On the west side of Kauai, we can climb the Waimea Canyon Road to look into the canyon and hike the trails along the rim. At the upper end of the canyon road we enter Kokee Park for more wonderful hikes. Right at the junction between the two is a small parking area where we can hike a series of trails to the rim of the canyon. Our favorite is to hike the long loop along the Canyon Rim Trail and back through the rainforest tracks, a 10 km loop.
The trail goes down to a pool which feeds Waipoo Falls. Kokee Stream descends from the Alakai’i Swamp and then drops 800 feet down the cliffs into the canyon.
We continued along the Canyon Trail catching glimpses below through the clouds that rolled in from the rainiest spot on the planet. Clouds mantle the top of Kawaikini and Waialeale every day, but we can sometimes get some clear weather in the mornings.
Some hikers return by the same route or a loop route can be followed suing a series of rainforest tracks. On this last hike we continued along the Kamuela Trail then the Halemanu- Kokee Trail back to the parking area.
The rainforest itself is dense with ferns, vines, shrubs, and a variety of swamp and wet forest trees – o’hia, koa, sugi cedar, silk oak, and swamp mahogany. There is a subtle and marvelous beauty in this forest. In open spots there are a variety flowering plants – ginger, blackberry, passionflower, honeysuckle, fuschia, begonia, guava, vervain, strawberry, fleabane, manana, and ohia lehua,
By hiking the Canyon Trail then stopping at the informal viewpoints on the Kokee – Waimea Road we can see Waimea Canyon from multiple perspectives.
Although we have hiked these trails a few times, we will continue to return for more hiking in Waimea Canyon and Kokee Park, our favorite area for hiking on the Island of Kauai and one of our favorites from all of our travels.