Nounou Mountain Trail (Sleeping Giant)

Nounou Mountain Trail (Sleeping Giant)

Suitable for:
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Well known, but not overcrowded
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
3 hours
Optimal arrival time:
08:30 o' clock
Suitable for:
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Well known, but not overcrowded
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
3 hours
Optimal arrival time:
08:30 o' clock

Profile of the hike

Distance total
5,02 Kilometer
Distance uphill
2,37 Kilometer
Distance downhill
2,3 Kilometer
Altitude meters uphill
345 Meter
Altitude meters downhill
- 337 Meter

Nounou Mountain Trail (Sleeping Giant) - Description

Sleeping Giant, also known as Nounou Mountain, is a ridge west of the towns of Wailua and Kapaʻa in the Nounou Forest Reserve on Kauai's east coast. If you observe the mountain range from the road, with a little imagination you can see the outline of a sleeping giant. According to Hawaiian legend, this giant was tricked by the villagers. When they served him large quantities of fish and poi, they hid stones in the food. After the meal, a heavy fatigue overcame him and he lay down to sleep. The sleeping giant was never to wake up from this nap.
There are several marked trails on Nounou Mountain that take you up through a shady forest of hornbeam, guava and silver oak to Sleeping Giant.

The ascent of Sleeping Giant via Nounou East Trail is a total of 5 km hiking trail. Since it's not a loop trail, that equates to only 2.5 km each way. The hike is not particularly steep! You only have to overcome 350 meters of altitude to stand on the summit. The start is in the village of Kapaa on Haleilio Road. There is also a large parking lot where you can park your car. At the top you will be rewarded with a panoramic view over Kauai.

There are practically no markings on the hike, as you can't really get lost on this path. Over a small climb you reach a picnic area where you can take a break.

After passing the picnic area, keep left and you are on the direct way to Sleeping Giant.

At the end of the hike is a rocky outcrop that offers a unique panoramic view of the island of Kauai.

What we say

If you have accommodation in Kapaa or on the east coast, this short hike is a good way to start the day. If the sun is shining, it is recommended to start early, because otherwise it can get very hot. A "sunrise hike" is also certainly recommended, in which case you should start between 4:30 and 5:30, depending on the time of year, and would be at the summit by sunrise. The trail is nice, with a nice picnic area in green nature and it is fun to stand on the chest of the "sleeping giant", but the hike is not necessarily one of the absolute highlights of a Hawaii vacation. However, it is still recommended for active vacationers who have enough time on Kauai. However, if you only spend 4 or 5 days on Kauai, I would definitely prefer hiking at Waimea Canyon/Kokee State Park.
Our checklist & tips:
  • Enough liquid (at least 2-3 liters)
  • Sturdy footwear (preferably proper mountain boots with a solid sole)
  • Possibly hiking poles
  • Sunscreen
  • Early start recommended

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Map and contact data

Haleilio Rd, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Longitude: -159.34661374230558
Latitude: 22.061296140242998

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