Driving the Canyon Rim
The road follows the canyon rim, and along with the lookouts along the road, there’s an nice viewing area and parking lot. For the most sweeping view of the canyon, drive a little past the 10-mile marker on Highway 550. For a view of Waipio`o Falls, continue up 550 about 3/4 mile past the 12-mile marker. The viewing area isn’t marked, but it’s right across the street from a cluster of picnic pavilions and a comfort station.
Driving further up the road to where it ends at 4,000 feet, there’s a lookout that offers a glimpse into Kalalau Valley, literally the other side of the island where the Na Pali Coast can only be accessed only by an 11-mile hike. Often a foggy mist hangs over the cliffs, but don’t leave just yet. Every minute or so it clears revealing the the cliffs and ocean beyond. Then the mist returns, like a blanket in a game of peek a boo. There are times when you can’t get much of a peek though – early mornings are your best bet.
From the top, at Koke’e State Park, there are 28-miles of hiking trails, including excellent birdwatching trails. Magestic koa trees are among the main attractions at this Hawaii State Park.