There’s nothing quite better than a picturesque view of the Hawaiian scenery teeming with crystal clear waters and lush verdant greenery. What better way to enjoy Kauai’s beautiful scenery than through a perfectly situated lookout point where all the sights are ripe and all the scenes are as breathtaking as they are from a distance than they are up close and personal.
Of course, not all lookout points are made equal. There are some premier spots that offer an exciting trek with an equally captivating payoff at the peak with sights of Kauai that can’t be found anywhere else. Here are some of the best lookout spots in Kauai to look out for – no pun intended.
Top 7 Lookout Spots in Kauai
There is a towering mountain that rests between the cloud-dotted highlands of Kauai’s northwest side, a breezy peak atop a sea of shimmering clouds the sight to behold is none other than Kalalau Lookout which overlooks the much-photographed saw-toothed ridges of the Kalalau Valley which sits at the edge of the Na Pali Coast.
Kalalau Lookout is one of the only few valleys on the remote Na Pali Coast that can be seen without having to take a helicopter tour, a boat ride, or an arduous hiking trail. As the clouds blow by seemingly trailing the trade winds, a picturesque view of Kalalau Beach’s shorelines is readily available to travelers that endeavor to behold it.
The scenic spot is just about 4 miles beyond the Kokee History Museum an upslope car ride away as travelers pass by the iconic Waimea Canyon. There are also hiking trails near the lookout for those that seek a little bit of an adventure. If you’re up for a hike to various other lookout points, you can stop by the history museum where you can find out about conditions on 17 designated trails that cover a total of 45 miles.
The esteemed Waimea Canyon is definitely a sight to behold. Dubbed as Hawaii’s “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” the entire landmark offers its distinct beauty to natural events that occurred within the region. The canyon is 10 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep and owes much of its creation to a volcanic eruption that shaped its longstanding history. The canyon has slowly developed into what it is today in a span of several eons.
To be specific, four million years ago, as steady volcanic activity from the Kauai’s dominant peak Mount Waialeale was still growing the island, a huge chunk of land eventually collapsed creating a massive depression and a crevasse for fresh lava to flow into.
Paired with an almost endless supply of rainwater coursing down the Waimea River, the freshly exposed lava rock turned from black to bright and deep reds with the constant exposure. The Waimea Canyon needs no introduction, it is such an iconic timepiece of Kauai’s natural history that it is a must-see for travelers from any corner of the world. Visitors can soak up the atmosphere and take in the views by a helicopter ride through Waimea Canyon State Park hiking trails or at a handful of popular lookout points perched on its edge.
Na Pali Coast
This secluded 17-mile stretch along Kauai’s north shore provides enchanting views of a boundless ocean, deep narrow valleys, and opulent green cliffs. Unlike many of Hawaii’s other coastlines, this one is accessible by land only through the Kalalau Trail, a rigorous 11-mile hiking trail.
At the end of the trail, hikers get to sink their toes into the white sand of Kalalau Beach. While non-hikers cannot get to the coast in an automobile, they can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Na Pali area by way of boat tours, guided kayaking trips, and air tours.
Hanalei Valley Lookout
The Hanalei Valley Lookout is almost an indescribable sight, to say the least. It offers panoramic views of the Hanalei River and lays bare the vast expanse of the taro fields flanked on either side by towering, emerald-green mountains with crystal clear waterfalls rushing down in hues of the brightest blues.
The fertile soil of the Hanalei Valley has been known for being a popular spot for taro planting as far back as 700 A.D., the vista is a definite sight to behold as it offers a peek into what Hanalei has to offer. The iconic, 900-acre Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is an unparalleled location full of beauty and splendor that travelers can often get lost in the moment.
For travelers that are seeking a relaxing picnic, there is no better destination on Kauai than the Hanalei Valley Lookout. This dream destination offers visitors a brand-new perspective with its beautiful views, teeming wildlife, and lush scenery.
The Hawaiian sun is a warm and comforting presence. There’s nothing truly better than watching the Hawaiian sunrise in the early morn and see it set as the day dwindles away. The setting sun is a beautiful sight from any angle, but enjoying it at Kilauea Point is an entirely different story.
Imagine soaking up the majestic views of a Hawaiian sunset near the famous Kilauea lighthouse that sits nestled in a cozy spot on Kauai’s northern shore. The scenic beauty and historic context that it offers is a priceless experience.
Pu’u O Kila Lookout
Kokee State Park is already a must-visit place in Kauai, yet at the very end of Highway 550 lies one of the most jaw-dropping lookouts on the island. A lookout that offers a vast, picturesque view into Kalalau Valley and beautiful sights that overlook the Alakai Swamp, which is known as the highest swamp in the entire world.
The valley is the widest and largest valley on the Na Pali Coast. Its appearance may shift from moment to moment as the sun and clouds dance around the cliffs from where the beautiful natural sights may perch.
If the clouds permit it, the views into Kalalau Valley are superb when viewing from the Pu’u O Kila Lookout. It offers such a unique vantage point into the valley that travelers often perch themselves right up to the edge of the valley to snap the perfect photograph that lasts a lifetime. That’s not all it offers though, travelers can also view the Alakai Swamp that stretches out behind the lookout point ending at the summit of Waialeale.
Hanapepe Valley Lookout
Located shortly after the Mile 14 marker on Highway 50, the Hanapepe Valley Lookout also known as the Hanapepe Valley Overlook is the best place in Kauai to take in the full view of the beautiful Hanapepe Valley.
The valley offers travelers a historic journey to the past through the breathtaking views of the green river valley and the Hanapepe’s lush mountain ranges. This same spot was also used by the acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg for the shooting of Jurassic Park making it a must-visit location for film buffs and Spielberg fans alike.
Summary and Infographic
Kauai has an abundance of beautiful lookout points that can be utilized by the most resourceful of travelers. This list may be an expansive peek into what Kauai has to offer, but there are countless more spots that can be explored by those that seek the thrill of adventure.
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