The island of Ni'ihau lies 17 mile off the west coast of Kauai. This "forbidden" island is inhabited by approximately 200 full-blooded Hawaiians that keep completely to themselves. Less than a mile up the Waimea Canyon Drive between mile markers 13 and 14 is the large Pu'u Hinahina Lookout. The viewing area perched above the jagged crumbling slopes looks straight down the head of another gorge. Hundreds of colors paint the canyon walls like a masterpiece of the natural world. More than any other, two colors are mixed in different proportions as the day goes on. By the evening, one side glows with crimson highlights, the other basks in shades of dark green.
To the right of the same parking lot at Pu'u Hinahina is the Ni'ihau Lookout. If you are lucky enough to be here on a fairly clear day you should be able to make out the cloud-shrouded island of Ni'ihau. It's flat against the ocean with a large plateau, so it is not always an easy find. Directly to the island's right is the tiny pyramid-shaped island, Lehua. The island is 18 miles long by 5 miles wide - 90 square miles. It is mostly barren with no steams or rivers. The residents work on the cattle and sheep ranch of the Robinsons who own the entire island. To reach Pu'u Hinahina Lookout, take Highway 50 west from Hanapepe to Highway 550 at Mile Marker #23 past Waimea. Turn right on 550 (Waimea Canyon Road). The lookout is near Mile Marker #13. Views of Ni'ihau vary with weather conditions.