Break away from your Kauai vacation rental for this fantastic view that leads down the mountain slope towards Wailua Beach and the ocean beyond. When it comes to Kauai hiking trails, a two mile walk up Sleeping Giant is a favorite Kauai activity. More correctly referred to as Nounou Mountain, the easily accessed trail comes with one safety warning:
On the East Trail up the mountain, stay to the right when the path splits after the half mile marker. If you go left you will be off the trail and navigating the side of Sleeping Giant. Many people do this and then report about a sheer drop off.
Three Kauai Hiking Trails – Go East at Sleeping Giant.
The East Trail at the end of Haleilio Road is our top recommendation of the three. This is the more moderate route with a 960 foot elevation gain and is not as steep as the other trails. All paths lead to the top where you’ll find a grassy plateau and picnic area. From here you may get a glimpse of Mt. Waialeale depending on Kauai weather in the center of the island.
After a rest break the best is yet to come. Hike from the giant’s chest to the top of his head for a 360 degree view. The trail narrows to a thin ridge on the giant’s face for an exhilarating finale and is safely done without rushing.
Legend of Sleeping Giant.
The mountains behind Wailua form a natural sculpture of a giant in repose. You may have to stretch your imagination just a little to see him. The outline is clearer farther up toward Kapaa. Local legend says the giant feasted so much at a party held in his honor, that he took a nap and never woke up. It must have been some party for this famous Sleeping Giant who still slumbers on tropical Kauai.
Six Kauai Hiking Tips and Directions.
1. Get a grip! Wear good footwear since the terrain can get slippery and muddy at times.
2. Free parking is available at the East trail-head.
3. Bring food and water for a picnic at top. Don’t forget sunscreen.
4. Shorten the hike if you need to at the half mile marker where you can still see beautiful views.
6. Princeville Resort guests drive through Kapaa and turn right on Haleilio Road which is the first light after town.
Cool off at your favorite Kauai beach after the hike and tell us about your experience. Have you hiked Sleeping Giant? We’d like to hear your tips and recommendations.
Visit our Kauai Activities page for a list of things to do on Kauai with insider tips, recommendations and map.