Visiting Waimea Canyon on Kaua'i

Majestic View

Waimea Canyon on the island of Kaua’i in Hawai’i

Once we decided on going to the island of Kaua’i, one of the places I knew I wanted us to visit was Waimea Canyon. This natural canyon is often referred to as either the Grand Canyon of Hawai’i or the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. After being there, I can see why they call it that.

We drove our rental car up the road to Waimea Canyon, and there were several places to pull off the road and enjoy the view. But those were not the “prime” viewing location. That was reserved for the great lookout in Waimea Canyon State Park, which was at the top of the mountain. I enjoyed driving past the signs that were telling us the elevation along the way. It was obvious that we were going higher and higher.

Once we reached the top at the state park lookout, we stayed there for quite a while. For one thing, there was a strong breeze blowing off of the canyon, and it was a nice break from the heat that we had experienced whenever we would get out of the car down below.

But the main reason we stayed so long was just because of the sheer beauty of the place. We couldn’t help just staring out across the canyon, soaking up the view. Others would walk past us, take a quick selfie with the canyon in the background, and then move on. That was fine for them, I suppose. but we were happy to linger there for quite a while and take it all in, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.

I don’t think that one photo can adequately capture the beauty of Waimea Canyon. Of course, I took lots and lots of photos while we were there. But I will save the others until a later date.

It is also difficult to get a sense of the scale of Waimea Canyon, whether you are looking at it in a photo like this one or in person. It helped when a sightseeing helicopter would fly through the middle of the canyon. The helicopter path was a good bit lower than where we were standing. And the helicopters looked tiny way out there in the middle of the canyon. It really is huge.

Here We Are

At Waimea Canyon on the island of Kaua’i in Hawai’i

I wasn’t really trying to talk bad about those who took a selife at the canyon a few paragraphs above. After all, we did the same thing, too. This is one of those things that many of us don’t get to see all the time, and we want to document to others that we were there. So we did.

But sometimes photos like this of us are more just for ourselves than for other people. I want to remember that yes we really were there. We really did see it for ourselves. We really did have that view. 

Looking at photos and videos of places is always fun. But nothing really beats being there to see it for yourself. If you have the opportunity to go do something like that, I would highly recommend it. It may not have the thrills that some theme parks and roller coasters have. Your children, if you take them, might not appreciate it as much as you do. But you will enjoy being there if you take the time to do it.

If you go to Kaua’i, I would definitely recommend a visit to Waimea Canyon. It is definitely worth the drive and your time.

See more from our trip in the 2018 Kaua’i Trip archive.

Bible Verse

Your righteousness is like the highest mountains; Your judgments, like the deepest sea. Lord, You preserve man and beast. - Psalm 36:6

About the Photo

In many ways, you can’t go wrong with a photo of Waimea Canyon. Just point your camera and shoot. No matter which way you turn, you will get a good view. From where we were standing at this overlook in the state park, I liked that we could see a waterfall, which you can see at the upper left of the photo. But then off in the other direction, and not visible in this photo, was the ocean. From great heights all the way to the ocean, all right there in one view.

I used the 14-42mm zoom lens for the first photo, because the fisheye lens had slightly too much distortion due to its natural fisheye-ness. Sometimes really wide is too wide. However, the fisheye lens did work well for our self-portrait.

I did “sweeten” this one a little by processing it in Photoshop. That was mainly to bring out the colors, some of which were slightly dimmed by the haze across the canyon. And now that first photo almost looks like a postcard you could buy in a gift shop somewhere. I like that look sometimes. Because photos are like my own postcards, even if they are often just to myself. Nothing wrong with that.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR and Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: July 6, 2018
Location: Waimea Canyon, Hawaiʻi

Our 25th anniversary trip to Kauai

World Bible School

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.