The mountain known as the "Sleeping Giant" has several great hiking trails that are maintained by the State. It is the best place to get out into nature on Kauai's East side. The "Sleeping Giant" is a mountain situated alongside the East side communities of Wailua and Kapaa. There are several State trails accessing the mountain that are great hiking and quickly remove you from the feeling of being in town. Upon reaching the summit several vistas reveal the lush green inland mountains, the Wailua River, and the open blue sea expanding to the eastern horizon.
At a Glance:
Highlights: Trails are close to civilization, but give you the feel of being remote.
Spectacular panoramic views can be found along several areas of the mountain.
Location: East Kaua'i, in the Wailua Homesteads
Activity Level: Moderate to strenuous depending on your length of hike.
Equipment: Sturdy shoes, rain gear, water and food.
Warnings!: Follow all posted warnings within park grounds.
Reservations: None needed.
Where to Start:
Access 1: "Nonou-East Trail": 2 miles to summit
This trail is the easiest to find, but not as popular access to the Nonou Forest Reserve. It begins as switchback climbing quickly along the east flank of the mountain. 1.5 miles up the trail joins the Nonou West Trail. A half-mile later the trail ends at a picnic shelter on the "chest" of the Sleeping Giant in the Nounou Forest Reserve. Panoramic vistas of the ocean coastline, as well as inland to the Wailua River and Mount Waialeale rewarding the summit hiker with the best views of the area.
Northbound: Take HI-route 56 aka the Kuhio Highway North into Wailua crossing the bridge over the river and proceeding throught the first traffic light. At the second traffic light turn left, inland, on Haleilio Road
Southbound: Take HI-route 56 aka the Kuhio Highway South past Kapa'a town. As you pass the "Kapa'a By Pass Road" and head into the commercial buildings ahead, look for the traffic light and turn right, inland onto Haleilio Road
Drive approximately 1 mile on Haleilio Road looking for a parking area on the right as the road bends left. Look for trailhead signs.
Access 2: Kuamo'o-Nonou Trail: 2 miles
This trail access is more popular amongst the locals, and multi-use so you might see bikers or horse riders as you enjoy your hike. The trail cuts along the West side of the "Sleeping Giant" through forest eventually connecting to the Nounou West Trail which can loop you to the summit. The Kuamo'o trail is sheltered from the predominant easterly "trade winds" and has great stretches of forest planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930's. You can walk easily here and explore without feeling too stressed as the terrain gently rolls with an eventual gain of only 320 feet in elevation.
Take Kuhio Highway Route 56 to Wailua, turning inland on to Kuamoo Road. Head 2.4 miles up the Kuamoo Road, passing Opeka'a Falls lookout and Ohelo Street. Look for parking on the right hand shoulder of the road just prior to Melia Street. The trail head is on the right of Kuamoo Road just prior to the housing at the edge of the horse pasture.
Hawaii State Trail website: