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Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail

HARD 371 reviews

Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail is a 3.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaʻa, Kauai, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,003 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid 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.

Gorgeous panoramic vistas that are well worth the climb. This recording is of the climb up (not the descent).

hiking
rocky
5 days ago

muddy
scramble
7 days ago

Great Ocean views and easy to access from Kauai's east shore. Really more of a moderate hike (unless you go beyond the shelter to the summit). Generally steady assent with some scrambling. Mostly need to worry about the mud, which can make things slow on the more difficult parts. All and all a good quarter day'er if you are in decent shape.

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike !! There are three places where you have to scramble. But none of them are difficult or very long. At about the 1 mile mark is the first one. It’s deceiving because it looks like you’re going off trail if you turn right and what looks like a better trail if you go straight. There were large pink arrows at this point pointing to the right when I was there. Follow the arrows!!

25 days ago

This trail should be rated as moderate to easy. This was a easy trail up and down with minimal elevation gain.

Great trail! Mostly uphill and muddy after this week’s rain but the payoff is totally worth it at the top!

It started raining just after we started going down from the nose of the giant. It was very muddy but still rewarding. I’d say if it were not from the pouring rain it would be a moderate hike. The view from the top was worth it!! We took our time during the hike and at the top and it took us about 2:45.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike!! Very steep at sections and would not suggest after it rains as it is very slippery and muddy. Worth the trek with a great view of mountains at ocean at the top!

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views. Would call this one moderate, although we saw some people struggling with heights at the top.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Easy access, well-marked trailhead with parking lot. I started at 10 a.m. (late) due to rain, but decided to go for it. It rained much of the ascent, making for a wet, but still mostly moderate hike- with the uphill being easier to gain footing.. Grateful I wore Tevas - water shoes instead of hiking shoes. The trail was literally a river with downpours every few segments. Fortunately the rain let up. As noted GO PAST THE PICNIC AREA for the epic finish. I had thought this to be more moderate of a hike until the end, but it earned its hard status with some pretty vertical bouldering. With the rain, it made for slick and potentially dangerous ascent and descent. If it had not stopped raining, I would not have attempted to finish to the top. I'm a moderately fit middle-ager and I was filled with fear/ adrenaline, but made it safely to the top since the sun came out. The bigger risk is letting down your guard on the "easier" sections and slipping hard on a patch of mud in the descent. Really incredible views and well worth the effort. A very enjoyable day. Took three hours, with plenty of time at the top to take it all in.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike close to Kapaa!! Views are incredible. I would call it moderate to hard....not very difficult except for some boulders & rocks to scramble over

hiking
1 month ago

Actually completed this hike August of 2018. At the time we thought we where taking the easier and shorter “West trail” up the Sleeping Giant. Boy where we in for a surprise.

Definitely earned its “Hard” rating. Took lots of breaks during but that was probably due to the humidity at the time (being from the desert, I’m not used to that...) It’s uphill most of the way. However the multiple views of the city below and the mountains around are breathtaking. When you get to the picnic baskets DO NOT STOP GOING! That are is NOT the end of the trail. If you stop there, you’ll miss out on the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen while hiking.

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike! Breathtaking views even if you don’t make it all the way to the top. There are a few spots where you have to climb up boulders, but I do it with my 1.5 year old on my back so it’s not too bad. They look scarier than they are. If it’s been super rainy within a few days it may be muddy but last couple weeks has been perfect trail conditions. Happy hiking!

2 months ago

Only muddy for the last 1/2 mile. We were fine in sneakers, but hiking boots would have been better. Nice views along the way, and close to town. A super quick activity on the way between other things. If you only have time for one hike, definitely skip this and head to Waimea canyon!

2 months ago

Great hike! Muddy at points but fairly dry overall. We continued past the benches and it got a bit more slick but the view was well worth it! Ended up being about 4.5 miles and took about 3 hours.

hiking
2 months ago

great hike with an exceptional rewarding view at the end. the eye of the giant was truly great! not as muddy except for a few patches, hiking shoes needed to avoid slipping. a few points where you need to climb up the rocks and boulders but a good exercise overall

2 months ago

Very nice hike. Views are worth every step. Steep in areas and kind of scary if you keep going past the picnic tables. But rewarding if you make it.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, but very muddy. We did the Canyon trail yesterday and this was much muddier. My son and I hiked in flynets (it was either that or flip flops!). We kept traction in all but just a few spots (muddier as you get near the top). We never fell, but did get a shoe stuck in the mud twice. My son and I did the hike in about 1 hr 45 min. We hike a lot, and moved at a decent pace without stopping except at the top to enjoy the spectacular views (he’s 16). If you have adventurous little ones, they should be fine but the rock scramble at the top requires some nerve. FYI, at the about a mile in, there’s a fork in the trail with a red arrow pointing right. If you go left up a narrower trail, you cut off about 1/3+ mile, but you’ll be scaling a few 6-8 ft vertical rocky sections. Would definitely not recommend going that way if your not an experienced hiker or if it’s raining (or just finished raining). Anyway, awesome hike!!

hiking
2 months ago

Easy and quick. Not as memorable as Koke, but nice anyway. Fairly easy trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Rang in the New Year with this hike all the way to the top. It was extremely muddy but very enjoyable. The view from the top is amazing. I am a forty year old and I made it up and down in about 2:25 with some stops for photography and sat at the top for a few minutes to rehydrate. I used a single walking stick but would suggest two for anyone doing this when it is as muddy as it was this day. Don’t expect to keep your sneakers clean either, for that reason it may be better to do this barefoot as I witnessed some one else doing...

hiking
2 months ago

Muddy as to be expected for Kauai. Used sturdy trail running shoes w decent lugs + walking stick to stay upright. The views are primarily of the city and nice, but not sure worth the amount of work moving through the mud.

2 months ago

Extremely muddy this time of the year (Jan) and probably too close to the ‘civilization’. Easily accessible and very nice views at the top. Took us 2h45m

hiking
2 months ago

Very, very muddy and slippery, but a fun hike! Pretty difficult climb. It took us (30 years old, good shape) almost 4 hours to climb to the top and back down. Very cool views from the top. Bring lots of water and a snack. We wore good water shoes and they worked great. Don’t wear sandals or your nice tennis shoes.

2 months ago

very muddy and slippery, but you have an amazing view

hiking
2 months ago

Family friendly hike. Small rock scramble near the summit may be difficult for some, but worth the views!

hiking
2 months ago

Very muddy trail -- definitely bring hiking or rain boots. I fell five times but it was worth it as the views of the ocean and surrounding towns were beautiful. Continue even past the picnic tables...the best views are found past the section with steep boulders!

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