On early Sunday morning, the crowds have yet to arrive at the Waimea Canyon Lookout on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Yet, this is when the incredibly beautiful chasm is at its finest. The deeply-scarred, multi-hued canyon walls — carved from the rivers that pour from Mount Waialeale’s wet summit — shimmer and shine like jewels in the early sunlight. In the distance, you may get a glimpse of Waialae Falls, tumbling down the rainbow-colored cliffs.
Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” this dramatic gorge stretches some 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, and plunges more than 3,500 feet.
If you’re feeling adventurous, travel farther up the road to about Highway Marker 9, where the Kukui Trail begins. Follow the series of switchbacks descending to the valley floor, listening to the sounds of wild roosters and falling waters, long before the first tour bus arrives. www.gohawaii.com/kauai