Kauai's Canyons. Waimea, Olokele, Loli Waialae, Koaie, Poomau, Iliiliula, more.

The Wetside Canyons of Kauai.

At this point, we've only nibbled at the Wetside Canyons and with the exception of Iliiliula Gorge, we've nothing to add not already covered in various guidebooks. But maybe in 2009, we'll switch to the wet.

Kauai's canyons can be grouped into groups; the Wetside Canyons: beginning in box canyons to the north, east and south of the summit, and the Dryside Canyons of Waimea, beginning in the Alakai Swamp and dropping via waterfalls into the arid Waimea Canyon or Makaweli Valley. Each is unique and offers a different experience.

Iliiliulu Gorge. A work in progress.

Mudhole on road to Iliiliula Gorge, near Kawaikini on Kauai.

Taking a tip from John Earle, in September 2005, we took a recon south on the 4wd road following the ditch/tunnel that leads out of the Blue Hole. Under showers, we passed a great swimming spot about fifteen minutes from the road, a few mud holes that'd swallow anything less than a monster truck and eventually we reached Iliiliula Stream.

The stream flow was high (and getting higher), but we'd found a great area to explore. A cross Kauai trek looked practical. On the way back, we noted that the water had risen at the swimming hole and the water had turned muddy.

Mouth of Iliiliula Gorge below Kawaikini on Kauai.
The entrance to Iliiliula Gorge.

Iliiliula Gorge narrows as it nears Kawaikini. A couple months later, one of us ventured further up the Iliiliula, entering a spectacular, narrow gorge. Time limited, he turned around before reaching the promised spectacular view below Kawaikini. At about the same time, the Gang of Four was celebrating atop Kawaikini less than two miles away.

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