Hike to the nose of Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant Trail

Also referred to as the Nounou trail, this trail offers sweeping views of Kapa'a and Waipouli from the East, and views of Kalepa Ridge, Wailua Bay and the Mt. Wai'ale'ale crater from the West. It's a quick out-and-back hike that isn't too strenuous and perfect for a quick day's adventure.

There are a few different approaches for this hike - you can take either the East route, West route, or the Kuamoo-Nounou route. The East route is closest to nearby towns of Kapa'a and Wailua, so for convenience I chose this route.

The trail quickly begins with several switchbacks, all of which are pretty gradual. You begin to gain elevation steadily past .75 miles. Once you reach about halfway you start to get views of nearby town of Wailua and Kapa'a along the East shore. After a brief trek over a lava outcropping you will begin again switchbacking up the mountain as you get views of Kalepa Ridge, Wailua Bay and the Hoary Head Mountains. Near the top around the two mile mark, at what is referred to as the Giant's chest, you will reach a picnic shelter and a little bench that offer more great views of the East coast and the Pacific Ocean. This is where most people typically stop with signs that indicate as such.

But slightly past that, you'll notice a faint boot path that leads up the chin and ultimately to the Giant's nose, a great spot to sit down and snack, and take in the panoramic views in all directions.

Pack List

  • Day pack
  • Hiking shoes you don't mind getting dirty
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Rain gear
Show More
RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Wake the Giant

Beer Reward Score 10/10 - incredible views of East Kauai. Giant wakes up for local IPAs. Sunburn Score 6/10 - most of the hike is covered, but some open air at the top. Dehydration Factor 5/10 - uphill gains will make you sweat. Bring some water for the mountain pooches. Seriously, there are mountain pooches. Thigh Penalty 6/10 - uphill all the way, but it’s not too far. Post-Hike Chill Street Burger for local brews and massive burgers.

More Rewarding In The Morning!

I have done this hike twice now and I have to admit that it is much better when the ground is dry! But I also recommend it as a sunrise hike. Christmas morning I came up the top in the dark with a flashlight (while the sun was rising) and sat on the nose of the giant to watch the sunrise. The hike is much warmer in the heat of the afternoon. Great views at the tip top.

Great views!

Great views overlooking Kapaa! There are a few benches to enjoy the view along with a prayer box. Definitely worth the effort!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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