Experience The Splendor Of The Massive Waimea Canyon On Kauai
Author: William Wright
A trip to Kauai’s west side will bring you to the incredible Waimea Canyon, a canyon so remarkable that Mark Twain named it the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. It is without a doubt the largest canyon in the Pacific. Other similarities to the Grand Canyon are clear as it manifests the same rust-coloured rock and gaping chasm, which are sure to astonish all.
The geology of the Waimea Canyon is worthy of note because of the distinctiveness of its structure. It was not just made by the ongoing erosion of the rocks and the forcing in of the Eaimea River, as many canyons are, but was also shaped in part by the dramatic collapse of the volcano that formed the island of Kauai, more than 4 million years ago. The surrounding cliffs of the canyon are in fact made from the early lava flows from this volcano. The exposed basalt rocks are what give the canyon its unique rusty red colour.
The Waimea Canyon is 3,500 feet deep, 14 miles long and a 1 mile wide and provides stunning panoramic views which can be best seen from quite a few look out points, including Kalalau Lookout – from here crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges can be seen. The canyon is best reached from the main road, Waimea Canyon Drive, which offers awe-inspiring views en route and leads on to Kokee State Park where there are a number of trails for hikers of all abilities. You can hike to the bottom of the canyon or along the top of its crest, whichever you prefer.
A more thrilling way to see the canyon is by helicopter. Helicopter tours give a remarkable aerial view of the Waimea Canyon and really give a sense of the sheer size of this vast canyon as you hover above. The Waimea Canyon tours also take you to the stunning Napali Coast and the Wailua Falls. Napali Coast is amazing as you pass the 3,000 foot green cliffs, beautiful tumbling waterfalls and narrow valleys, which make this coastline well-known.
Kauai is only about a 20 minute flight from Oahu and is renowned for its beautiful palm lined beaches and gleaming blue waters which provide a wonderful contrast to the island’s flourishing green tropical rainforest found at it’s heart. Here there are isolated deep-water pools and trails that lead into the midst of Kauai’s luscious landscape. Travel along the Wailua River by boat and visitors will be met by the thriving Fern Grotto and cool cascading waterfalls set amongst interesting flora and fauna.
Wildlife is plentiful in Kauai and a visit to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will make an impression on nature lovers as they catch a glimpse of migratory birds, seabirds, Humpback Whales, monk seals and dolphins from Kilauea Point. There are also a number of upscale eco-lodges, which overlook relaxing bird-filled lakes.
When the island has been explored there might be time to look through the exclusive art galleries on the island or stroll around the many small boutiques that offer locally made crafts and jewellery.
About the Author
Head to Kauai to explore the natural beauty of the Waimea Canyon and beyond. Thomas Cook offers a 14 night stay with flights staying at the Sheraton Kauai from £1,999 per person, from 1st – 30th June 2010. Visit http://www.tcsignature.com for more information.