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Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail

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Nounou State Forest Reserve

Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaʻa, Kauai, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 944 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

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
5 days ago

The Sleeping Giant via the Nounou Trail was one of our favorite hikes in Kauai. This mountain rainforest hike was fun and challenging with a quick 1,000 ft elevation gain. We were also racing against time, because we started later during the day and wanted to complete the hike by sunset, which made it all the more exciting. The Nounou Trail was pretty with a spectacular ocean view most of the way up. There were also sprinkles of bright wild flowers along the trail. What a treat! The kiddos found the climb/scramble up the rock wall toward the end of the hike thrilling. The trail became precarious at the top. We took a detour to the “AC room” after the rock wall as advised by a local hiker that we met on the trail. The kiddos loved the rush of the ocean breeze as we entered the AC room. And the view of Wailua Bay was breathtaking from this outlook. After the detour, we headed to our destination-the peak and was pleasantly greeted by the panoramic view of the eastern coast of Kauai. I totally recommend this hike. Enjoy!

hiking
private property
snow
7 days ago

Law

It was really muddy and I almost fell like 10 times if it had not been for my hiking poles... and there is like a 15 feet rock climb but there are step like crevices in the rock... will post photos

hiking
18 days ago

We had an amazing day on Sleeping Giant even though we didn’t top out! We slip n slide back down

hiking
30 days ago

Great views! Currently not very muddy.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail and views from the top!

hiking
flooded
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

Fun challenging hike. I was able to complete bare foot and it was a lot of fun! Water and hiking stick recommended use caution lots of slippery areas enough with solid traction.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Awesome hike. So far I did three hikes in Kauai and this is my favorite one so far. The scenic view is available along the way up and it is just so beautiful. Most part of trial is dry. Pick a sunny day to go and you won’t be disappointed!

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

We enjoyed this hike (east trail) and found that despite the recent days of rain (followed by 2 dry days) the hike wasn't too muddy at all. With rain though this track looks like it turns into a running stream with very muddy and slippery sides to the streams. The track isn't difficult apart from 2 areas where it's necessary to climb hand over hand. Poles are useful in the mud. Good views from the top (including a whale today). No issues with the parking and there was sufficient street parking as well.

Mostly dry, but some mud edge to edge in places.

hiking
4 months ago

Great view of the east side. Easy to get to and not too difficult. Close to the beaches too for after the hike. Definitely recommend if you’re around Kapaa.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Great hike! Did not make it right to the top as slippery and muddy over the rocks. The view was great even partway up! Hiking poles were an asset! We were serenaded by many songbirds along the way.

walking
muddy
off trail
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked on Fri, 2/28. It was mostly dry for us and I could see where this would be tough if muddy. Having poles was helpful but most people did not. It’s a bit steeper and longer than we thought, but the views from the top make it worth it. A couple “hand over hand” climbing parts. Head toward shelter at the top ( where some kids had actually set up a lemonade stand!) and then off to left to the peak. Parking can be tough.

hiking
muddy
off trail
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely not muddy, a little steep at the start and a teeny-tiny bit of bouldering at the very end to get to the summit (just below the true summit, though with better vistas owing to the jungle at the top). Was pretty windy, but really great views, car park filled up quick but overflow parking by the side of the road opposite the car park possible it seems

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Beautiful morning hike! Trail had some mud towards the top, mostly flat and avoidable but the hiking stick helped in a few spots. Bring mosquito repellent.

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