Sleeping Giant / Nounou Mountain Trail Hiking

North of Lihue and northwest of Wailua on Kauai, the popular Nounou Mountain Trail System criss-crosses the well known Sleeping Giant ridgeline profile. The strenuous t-shaped trail system runs the western flank of Nounou Mountain from the south and intersects with the east-west trails crossing over the chest of the giant. If you make it up the challenging ascent to the summit, there are spectacular vistas over Wailua Bay and the cloud-shrouded Wai’Ale’Ale mountain.

The Nounou Mountain East Trail starts from the trailhead on Haleilio Road. Overall, it is a steep 1,050 foot ascent over 2 miles to the top overlook above the giants chin. The first 0.75 miles are relatively gentle before the trail starts heading steeply up switchbacks to the chest of the giant. The route is mainly without shade as it passes through scrubby ironwood and oak forest, but at least there are some good views along the way. About 0.25 miles before the summit, the trail intersects with the Nounou Mountain West Trail, which leads down the west side of the Sleeping Giant to Kamalu Road. Near the intersection is a picnic shelter where you can relax. The steep packed dirt trail is best when dry and can be pretty impassible when wet due to muddy conditions.

The Nounou Mountain West Trail starts from the trailhead on Kamalu Road. It is also a steep 850 foot ascent over 1.5 miles to the top overlook above the giants chin. The first 0.75 miles are relatively gentle to the intersection with the Kuamo’o Nounou Trail before the trail starts heading steeply up switchbacks to the chest of the giant. The route is mainly without shade as it passes through scrubby ironwood and oak forest. About 0.25 miles before the summit, the trail intersects with the Nounou Mountain East Trail, which leads down the east side of the Sleeping Giant to Haleilio Road. Near the intersection is a picnic shelter where you can relax, before continuing on up above the chin.

The Kuamo’o - Nounou Trail starts in the south from the trailhead on Kuamo’o Road. It runs along the western flank of Nounou Mountain well below the ridge. The trail runs 3 miles to the northern terminus with the Nounou Mountain West Trail.

To reach the Nounou Mountain East Trailhead from Lihue, head north on SR56 (Kuhio Highway) to Wailua. Just past the SR580 intersection, turn left heading west on Haleilio Road. At 1.1 miles up the road there is a trailhead parking area on the right north side of the road for several cars signed for the Nounou Mountain East Trail.

To reach the Kuamo’o - Nounou Trailhead on the southern end from Lihue, head north on SR56 (Kuhio Highway) to Wailua. Just across the river, turn left heading west on SR580. After passing the Opaeka’a Falls Overlook parking area, look for the Kuamo’o - Nounou Trail parking area on the right side before the community streets.

To reach the Nounou Mountain West Trailhead from Lihue, head north on SR56 (Kuhio Highway) to Wailua. Just across the river, turn left heading west on SR580 (Kuamo’o Road). Well past the Opaeka’a Falls Overlook parking area, turn right heading north on SR581 (Kamalu Road. Just before reaching Lokelani Street on the right, look for the Nounou Mountain West Trail on the rightside.

MORE INFORMATION

Local Contact(s):  Hawaii Visitors (808) 245-3971; Kauai Weather (808) 245-6001; Kauai Nature Tours (808) 742-8305.

Recommended Book:  "Ultimate Kauai Guidebook" from Andrew Doughty

Recommended Map:  "Kauai Guide Map" from Franko

Best Season:  Any

Average Difficulty:  Difficult

Base Camp:  Lyngate Park Campground (808) 241-6858; Anahola Beach Park Campground (808) 241-4463; Kauai Beach Resort Hostel, Kapaa

Luxury Loding:  Kauai Beach Resort (808) 664-3635; Opeakaa Falls Hale; Hale Awapuhi

Breakfast Restaurant:  Olympic Cafe, Kapaa; Java Kai, Kapaa

Local Website:  click herehttp://www.hawaiitrails.org/

Date Published:  

Date Updated:  7/15/2016

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