One of the most beautiful canyons in the world! A tough, hot 2.5 mile hike (Kukui Trail) to put in for a nice section of Class III-IV+. You can hike further up canyon for more action: either hike til a fork at Koai'e Canyon or (depending on flow) hike up Koai'e Canyon to Lonomea Camp.
There's a nice short play section available by hiking up from top of Waimea River Road. You will have to ferry the river several times as you hike up -- go as far as you can hike. If you commit to the Ditch Road, plan on 2 extra miles of up hill hiking (with no river in sight). It's worth every step!
See also: Koaie Stream page where a trip report also gives some description of Waimea Canyon.
FYI, the flow rate on this river description appears to be for the wrong river (Wainiha River near Hanalei on the other side of the island) Here is the correct one. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?16031000
Late Nov, 2019: Just ran this in packrafts at 200-166 CFS (200 CFS when we started and 166CFS when we took out). It took about 6 hrs on the river including some photo stops, cliff jumping and one patch on a raft. The hike down was an additional 1:15. Probably would have taken 4 hrs on the river without stops if everyone could read ther river and stay in the deepest sections to avoid bottoming out. At this flow it was mostly class II with 2 class IIIs toward the middle. There were 2 sweepers in the last few miles, but easy enough to get around. We probably had to get out and pull the raft about 10 times for a few feet when it widened and swallowed. It was great trip. Totally worth doing in packrafts at this flow rate.
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Been to Kauai several times now and have also been trying to locate a whitewater boat here. Checked into bringing my own playboat and the costs are really steep. For a 30+ lb boat that is just over 6' long the UPS cost was over $400 one way from CT! Bringing it with you on the plane is more reasonable, but still expensive. On United you can bring oversize luggage up to 103" in length and under 100lbs for $250 each way. They said the boat should be in some type of bag. Still too expensive for me. Haven't looked into this yet but probably the best way would be to send it via ocean freight. Obviously this is slower and a precise arrival date might be hard to nail down. However, with a little planning this might be your best bet. Anybody have any luck finding boats already on the island? I'm going there in a few days.
I live here now and will be doing some leg work to get more info out there. Everyone I talkto here says you can't run it--we all know better. The trouble is getting the boat here I will keep you all up to date. THanks
So what's the latest on running the Waimea? Is it worth the trip? How many kayaks on the island of Kauai? Would it ever be possible to rent/borrow a boat? Anyone know how much it costs to get a kayak on the plane to Kauai? So many questions.... I really want to paddle the Waimea.
The river tends to flow in late winter and spring. If you catch this running you will not be disappointed. Good Luck!
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Rapids in the Grand Canyon of the Pacific
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