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Hawaii Destinations – Mount Wai’ale’ale

While visiting Hawaii, you’re going to have views of all of the different landmarks and destinations, whether you’re looking for them or not. The towering mountains are visible from everywhere on the island, and the different landscapes and environments are so drastically different that it is hard to believe that these great destinations are all in the same place.

On Kauai, standing on the pristine beach and staring back towards the island you’ll see Mount Wai’ale’ale, one of the most incredible sites on the island. Found just about in the dead center of the island, the shield volcano is the second highest point on the island, and is also the second wettest place on Earth, when measuring the rainfall. Pretty incredible, right?

The mountain receives over 400 inches of rain each year, with the average amount coming in at over 450 inches annually. The amount of rainfall creates an environment that has come to be vital to the island, and there are many different rare plant species that are found here, in the Alaka’I Wildlife Preserve, thriving on the wetlands and boggy conditions. With rain falling on the mountain nearly everyday, some have reported that it rains between 350-360 days per year, the conditions on the mountain are nearly impossible to navigate, and despite the fact that there are hiking trails on the mountain, actually using them is treacherous.

This might not seem possible, since Hawaii is a tropical destination and is famous for the incredible beaches and great outdoor activities. The summit of the mountain sits at 5,148 feet above sea level, and at that elevation, the weather that surrounds the extinct volcano is quite different than what is found on the beaches. Just like Haleakala’s frigid temperatures, and Mauna Kea’s snowy summit, the weather is drastically different on Mount Wai’ale’ale.

So, how can you see this damp environment and marvel at the lush beauty? The best way to enjoy the mountain is on a helicopter flight over the summit. This allows you to take in the diversity of the entire island, and see just how incredible the summit is. From the sky, you’ll witness waterfalls, towering trees, and might even spot a rare plant or two, with the assistance of the pilot. These flights are always combined with many other features of the island, including Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast, making this a must for any trip to Kauai.

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