The island of Kauai is so much more than beautiful beaches, which is evident as you begin the drive up Waimea Canyon Drive on the island’s west side. The emerald blue of the ocean and relatively flat road quickly gives way to the deep reds and greens of the Waimea Valley cliffs. Only once you’ve driven nearly all the way you can go through these mountains will you reach the Kalalau Lookout and be rewarded with epic views for your efforts.
The Kalalau Lookout in Kauai, Hawaii
Situated in Koke’e State Park, the only way to reach the Kalalau Lookout is by ascending either Waimea Canyon Drive (also known as Highway 550, located in Waimea) or Koke’e Road (located in Kekaha). Both of these roads eventually merge together to make their way through Waimea Canyon State Park and then on to Koke’e. If you take the Waimea Canyon Drive route, you’ll be rewarded with epic views of Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, as you ascend. Frequent pull-off spots along the right side of the road offer the chance to stop and admire the views at a closer vantage point. The canyon is ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep in spots, making the views dramatic. Along the ascending journey you’ll also spot Waipo’o Falls, an 800-foot waterfall that can be admired from across the valley.
Koke’e State Park is home to the Koke’e Museum & Lodge, which you’ll pass on the way to the Kalalau Lookout. They offer a small restaurant, which are the only provisions you’ll find after leaving Waimea Town. A gift shop and hiking information can also be found here. Once you’ve continued on past the Lodge, it’s just another short drive until you reach the Kalalau Lookout!
The Kalalau Lookout offers plenty of parking, as well as restrooms. Once you’ve positioned yourself at the lookout, you’ll be afforded sweeping views of the Kalalau Valley, which stretches for two miles across. Having now reached 4,000 feet of elevation, the valley floor appears as a lush green carpet far below, with the notorious spires of the emerald cliffs plummeting sharply. The only way to actually reach this valley by foot is by tackling the forbidding Kalalau Trail, which is only accessible from the north side of the island. From your vantage point at the Kalalau Lookout, you can simply soak in the immense beauty that can be seen from above!
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