Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail

MODERATE 450 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.

hiking
3 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
4 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
11 days ago

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

hiking
rocky
scramble
13 days ago

Mid-June... no mud!!

hiking
washed out
19 days 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
25 days 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
25 days 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.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Scramble wasn't bad at all!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

The wife and I completed this yesterday, and it was completely worth the effort. We started around 11 a.m. and were very thankful for the numerous shady spots along the way. There are multiple spots for photo taking on the way up but they pale in comparison to the view from the summit. Absolutely amazing. Keep going past the picnic area to the scramble at the end, which is very navigable in good weather (on the way down we passed both a dog and young child of maybe 4 or 5 years old which should speak to the ability level needed). The last 50 feet are probably the most difficult where it does help to either have an extra set of hands or someone to help support you (take your time and it should go fine). In rainy weather I can see where you might want to avoid the last part up as the exposed rocks would probably be quite slippery but on a beautifully clear day no issues whatsoever. There is a bonus view also, a small side trail just on the backside of the summit that takes you around to a cave opening that gives another unique perspective. The wind coming through there feels great on a hot day. If you get the chance and have a couple hours this hike doesn’t disappoint!

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I would echo all the other comments here as this a nice hike of sufficient duration with great views and some shade along the way as well as a stunning payoff at the end. We hiked on a dry day so conditions were perfect. Based on reading some other reviews and blog posts I had some skepticism about going past the false summit at the picnic table to the head. For any doubters, I would recommend going that final ten minutes as it's not too dicey as the path is quite wide despite exposure on both sides. The payoff and best views really are once you get to the head. One major piece of advice I'd give is not to stop at the "chin" but actually continue to the "forehead" where the summit marker is. While you can get that Instagram worthy shot from the chin, you get some great 360° panoramic views from the summit marker and you can capture some photos that really put where you are in context by seeing the chin and those on it out in the distance. So heed my advice and don't stop at the chin. Trail conditions are fine and you won't regret it!

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
muddy
scramble
1 month ago

Great hike. I think I made the hike harder than it had to be...about 10 minutes into the hike you will have an option to go straight or make a right. The right turn is a short rocky scramble. Take that route, do not go straight (left) unless you would like a more difficult scramble.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

This hike was the perfect view of Kauai! I did it while carrying a baby in a carrier (and with my older mother) so it’s not too difficult, but can be steep in some spots. There are a few scrambling spots, but nothing crazy. Take water and take advantage of the shaded spots! When you get To the fork, take the left trail, and then when you see the picnic table, keep walking straight and take the left trail for another 10 minutes and you’ll get a great view from the top! Would definitely recommend this hike. It would be difficult with mud, but we went after several dry days.

1 month ago

Spectacular view!

1 month ago

Great hike up up up to a wonderful view of Kapaa.

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

This is a very nice hike and no mud when we hiked mid-April. Nice switchbacks on the way up and the trail is well marked. There is one tricky part about 1/3 mile up the trail where it looks like the trail goes straight but you actually want to follow the red arrows painted on the rock and turn right and this is the only tricky rock scramble part. It is partly sunny, partly shaded but fairly steep so make sure to bring enough water. Nice views all the way up.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike with awesome views. Hiked all the way past the chin with group consisting of 12, 15, 17, 45, & 46 year olds and would rate moderate to hard. Started up at 1:30 pm and didn’t encounter much rain or mud. Bring plenty of water as you sweat a lot due to the humidity.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Moderate first half and tough second half. Awesome view on the chin of the sleeping giant!

muddy
2 months ago

Easy - moderate. Good trail to take visitors of all fitness levels. Nice payoff at the end - beautiful views.

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