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Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail

MODERATE 612 reviews

Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail is a 5.8 kilometer 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, walking, and nature trips 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

walking

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
20 hours ago

Glad we woke up before sunrise to start this hike. We started in the dark and were basically the only ones on the trail until we met up with the west trail. The muddy, slippery spots were carefully done using poles and wearing hiking shoes with grippy treads. There’s a short rock wall you need to pass which was easier coming down than going up, and another steeper rock climb towards the top. I wouldn’t chance it if it’s super muddy, slippery near there. But once you do, the views are phenomenal! We got halfway up when the sun rose. The entire trek took us a little over 3 hours round trip with time up top to meditate and enjoy the view. The heat and humidity made it difficult, but because we had an early start, it didn’t get unbearable until after 9. A machete at the beginning would have been great to get through the thick tall grass. Poles, decent hiking shoes or trail shoes, lots of water and a snack, and bug spray would suffice. Enjoy the wild flowers and cocoa beans near the top. Start early. You’ll thank me afterwards.

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
9 days ago

hiking
scramble
9 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
11 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
scramble
11 days ago

Apart from 85+F and super humid, this was a really fun one, especially for the rewarding vistas.

hiking
muddy
12 days ago

paddle sports
muddy
over grown
rocky
12 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

Highly recommend!!!

hiking
muddy
16 days ago

Really good moderate hike. It took us 2 hours 45 minutes to go up and down. Definitely bring water, it’s a hot switchback hike. The cave formations at the top are cool and the breeze is nice

hiking
muddy
scramble
24 days ago

Amazing view and some fun scrambling at the end. We had no problems with mosquitos but lots of mud at the top. With boots and poles, no problem

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
24 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
scramble
27 days ago

*sunrise hike* We heard this was a great sunrise hike, and as we’re still jet-lagged coming from the East Coast, I was easily convinced to try that. I’m not sure if it was implied that you were supposed to start hiking when there was some light, but I assumed we’d want to hike up in the dark since it’s an hour to the top, and we woke up early anyways. *boars* So, I knew there were wild boars on the island, but I didn’t really think it through. We didn’t see any, but we heard about five grunting at us, 3 in one spot and 2 in another just off the sides of the trail which is SCARY when you’re in the dark halfway up a mountain! I think we must have woke them and startled them. We made it to the peak for sunrise and it was really beautiful, but I was shaking a bit because we still had to go back down where we heard the boars. Eventually some local trail runners made it to the peak, the first people we saw, and they all said they didn’t see or hear any boars. This calmed my nerves so the hike down was a lot more peaceful and it was cool to see what we had initially walked though. So, unless you’re ok with wild boards in the dark, wait to hike until there’s sunlight! *trail* We went the wrong way for a bit at one point, going up a steep dirt slope on the left of a fork instead of going to the right, since the right is a little downhill at first. The path was tough from there and we turned around deciding it was the wrong way when we wound up faced with some serious bouldering. The actual path is very heavily worn so if you’re not sure you’re on the right path at some point, you probably aren’t. Also FYI all hiking here is muddy, it got more muddy by the top. *overall* Overall I would definitely recommend, just hike in the daylight! Not a hike I will soon forget anyways

hiking
muddy
30 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Great hiking trail. Without a break you need about 1 hour upwards. Be prepared to climb. You have to climb some parts of the trail. If it rained before ... the trail can be very muddy and slippery. Take a mosquito spray ... you'll need it! The view from the top is gigantic but also not without danger. Avoid flip flops or sandals! Enjoy total hiking time with a view ... plan about 2 1 / 2-3 hours! Have fun.

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