Hike the Crouching Lion Trail
Hawaii › Crouching Lion Trail
Added by Thomas Burton
This is an awesome hike! There are steep drop offs all over the place and great views of the ocean. You are hiking through a rain forest most of the time
This trail is not for the faint of heart or those easily scared of heights. The crouching lion trail is a 4 mile loop with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. The elevation gains and losses are near the beginning and the end of the trail. The middle of the trail is where the dangerous knife-like ridges are. To get there, travel 25 miles on the drive from downtown Honolulu. Take the Pali Highway to get to the windward side of Oahu. Once you are through the Pali Tunnels, descend downhill, turning left on Kamehameha Hwy. About 2.5 miles later, turn left onto Likelike Highway. Turn right onto Kahekili Highway, which after 4.5 miles transitions to Kamehameha Highway (key landmarks there are a 7-11 store on the right and the Hygienic Store on the left). Continue on Kamehameha Hwy. for just short of 10 miles. Parking is available at the Swanzy Beach Park. Walk north up Huamalani Rd to the trailhead. The trail is between two properties and there is no reason to go up anyones driveway looking for the trail. After this, the trail is sometimes hard to follow but there are usually pink ribbons tied to trees to help with directions.
The trail follows the Pu’u Manamana ridge on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The full loop is called the Kahekili-Manamana loop. It took us about 5 hours to complete. The trail is difficult to find in places, and very overgrown. Multiple times we were basically crawling through the mud in order to get under the heavy overgrowth. I know that at least a few hikers who have tried to hike this have died, so make sure you stay focused while hiking this trail and watch where you are placing your feet. It can also be very muddy in spots which makes for a very difficult time.
- Shoes and clothes that can get muddy
- Sun Hat
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When I hiked it I only went up the the first area on the ridge, not the full on summit. The crouching lion mini hike is awesome! Super quick and not to difficult...as long as you watch your footing and don't go after it has rained.
My favorite hike during my Oahu visit. The trailhead was difficult to find, as it's off the street and you can miss it. You have to go through some trees and under a fallen one, as the trail head is not marked. It took me a while to find it, but once I did, I was so excited! I went alone, and was dropped off, so I have no recommendations of where to park. I would make sure you are watching your next step and make sure you are holding on to something, as it can get steep and you can fall down and hurt yourself. Especially windy once you're up top, so don't be too carefree.
I seriously underestimated this hike...but overall it was an awesome experience. The directions lead you to some residential street with the trailhead being between two properties. Instead we started at a trailhead that was about half a mile down the road. There is parking in the right side and the trailhead is on the opposite side. Walk towards the direction you came from and enter through he second caution sign. Once you go through the steep jungle you'll be greeted with the "knife-like ridges". They weren't kidding. It was pretty intense seeing such a steep drop in both sides. I would highly recommend experienced climbers attempt the trail because strong winds can make this hike extremely dangerous. However the view that the top is pretty freakin awesome.
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