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Kauai, Hawaii

Waimea Canyon State Park

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Move Over, Grand Canyon

They don't call this multicolored gorge of the Waimea River the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" for nothing. Much of the unreasonably profuse rainfall of Mount Wai'ale'ale (one of the wettest places on Earth) and the Alakai Plateau in the central highlands of Kauai drains out via the Waimea, and it's sculpted a truly breathtaking defile out of volcanic strata: in hue and stature, definitely worthy of comparison with that giant gulch out in northern Arizona.

Whether you're ogling it from roadside pullouts or trekking from rim to bottom via the Kukui Trail, Waimea Canyon is, along with the Na Pali Coast, Kauai's defining landscape, and a feature really without analogue on the other Hawaiian islands. Bring binoculars: You may spot a snow-white, long-tailed tropicbird winging over the vast gulf.

Open in Google Maps: Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796

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