Kukui Trail and Waimea Canyon

Waimea, Hawaii

Kukui Trail and Waimea Canyon

Kukui Trail and Waimea Canyon Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is more than 13 miles long and over 2,500 feet deep, depending on where you take your measurements. The scale is smaller than that of the Grand Canyon, of course, but the nearly vertical red-dirt cliffs really do resemble those of the mainland’s southwest canyon country. This hike takes you from the rim to the river in only 2.5 miles on very steep, seriously eroded trail that can be treacherous when rainy and wet and cruelly hot when the sun is out. Still, for physically fit hikers, this one is worth the sweat and the mud. The Waimea River at the bottom forms cool and pleasant pools where you can have a dip, and if you want to stay longer, you can spend the night at Wiliwili Camp.

Climb up the bank to a bench beneath a shady tree, turn right (east), and skirt the Iliau Nature Loop and its rare, endemic, upside-down mop forest. At the signed junction with the Kukui Trail keep right (east), and just a few yards beyond find a grassy area with covered picnic tables. The trail has been marked with posts every 0.25 mile, though some of these have disappeared. Other signs will remind you (again and again) that hunting is permitted here (to control the flourishing population of goats)."

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Seattle, WA
Adventurer | 421 pts
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Stunning hike but extremely steep and tiring! Bring plenty of water.
burleson, TX
Trailblazer | 1612 pts
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
really like this trail but it's not for everyone. The hike down is fun. The hike back up is a killer. 2000 feet up in about 2 miles. I would suggest to go down the first mile until the clearing. The last mile is hot, humid, stinky...all those goats, and the brush is thick. That first mile you can get some GREAT photos.

More Kukui Trail and Waimea Canyon Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"The Kukui Trail is the shortest route to the base of Waimea Canyon. The steep descent drops 2,300 feet to the canyon floor at the Waimea River, following a series of switchbacks on the west canyon wall. The canyon views along the path continually change due to cloud cover, changing light, elevation and angles. The trail ends at Wiliwili Camp, a campsite with a covered shelter and table at the edge of the river."

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 to 6 hours
Napali-Kona Forest Reserve
Local Contacts
USGS Waimea Canyon
Local Maps

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