Waimea Canyon has the nickname of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” At the Puu Hinahina Lookout, you get an exceptional view along the length of this canyon, making it appear larger than from the other lookouts in the area. If you want an expansive view that encompasses the enormity of the canyon, you must take the short walk to the Puu Hinahina Lookout.
The walk to the lookout from the parking lot is only 0.1 miles along a paved trail. Don’t confuse the paved walkway to the lookout with the other trailheads. From the parking lot, you will see signs pointing to the left for the longer hiking trails and one to the right for the lookout. Take the right path to reach the lookout via the cliff trail.
Walk carefully up the path. Though short, the paved path has steep sections that can become slippery when wet. Some people have had to turn back during rainy weather due to slick conditions on the path. Always use caution and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Once at the lookout, you may not be able to see the waterfall located in the far distance, but you will get a pristine view along the Waimea Canyon. This canyon gets its name for the reddish color of the water that flows down it after heavy rains. Waters that flow down the canyon slowly etch away at the land, changing the shape of the canyon over eons.
Waimea Canyon and the rest of Kauai originated as a large volcano. Over time, erosion wore away at the former volcano to show layers of deposits from previous erosions. Look for these strata from the Puu Hinahina Lookout to get a glimpse back in time at the past of the 6-million-year-old island.
Watch out along the path and in the parking area for the local animal life. Unlikely animals that you could see at the lookout include chickens and goats. The goats arrived in 1792 as farm animals aboard George Vancouver’s ship. However, some fled to the wild. While not native, they roam wild through the canyon. Hawaii has chickens that are jungle fowl brought to the islands by the original inhabitants of the land. Over time, domestic chickens arrived at the islands. Today, the chickens that you see at the lookout parking lots have more in common genetically with the domestic fowl instead of their wild cousins. During the 1950s, promoters of the lookouts encouraged feeding the chickens to bring tourists to the area. However, conservationists recommend that visitors don’t feed these chickens. By not feeding these fowl, you promote the health of native birds that must compete with the chickens for resources.
One native bird that you may get to see at the lookout or elsewhere around the canyon is the Nene Goose. Don’t feed or touch these geese. Doing so gets them too used to relying on people for food. Plus, the food humans offer these birds could sicken them. Feel free to take pictures of these amazing birds, but don’t get too close.
Enjoy the wildlife and native plants on your trip from the parking lot to the lookout. While at the lookout, make sure to get plenty of pictures. If you have time, stop at the other lookouts nearby for different perspectives of the canyon. If great views are a part of your plans for your visit to Kauai, add Puu Hinahina Lookout to your itinerary.
-Check the weather before you leave because overcast conditions will prevent you from seeing the fantastic views that make this lookout well-known.
-Wet conditions make the paved, steep trail slippery and difficult to walk on.
-A large parking lot provides ample parking for visitors. Parking passes for any of the Waimea Canyon lookouts on the mountain also cover the Puu Hinahina Lookout lot. Restrooms are adjacent to the parking lot.
-Cell reception is poor in the area. Don’t rely on your cell phone to make or receive calls.