7 In Hawaii/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ Travel

Waimea Canyon + The Awaawapuhi Trail, Kauai

Before we went to Hawai’i, my future-sister-in-law found a post about ‘the most beautiful view in all of Hawai’i and sent it to me. It’s called the Awa’awaphui Trail in Koke’e State Park just past Waimea Canyon State Park on the west coast of Kaua’i. It was so unbelievably beautiful and we decided that this was a must-see for us. 

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We got to the trailhead decently early, but even so, the main parking area was full and we had to park at the next one down and walk back to it. This trail is just under 7 miles round trip. To be honest, the photos that you have probably seen from this hike before this post are from the technically off-limits section of the hike. It’s a very narrow trail on top of a very steep ridge with loose dirt underfoot, so just know that to get those amazing photos, you have to go off the actual trail and that it is pretty freakin’ dangerous, so only do it if you feel confident. We didn’t.


We finally got on the trail and were excited to be hiking after a day off from it!



One of my favorite things about being up here on the ridges, is seeing the fog and the clouds roll in and out. I love the mystery that the fog brings.


You wind through forests, some of which open up to views, but then suddenly, the trees disappear and you’re walking through this path cut through these stalks that look like giant paint brushes.

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I mean, they’re like 6 feet tall! It was the perfect end of the trail because when you step out of this you can see the bight blue Pacific and start to see the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. 


The red ridge in the right of this photo is where you have to walk to get those sick views, and you follow it all the way until the end of this ridge. It looks even more intimidating in person. It’s crazy! We saw three people out there, but decided a picture just simply wasn’t worth it.

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One of the probably 400 roosters we saw on Kaua’i

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After our Awa’awapuhi Hike, we were pretty tuckered out. So, we went down to Waimea Canyon and hit up the overlooks, which were put in the most perfect places to get some truly incredible views.

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Waimea Canyon looks like something out of the American SW. I’ve never been somewhere that is so lush, tropical and green on one side of an island and then more barren, red and desert-like on the other. Only a handful of miles separate the two. It’s the iron in the soil that makes this red color – it’s like it has rusted. Pretty cool, huh?


For real, though, isn’t that incredible?

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The second day we were at Waimea Canyon we watched a storm roll in. We started to do the canyon rim hike to the waterfall, but decided not to go the whole way because of the storm. Plus, it was also the last day of our honeymoon, so we wanted to relax some too.

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On the canyon rim trail. Most of the trail, though, wasn’t at the edge of the canyon, it was though the mud – surprise, surprise. 

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On the way back to our side of the island we found something pretty cool – a red waterfall! So we pulled over on the side of the road and walked over these brick red hills.


Down and around almost back to the road….


And found the waterfall! Isn’t that so cool?! I’ve never seen anything like it.


Want to know the craziest part? Not a half a mile further down the road, was a field of these pink and white flowers. It was so bizarre.

I was expecting that the Awa’awapuhi Trail and Waimea Canyon were going to be the highlight of my time in Kaua’i, but it turns out that I actually preferred the lush green side of the island more. However, next time we’re in Kaua’i I’m hoping to make our way back to Waimea and do some more of the longer hikes in the area first. I just cannot get enough of this island.

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  • Reply
    Jen Morrow
    September 19, 2016 at 9:35 am

    My favorite hiking in Hawaii is on the island of Kauai! Each of the islands offers beautiful ocean views, but Kauai is the best! Love the red rock waterfall, so pretty!

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    September 19, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Wow, those views off the Na Pali coast look incredible! We wanted to more hikes while we were in Hawaii, as a matter of fact we wanted to do more of EVERYTHING while we were there! We found all the hikes we did to be great with rewarding views. Guess we will have to go back!

  • Reply
    Hung Thai
    September 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    This looks really familiar. I think I might have done a part of this hike. I don’t remember seeing a waterfall though. I love Kauai and will probably come back here time and again. Great pictures, too!

  • Reply
    Karla at GlobalETA
    September 20, 2016 at 8:12 am

    This trail looks amazing! Even though you didn’t go off-trail (I wouldn’t have either!) the views and photos are spectacular. Glad you had a good time!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Aww, your lovely photos bring me back to my time in Kauai! Those views are stunning! Can’t think of a better place for a romantic trail walk.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Wow, that canyon looks like Zion!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I am going in September and have been debating how to spend my 2 days on this island. Waimea Canyon looks beautiful! And that red waterfall is so unique

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