Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East Trail

HARD 325 reviews

Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) East 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
1,003 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

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.

4 days 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!

5 days 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
8 days 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

9 days 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
11 days 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
12 days ago

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

hiking
13 days 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
13 days 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.

13 days 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
13 days 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.

15 days ago

very muddy and slippery, but you have an amazing view

hiking
17 days ago

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

hiking
18 days 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!

20 days ago

This hike was tough. Seems like it was never going to end. The elevation was steady but steep! View was worth it.

hiking
20 days ago

Nice view! Very muddy and slippery so prepare for some clean-up after the hike ;)

23 days ago

I have been hiking this trail for 15+ years with my family. It never disappoints. First of all I would rate it as moderate. There are a couple of areas where you have to navigate up some rocks, but definitely doable if you have any hiking experience at all. My kids never had a problem. I am afraid of heights and any kind of exposure areas and I was able to do it with no problem. The trail has muddy spots at all times and if it has been raining a lot, I would pick another hike. The views at the top are amazing. We try to do this hike every year as our warm up for other hikes. If you are faint of heart, stop at the picnic table. It is still well worth the effort.

Loved this hike! Definitely more on the challenging side due to having to climb and how slippery the mud is in places. Highly recommend hiking boots or sneakers with traction. The views are amazing.

hiking
26 days ago

Fun easy hike with good views. As another reviewer said this is a good warm up if you have plans to do more difficult hikes while you are here - AnaAwa’awapuhi Trail, Waimea Canyon.
The hard classification is a stretch. Muddy and some climbing makes it a moderate hike.

26 days ago

This was a gorgeous trail but I wouldn’t do it in the rain! We were super lucky with the weather (only a light drizzle for 5-10 mins) and timing: highly recommend going for golden hour at the peak - maybe start at 4pm so you catch the sunset up top. You may have to speed up coming down to beat the darkness though so keep that in mind!

For those not as fit as they’d like to be this is a great “primer hike” ahead of the more difficult / long hikes ahead in Kuaui.

Also recommend going right to the peak instead of stopping at the picnic bench - you won’t be sorry!!!!!!

hiking
28 days ago

Get there early, it gets crowded. May not be possible in the rain. View is epic!

1 month ago

This trail was rather rocky and a great climb, definitely felt like I got a cardio workout for sure. I prefer Sleeping Giant West but this was fun too.

hiking
1 month ago

Got up early and headed off about 5:30am. Trail was dry for the most part. Surprised by a wild pig snorting at us in the dark. What a wonderful place to watch the sunrise! I would highly recommend the hike if you have the time.

1 month ago

Did this trail this morning. nice and dry. great views from the top

hiking
1 month ago

Today was a great change of pace since it wash much drier and clearer than yesterday’s run of the Sleeping Giant (West Trail)! Actually got some good views!

This trail is much longer but more gradual than the west approach. Both are great though, just depends if you’re looking for a short yet intense hike up, or longer / more gradual incline.

Ran this trail Car-to-Car (to the very top) in 50 minutes exactly

1 month ago

Hiked this with my husband while it was raining on and off today-I had hiking boots and he was in Hokas. There is one section at the end (passed the picnic tables) that gets a little tricky-tough to get down not so much going up-otherwise it’s muddy, very slippery and so much fun! If you don’t mind getting dirty then definitely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

EXCELLENT hike—definitely not for the faint of heart. Trail gets pretty muddy the last half mile, but the views are 100% worth it. Go left at the fork, HIKE PAST THE PICNIC BENCH, and make your way to the peak. It does not disappoint.

I hiked in chacos, if I went again I would wear my hiking boots. I wouldn’t go in anything that doesn’t have grip/isn’t meant for hiking. The trail can be slippery at times. Make sure you bring water and sunscreen.

Beautiful. Pretty muddy though, bring good shoes. The last part is sketchy like people say, but definitely doable if it's not raining. If it had been raining, I wouldn't have done it.

1 month ago

My wife and me climbed this hike today and it was so worth it. It rained early in the morning so it was quite slippery but that added to the adventure. We had hiking poles, which really helped and I would highly recommend them or a walking stick to help you stay upright! Make sure you hike past the picnic tables up top, the best vista is beyond them.

1 month ago

Amazing view at the top

hiking
2 months ago

Did the trail 4 days ago. Great views along the trail. muddy in some areas. Avoid after the rain- looks like it wold be very slippery and dangerous. Trekking poles or a walking stick would be a great idea for navigating the muddy areas. We stopped at the picnic tables.

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