Sleeping Giant Trail
If you’re looking for a great Kauai hiking trail with fantastic views and a breathtaking lookout point from the mountain peak, we introduce you to the Sleeping Giant.
The Sleeping Giant Trail is one of three Nounou Mountain Trails. As you hike across the hulking guy’s chest, you’ll understand the origin of the trail’s name. The "giant's" profile is most easily seen from nearly anywhere in Kapaa – you’ll likely spot his chin first.
The Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant) Trail is a gently ascending stroll through forested mountains with excellent views. The trail begins with several switchbacks through a shady forest of ironwood, guava, and silk oak- to name a few. Along your path you are treated to stunning views of Kapaa and Waipouli. You begin to gain elevation steadily past .75 miles. After a brief trek over a lava outcropping, you’ll start switchbacking again up the mountain as you enjoy views of Kalepa Ridge, Wailua Bay, and the Hoary Head Mountains.
Just before the top, there is a three-way junction surrounded by hala trees. Take the left fork. Nearly right after, you will find another fork; both paths lead to the picnic shelter, but the right one is easier. At this point you can eat lunch on the giant's chest! Kick back and enjoy the views of the Wailua river down below, the eastern coast of Kauai, and the interior of the island. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of Mt. Waialeale crater, even though most of the time it is enshrouded by clouds. The giant's head is the only thing that stands between you and a 360° view. If you are very sure footed, you can hike onward via a brief but very precarious trail onto the Sleeping Giant's face! Be careful not to slip if you try this.
The trail is extremely narrow in parts with hundred-foot drop offs at many points, so proceed with caution. To reach the trail, head north from Lihue on Hwy. 56. After 8 miles, turn west onto Haleilio Road at the traffic light. When the road begins to curve to the left, look on your right for telephone pole #38 with the trailhead marking. You can park across the road on the shoulder.