Sleepinh Giant

The legend & details about this epic not so talked about trail

You ever pick a random hike without researching what it looks like, just go for it and then BLOWS you away with how AMAZING it really was and have NO IDEA how you haven’t heard of it before?

That was mine and Rons experience hiking to the top of the Sleeping Giant on Nounou Mountian.

After exploring Ho’opi’I Falls, we had some daylight left and wanted to get in one more hike for the day. I pulled up my All Trails app to see what was close by to hike. NOTE: I have no affiliation with All Trails. I genuinely love the app and use it everywhere I go. To me, it’s the most useful tool when trying to find trailheads. It will take you straight to it. It’s also a blast tracking yourself to see your own personal results from time, altitude change and distance. It works without signal. My phone died so I didn’t track this one. However, I highly recommend downloading it!

There are several trail heads all around Nounou Mountain to get to the top of Sleeping Giant (see bottom for directions to all). We chose the West side trail head as the starting point. Without even knowing it, this one is known for the best overall experience.

You drive though a neighborhood to get to the trailhead. There was a small parking lot to park.imgThis is the entrance to start the trail. Dogs are aloud on the trail, we saw a few.imgCan’t get any better than a fresh fruit stand at a trailhead!imgSleeping Giant gets his name from the mountain ridges resembling a giant human laying down. It’s a Native Hawaiian legend about a giant who over ate at a celebration, laid to rest and is yet to awaken. The hiking trail leads to the highest point ending on his forehead. Image taken from Wikipedia since I didn’t take one.



We started the hike though a tunnel of trees and several little switch backs. It quickly opened up to these Norfolk/Cook pines that were planted in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

It felt as if we were on the set of the movie, “Where The Wild Things Are.” imgI could’nt stop drooling over how cool these pines were, from the roots that looked like giant mossy monster feet, rings around the bark spaced out ever so even, to doing nearly a back bend to see the tippy top reaching propoably 50-100ft tall into the sky!imgThe piney smell was the icing on the cake, it’s my favorite!imgThis trail meets at Kuamoo Trail (another route). It’s about ¼ mile into the hike, just continue left up the mountain. About 30 minutes in the hike there is a covered picnic table and a bench to enjoy views over Wailua. We didn’t stop.

imgAfter another 15 minutes or so we saw the sleeping giants head with tiny people standing on the edge! Do you see them up there?! You can also see another person climbing the last bit of switch backs to the top. This part gets quite steep. Im short so I was pulling myself up in some parts. The views from here were already incredible!imgMaking it nearly to the highest point we stopped to soak up the views. The lighing was amazing! It was about an hour before sunset.img

imgThe cloud cover with peeps of light shinning though lighting up the ridges was breathtaking.imgWe waited a couple minutes for a few people to leave and had all 360-degree views all to ourselves!imgHere is another epic view to my left.imgI crawled to the tip of his nose in hopes to not wake him :P!imgRemember that photo six photos above? Yeah, im standing at that point! Look at that drop off :O !imgWe headed back down before sunset.

We saw all sorts of signs for “Ne-Ne crossings” all over the island but never knew what they acutally looked like until this hike! We came across a few at the end of the trailhead. The Nene goose is  Hawaii’s official state bird.imgAfter our hike we headed back to Kauai Shoes Hotel next to Lava Lava Beach Club to relax in the hot tub then went to dinner. We didn’t make a reservation at the club and did not want to wait an hour to eat so we walked over to the plaza next to the hotel.

It was meant to be! We ended our day eating dinner at the Sleeping Giant Grill. Funny right! We ate some tasty ahi fish tacos. There was about a 30 minute line out the door around dinner time. It was worth the wait! I took this photo the next morning.img

Would you hike to the top?! I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, Share and subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!




There are three trailheads with various lengths that all end at the same view point (Sleeping Giants forehead).

  • Sleeping Giant Kuamo’o trailhead details/directions here. Distance 5 miles round-trip.
  • Sleeping Giant (east) tailhead details/directions here. 3.5 miles round-trip
  • Sleeping Giant (west) trailhead details/directions here. 1.9 miles round-trip {We completed this one}

SLEEPING GIANT (WEST) TRAIL: Moderate hike. 1.9 miles round trip with 695 elevation gain. Small parking lot in neighborhood. Fresh fruit stand at begging trailhead. Dogs aloud on leash. Muddy switch backs. Forest of Norfolk pines 50-100ft tall. Bench and covered picnic table at 1/4 mile mark and a few others throughout. Steep climb nearly to the top, im short having to pull myself up in some parts. Epic 360-degree views of Kapaa and Wailua. Saw families with babies/kids do this hike. Let me know if you had the guts to make it to the tippy top! It’s quite steep, see above.

We spent about an hour and half total. We held a moderate pace going up and hungout for a while at the top.












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