“A hike to the rim of the canyon with amazing views and waterfalls”
— Steve Jackson
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
The highlight of this loop is the middle portion with stunning views of Waimea Canyon and Waipo'o falls. There is a crossing of Kokee stream and, depending on the water flow, it can be slightly challenging.
Need to Know
Slippery rocks on the road at the beginning. Bring plenty of water and think about lunch or a snack about halfway at the picnic bench. If you have a camera and binoculars I would recommend brining them, too. I always use trekking poles.
The Kumuwela Trail
starts past the YMCA camp, but I parked at Koke'e visitor center and followed the dirt road to the trailhead. You'll pass some cabins on the beginning of the hike. The dirt road is slippery, especially with the rocks on the road. This is true even if it hasn't been raining.
The Kumuwela Trail
has some steep parts with trees down and berry vines that can reach out and grab you. Parts of this trail is so overgrown with bushes and trees that it gets very dark. It's very different from the dry Koa Forest that you end up in. At the end of the Kumuwela Trail
there is a sign directing you to the Canyon Trail
which winds along the canyon rim. I stopped at a picnic bench for a great view and snacks. This bench unexpectedly appears and must have been helicoptered in. It's a great place for pictures and quiet reflection.
Past the bench you'll see Waipo'o Falls and then likely more people hiking from Puu Hinahina lookout to go to the falls. The water flow from Kokee stream can change and with it the gushing of the 800 foot falls and the more challenging crossing of the stream. Once across the stream, it's a slippery climb to the junction of the Halemanu-Kokee Trail. This trail is in Koa and Ohia forest and a very nice hike.
Flora & Fauna
Birds and two different types of forest.