Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail

MODERATE 484 reviews

Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail is a 5.8 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaʻa, Kauai, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.8 km Elevation Gain: 306 m Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

Climb the face of the fabled sleeping giant, and prey you don't wake him! Local legend tells of a giant who feasted so much at a party in his honor that he laid down for a nap and never awoke, and when you see the mountain's resemblance to a sleeping giant from the nearby town of Kapa'a you can see why the legend persists. This is a nice little hike if you're in the area, and a great way of sampling some of Kauai's exotic plant life and bird population. Certainly it's not the greatest trail on the island (particularly when it's up against such stiff competition) but if you're planning to be spending some time around the leeward side soaking up some rays, then it's worth checking out. The trail ends at a picnic shelter on the "chest" of the Sleeping Giant in Nonou Forest Reserve, where there are vistas of the ocean coastline, as well as inland to the Wailua River and Mount Waialeale. The west side trail joins this trail near the 1.5 mile post.

Great hike with amazing 360 degree views...

hiking
2 days ago

We did this one last year. Our first hike as a family. Was relatively easy. There was one place where we had to scale a 7 foot face. But nothing too bad. Was a very fun hike. Our youngest was 8 at the time. He made it without a problem. You have to go all the way to the chin of Sleeping Giant. Great photo op.

hiking
bugs
rocky
4 days ago

This is a really great hike with a beautiful view at the top. It is only (aprrox) 1.8 miles, but you're hiking up the entire time so it can be exhausting to those not used to climbing. Bring plenty of water. Many people also miss the small cave at the top. It is directly under the top of the mountain. Right before reaching the top there is a small path to your left which will take you to it. Check it out, it is a great place for pics!

6 days ago

Pretty steady and fun hike!

hiking
7 days ago

Spectacular views from the top, and some really fun vertical “climbing” portions that made the hike a challenging and fun workout.

hiking
9 days ago

Great hike to spectacular views. Trail is partly shaded (few spots fully shaded) and a couple of spots of minor bouldering. No waterfalls on this one, but you get a sense of why Kauai is the Garden Island. Our group was a bit on the slow and steady side so took a bit to get up and down; would expect less than an hour each way for a more typical pace. Once you reach the shelter, you can enjoy the views there or continue on to ridge for a near 360 view. Not for the faint of heart or those with heights issues, but if you go, you won't be disappointed. Views of Kapaa, Wailua, the coast on one side and the ridge and valleys on the other. Great panorama or 360 opportunity.

hiking
muddy
scramble
12 days ago

Definitely recommend going early since it gets HOT and the lot fills up quick. Took us 1.5 hours going up and 1 hour going down (lots of breaks/stops both ways). Started at 6 AM and there was only one other car in the parking lot! The sun rose as we ascended, which was gorgeous. Trail was mostly dry with some spots of mud, especially shaded areas. There were a couple rock scrambles, one towards the beginning and one towards the end. Nothing too crazy though. Once you’re up on the ‘chin’ of the Sleeping Giant, there’s a small path to the left that will take you to a little cave-like area with a nice breeze coming up from the ocean. Must do! We descended after the chin and didn’t continue to the right but the views from the chin were incredible so we felt like we’d done enough.

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful at the top, but very, very, very muddy

hiking
muddy
rocky
15 days ago

Enjoyable hike. Quite muddy in spots. Don't wear new shoes. There are a couple spots that require climbing of fairly steep rocks, but several families did so without much trouble.

hiking
muddy
16 days ago

Difficult hike almost always in the sun, very very muddy, moreover the sight was also beautiful in the 1/2 of the Trail. Same view all along, it was in my opinion a little disappointing.

hiking
muddy
23 days ago

I love this hike and the views are incredible on top of the ridge line summit on the Giant's face. While the ascent is quite high, there are a number of switchbacks. So, the trail has areas where the hike is less steep. You get a nice variety of tough leg workouts interspersed with spots of a more easy stroll. What also makes the hike pleasant is that the trail offers many viewing spots along the way from different perspectives of the mountain. The last bit getting to the summit involves a rock ascent that requires a full-on climb, but it's not too difficult and the views are totally worth it. Kauai is quite rainy. You should expect to get muddy and dirty on this hike. Our hike was a bit muddy, but there were harder rainstorms in the days after. So, we missed the truly muddy times.

hiking
26 days ago

As said by other hikers, more a moderate than difficult. Beautiful all the way up, and the views are worth the efforts. Be sure to go on the chin and the nose of this Sleeping Giant!

hiking
27 days ago

Much more of a moderate difficulty hike than difficult. Much cooler at the top than along the way - a great temperature at the top even at 1:00 on a sunny day in June. Do not neglect to check out the caves/arches below the "nose." When everyone is focusing on getting to the top of the most prominent rocky point, hang a left and take the low road that goes just below for this great location - much better for those who are afraid of heights

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail!! Should be moderate instead of hard. Sweeping views from multiple spots!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Mid-June... no mud!!

hiking
washed out
1 month ago

Cool Trail with great views! Highly recommended...

Nothing to write home about. I would skip this trail and do one that offers views of the canyon or the napali coast instead. Nice little trail but anti climatic after doing some of the others on the west side.

Great little hike on the east side of the island. Conditions were muddy much of the way to the extent that footing was unstable. My old man with a bad knee didn’t appreciate the sliding but he made it through ok. 4/5 stars because we wanted to look at the natural beauty rather than our footing. The hike is steep, short, and slippery. There are two scrambles which are a welcome break from the trail. Koa trees are abound, and the “giant’s chin” past the picnic area is really special.

Great morning hike. Relatively short, steep, well maintained, lots of shade and amazing views of the ENTIRE east / northeast area of the island. 2.5 hours round trip with several stops for photo ops and chill time at the top. Moderate difficulty and slightly harder for the scramble at the top. The earlier start, the better. We started at 7:30am and the early birds were already on the trail. As we left the top, the crowd started getting heavier and louder.

On a nice day this hike has spectacular views at the top. Try not to go in the middle of the day as it can get pretty hot. Going up is pretty strenuous and going down is a little rough on the knees but all well worth it!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Fun trail that proved moderately challenging to hike. Be sure to go right and look up at the fork about 0.5 mile up. A few fun scrambles near the top. Can be slippery on the way down with loose sand and dirt.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. I wouldn't categorize this as hard if you are "in shape". probably about 2-3 Rocky inclines that are a tiny hill. Be sure to go to the top to see the view and check out the tiny "cave" beneath the top lookout. Wear sunscreen, bring water and snacks.

hiking
muddy
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Nice trail. Lots of scenic lookout spots. Nice breezy cave once you reach the top. Very crowded though.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Worthwhile... hiked this early morning on 5/23. The trail was in good condition and dry. Difficulty is rated moderate, with some scrambles at the top that lead to a 360 degree panorama of the island. The trail does get a fair amount of activity, so best to start early to get out front, and additional it will most probably get hot later in the day.

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