimea Canyon Lookout, located a little past mile marker 10 on the Kokee State Park Road. To ensure that you find all the pull-off points along this road, stop first at the Ranger Station and Kokee Museum to pick up a map that will be accompanied by the rules that keep you safe and protect this natural wonder. In fact, you should stop first in the town of Hanapepe or Waimea to fill up your rental car, as there are no gas stations on this road. This lookout in Waimea Canyon provides the most expansive views down into the volcanic gorge that is one of the major tourist attractions on the island.

In addition to the views, the Waimea Canyon Lookout provides the best example of the geology of Waimea Canyon and the ancient natural forces that formed it. Here, the various strata (lines) in the canyon walls clearly show the volcanic eruptions and lava flows that have occurred over the centuries. At some point in Kauai's history, the volcano that formed the island collapsed in on itself. Over time, river floods, rain, wind, and other natural forces continued to carve out the resulting depression visible from this lookout in Waimea Canyon and the other lookouts along the road. You can get a more intimate look at the canyon if you are hiking on one of the many trails, some of which make their way all the way down to the ocean and the Na Pali Coast.

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