The vista enjoyed from the Hanalei Valley Lookout is, unquestionably, one of the quintessential views on Kauai. A stone’s throw from Princeville, it holds its own with any of the many, many splendid viewpoints on the Garden Isle.
The sightlines here sweep from the cultivated flats of the Hanalei River up to knife-edge mountain crests. Those Hanalei lowlands come quilted in fields of taro (also known by the Native Hawaiian name of kalo): an agricultural tradition that’s been going on here for more than 1,000 years. Indeed, the Hanalei Valley grows some of the most significant shares of taro in all of the Hawaiian Islands, generating the most poi—a starchy mash—in the state.
Besides being fertile farmland, the viewshed from the Hanelei Valley Lookout includes important wildlife habitats as well. Much of that viewshed falls within the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, the oldest such federal wildlife refuge in Kauai. Covering close to 1,000 acres, this reserve serves as a critical landscape for multiple endangered birds, namely the Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian duck, Hawaiian moorhen, Hawaiian stilt, and Hawaiian goose.
The highlands in the view from the Hanalei Valley Lookout are often called the Hanalei Mountains, and include the impressive crest of Namolokama Mountain, rearing up past 4,000 feet. After heavy rains, the mountain faces come streaked with waterfalls, adding all the more beauty to what’s already a swoony scene.
Don’t miss this splendid summation of Kauai utterly world-class scenic beauty!
If you’re looking to nab an especially knockout photo from the Hanalei Valley Lookout, time your visit for sunrise or sunset: Magic hour looks fabulous from this vantage!