Pack more than just flip-flops on your trip to Kauai, because this is a destination full of unbeatable hiking trails. While the most dramatic trails will be found along the coast, Sleeping Giant trail, or Nounou Mountain, is a hiking gem found on the east side of the island. With a relatively gentle incline and lacking in steep drop-offs common for other Kauai hikes, this is a great option for families with children.
Standing in Kapa’a town, you can see the unmistakable silhouette in the mountains of a giant lying on his back. Several different local legends assert that the giant was tired from overexertion or overeating, and he laid down to take a nap, never to get up again.
There are three starting points for this hike, although all three trails lead to the same destination – the giant’s chest. Trails vary in length from three to four miles round trip: Kuamoo Trail (easy), Nounou East Trail (moderate), and Nounou West Trail (difficult).
Sleeping Giant in Kauai Trail Description
Whichever Sleeping Trail trail you choose, you will be treated with stunning viewpoints and forests along the way. The real reward is reaching the top, where you will be able to see a 20-mile stretch of coastline between the Hoary Head mountain range west of Lihue to Anahola on Kauai’s North Shore. On most days 5,148-foot Mt. Waialeale is shrouded in clouds, but on a rare clear day, you may be able to see this tallest point on Kauai looming in the distance fifteen miles inland. Bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy under the pavilion or on the lone bench perched over the east coast lookout. While at this point it will feel as though you’ve reached the top, this is a false summit. Only experienced hikers with steady footing should continue on the next portion of the trail to the giant’s head.
Stop to admire Opaekaa Falls on your way to the nearby Kuamoo Trailhead. For the Nounou East Trail, begin at Haleilio Road in Wailua Houselots. The Nounou West Trail begins along Kamalu Road (Highway 581) near telephone pole #11.
For any hike on the Sleeping Giant in Kauai trail, bring plenty of water. It’s advised that you dress in layers and are prepared for the weather to change from sunny to rainy at the summit. Happy trails!
Staying at one of our East Shore rentals such as Banyan Harbor, Islander on the Beach, Kaha Lani, Kauai Beach Resort, Lae Nani, or Pono Kai will put you in perfect proximity for hiking the Sleeping Giant in Kauai trail. Need ideas for more must-visit places on your trip to Kauai? Contact us at 866-922-5642 or [email protected], or find all the best places to stay and things to do by browsing our website today!