Sleeping Giant Via Nounou Mountain Trail

HARD 218 reviews

Sleeping Giant Via Nounou Mountain Trail is a 3.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kapaa, 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
987 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

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
11 days ago

Amazing hike! We went around 2PM on a Monday and the parking lot was almost full. It took about 2 hours for us to get to the peak and about 45 minutes on the way back down. The trail is heavily shaded until you get to the picnic benches. My dad wore basic tennis shoes and I wore chacos and while we were both fine, I would recommend proper hiking shoes. The hike is a pretty constant incline but there are a few spots to stop and rest along the way if needed.

Once you get to the "top" with the picnic benches, go past and to the left along the ridge. It's definitely a climb to the peak but nothing too crazy- the path is decently wide and the rocks are pretty sturdy. It's 110% worth the extra effort because the views are incredible.

hiking
18 days ago

a good work-out trail. A steady going upwards, some few times you have to climp a small bit. the top view is definitely worth the walk.
after pictures at the top, immediately when going back down, turn right at a small narrow path (before the climbing back down). go through a small "cave" and out to another view point. this is very beautifull!

hiking
22 days ago

This was a great hike with beautiful views. Nice picnic spot at the top. Fast hike definitely worth the trip. Can't wait to go back and do it again. Captain Hook forest was very cool.

1 month ago

Cool short hike. It’s 3.3 miles with 971 feet climbing to the giant’s nose. I did it 3 times and got the same stats each time. The lower 1/2 mile can be slick after rains. Trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Go past picnic tables to the nose of the giant. Best views are there

hiking
2 months ago

Steep hike with great views at the top.

2 months ago

Quick but beautiful hike. Definitely head to the very top - past the picnic tables. Light scramble towards the top. I’d rate this as moderate vs ‘hard’.

hiking
2 months ago

It was a good climb and a friend and I did it at dawn to reach the peak as the sun came up. We did go off trail due to missing a sign and arrow in the dark - took a shortcut, went vertical and took a third of a mile off the distance up. Breathtaking views and well worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

It is a pleasant easy trail with a nice view on the East coast. It is a nice classic trail, but I didn't have the same "wow" effect as during the trails in the Koke'e national park.

2 months ago

Good hike, pretty views! make sure you have the right shoes and water. It will be slippery after rainfall. There is some rock scrambling involved. At the top it is easy to miss the trail to the left that goes to some cave tunnel viewing points with a cooling breeze rushing through.

2 months ago

Great views, lots of shade, and a little scramble at the top

2 months ago

My first hike on Kauai and it was really nice. I'm not sure it should necessarily be hard, as I'm a pretty amateur hiker and didn't find it too bad. You will probably need proper hiking shoes if it has rained, I made it to the second turn and couldn't walk up a slope in my sneakers, and actually went and bought hiking shoes.

The rock climbing aspect is very minor. Pro-tip: you'll come across some picnic tables near the top, where I and some others were temporarily fooled into thinking we were at the top. The views were nice, but it would have been a let down. Don't be fooled, keep going and you will be rewarded.

2 months ago

super fun hike, definitely worth the effort!!!

2 months ago

Breathtaking views! Definitely worth the hike up. A little congested with people so try to go early in the AM. Steep but nothing too crazy hard - gets your heart pumping and there are a few instances where you need to rock climb etc. Trail is marked pretty well but we were told to stay to the left when you hit a “T” towards the end. Pack a lunch and a beer to reward yourself at the top because the views provide the best place possible to enjoy a meal and take it all in :) also beware of after rain mud - it made the trek up a little tricky but it’s only in the beginning and walking stick helps. Enjoy!

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was pretty busy today, but had a great time. Labeled as Hard, which I agree, but only as far as the handful of areas you need both hands to scale a rock face. Otherwise it's not technical at all. If it rains or had been raining recently, it will be slippery.

The view from the top is pretty amazing assuming you go all the way to the rock outcrop.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a very nice hike. Shade most of the trail, but with glimpses of great views along the way. The main attraction is when you reach the top of the rocky outcrop. It's a little challenging to get to it, with some technical rock scaling involved. But not something to keep you away unless your afraid of heights. Once you reach the covered picnic area your almost there. Keep going towards the pinnacle by crossing the grassy area and back into the woods. This is where you come to the most challenging part of the hike, the rock climb.

If it's been raining or going to rain, the trail will be slippery (Hawaiian Ice). For us, it had rained a bit the evening before, so some muddy areas and a few areas that were slippery and needed extra care. The trail is not marked that well and you can get off-trail by taking a few well warn paths where people have wandered off looking for a better view. The trail was well used the day we went. The parking area was also full with overflow into the street. All-in-all a very nice hike. Ware sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water, maybe a walking stick and be ready for a stunning view from the top! It only rated 4 stars in my review since it didn't have a key element, a waterfall.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail was a great hike. Not too difficult, but some climbing in a few spots. Trail was dry but after a couple minutes of rain, it became a little slick. Not too bad though. Views are great. Nice slow pace to enjoy the flowers and birds and still only took a couple of hours. Make sure you check the caves at the first peak. Other than that, great hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail and a great trail to get warmed up for Kauai! a bit tough going up with some rocks to climb up and down but the views are impeccable!!

hiking
3 months ago

Good trail. Was pretty dry most of the way. Not too difficult but had some steep spots.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked to top of the Sleeping Giant today. Trail was dry in most places with super views. Some scrambling on the top. Small cave/opening also worth seeing and just short sidetrail below the "chin" to get there. A very lovely Kauai trail with wildflowers and forested areas. Be careful scrambling to the top of the chin..very narrow and small landing.

3 months ago

Did this hike today in good weather. Some tough spots with mud and rock scrabbling, but not too bad. Took about 2 hours round trip with about 10 mins at the top. Saw a lot of other hikers with sandals, etc and some small kids. Would rate this hike as moderate. Definitely worth the 360 view!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a nice hike with a great 360 degree view of the island at the summit. I would rate it somewhere between moderate and hard. A walking stick on the way down made a big difference as the trail was a bit muddy. Be careful on the way down as there is an unmarked fork that will take you down the wrong side of the mountain - I learned this the hard way

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views! You must climb past the picnic tables to see the 360 views of the island! Very muddy, definitely bring extra shoes for after and a towel to wipe off the mud!

3 months ago

We just did this hike in the rain and it was great. Definitely wear clothes you can get wet or muddy. There were slightly slippery parts coming down but we felt very safe. Fun views even with the clouds. It was a nice warm up hike to start our day.

hiking
3 months ago

There are two Sleeping Giant trails, this one is longer and steeper than the west trail. They come together below the picnic area. This trail gives a vigorous workout and is very managable for a healthy person. The rock scramble is not overly difficult. Best 360 views of the island.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike yesterday - HARD. Don't be fooled, this is a difficult/steep trail with some climbing at the end. Wear hiking boots and bring lots of water (I had a camelbak). We went all the way up past the picnic benches. Rained last half mile going down making the trail muddy and very slippery. Fell a few times. Still had fun though! (lol) Beautiful views!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail! Lots of mud. Gets tough at the end, but worth it with the 360 view of the mountains!

4 months ago

Made it to the top. We started with Eight of us and the younger kids turned back at the bench. The trail gets pretty slimy and slippery and you can't prevent getting covered in mud if there's been any moisture on the ground recently. Once you get to the top it's worth it. Just under 4 miles round trip but it took a lot longer than normal due to the slippery, steep conditions. I just wish there was water to take a dip in somewhere on the trail...

hiking
5 months ago

Very nice hike. Not too muddy, but can image it could be very slick during or following rainfall.

5 months ago

Good workout
Great views
Definitely a must

hiking
6 months ago

I wanna set the record straight, as there are mixed reviews on this trail. This is a fantastic trail. I hiked his on 2/15/17, and it was 3.9 miles round trip. I am an experienced hiker, and in decent shape, and I did not have to stop going up to the top of this mountain. I would rate this as moderately strenuous. For an average hiker, stops will be made along the route to catch your breath. This hike is up a mountain; switchbacks. There are trail signs, so there is no way to get lost. Arrows guide your way. Distance is marked. There are lookouts and a few benches as well. The trial is muddy, but no more muddy than any other trail on this island. When you get to the picnic pavilion, keep going! There is a bit of rock scrambling to get to the “head/nose” of sleeping giant. It’s worth it! You can also go the top of the mountain to get the absolute best view. The head and nose are to the left, as well as a little cave, and the top of the mountain will be to the right. Then head back to the picnic area and back down to your car. The views from this trial are SO GOOD.

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