When visiting Kauai, Hawaii, go west and see rainbow hues enhanced to an intensity that is almost unreal in Waimea and Kekaha. Here, on Kauai's West Side, you will discover Hanapepe Town's country charm, the grand gorge that is Waimea Canyon, hiking amidst rare plants and endangered birds, the rich history ranging from Captain Cook's landing to Kekeha's sugar mills to the remains of a Russian fort named after a czarina, and the longest stretch of beach in Hawaii.
A trip to Hanapepe Town in Waimea and Kekaha means historic storefronts with artist studios, the Hanapepe Valley Overlook that reveals the classic beauty of a Hawaiian valley, blooming colors, and a swinging foot bridge.
Waimea offers history and as much adventure as you'd like. The "Little Grand Canyon," a nickname for Waimea Canyon, is also considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Waimea Canyon's vast views and its imposing stature share similarities with it's mainland cousin, but this canyon has its own island personality. Its' features envelop you with their grandeur, deep colors, and splendorous beauty. Yellow ginger, eucalyptus trees, Kauai's own mokihana berries, and other vegetation aboud right up to the 3,500 foot elevation. The famous Kalalau Valley Lookout reveals a breath-taking waterfall, green pleated cliffs and a deep, carved valley. Kokee State Park and the Kokee Natural History Museum offer the key to appreciation of the culture and outdoors necessary to fully enjoy Waimea Canyon. Maps of Kauai and hiking trails, guided hikes, and forest education/workshops are all available here.
Polihale State Park is the reward that lies at the end of a short bumpy, rugged journey, but well worth the trip. Hawaii's longest stretch of golden beach is also a sunbather's paradise. Surrounded by etched cliffs, blue sky, and crashing waves, you could spend a whole day just basking in the beauty.