Sleeping Giant Hiking Trail

Nounou East Trail

  • Summit view

    Summit view Photo: Stunningtopics

  • Half way view

    Half way view Photo: Stunningtopics

  • Town view

    Town view Photo: Stunningtopics

  • Trail to the summit

    Trail to the summit Photo: Stunningtopics

Essential info

  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Season: January-December
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: 4.2 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
  • Elevation Gain: 370 meters
  • Duration: 2-3 hours

About Sleeping Giant

This trail gives you a clear overview on the south-east side of the island and the Wai'ale'ale mountain area. The top consists of beautiful rock formations and on a clear day, you see Lihue from the top. It is advisable to walk this trail at the beginning of your holiday on Kauai, as it can help you while orienting on the island.

Getting there

From Lihue (south side)
Take Kuhio Highway 56 to Wailua. Turn left and enter Haleilio Road until you get a slight left turn. 

From Hanalei (north side)
Take Kuhio Highway 56 to Wailua. Turn left and enter Haleilio Road until you get a slight left turn. 

The parking lot for the trail is halfway along the bend on the right. The trail is well marked and starts to the right of the parking lot.

On the island, it is wise to rent a car. The public bus does not run often and drives only between the larger towns on the highways.

Trail description

The trail is easy to follow and you will find some markers along the trail. It climbs gradually up to the top. If it has been raining, the path can be very muddy. The climb to the first top contains a 4-meter stretch where you have to scramble. Then the trail gradually rises again. 

When you come across the board with Nounou West trail or Nounou shelter, take a left towards Nounou Shelter, this is the first top. By Nounou shelter you will find two picnic benches and a wooden bench with beautiful views. Take a break here before you do the last stretch up to the top. 

The trail going further up is not clearly marked but continues to the left as you walk 10 meters behind the wooden bench. You might have to pull some branches to the side because the trail is very narrow. From here it is 100 meters to the top. The trail is steeper here and you have to scramble you way to the top. 


  • No drinking water along the trail or at the parking lot. 
  • There is a shelter with two picnic benches close to the top.
  • You can find some wooden benches to rest on along the trail.


  • There are no public toilets along the trail or at the parking lot. You can use the toilets in the restaurants along Kuhio Highway.
  • You will find some shops along the Kuhio Highway or Waipouli mall. Waipouli mall has a big supermarket.

Where to stay

You can choose from one of the many hotels on Kauai. The island is not big, the maximum distance you can travel is two hours, one way.

The island also has several camping sites. The closest ones can be found around Anahola. You need a permit if you want to camp at the Anahola Beach Park. This permit can be obtained in Lihue. 

The other campsite in the area is a private campsite and can be booked online.


Questions or comments? Let us know.

By Nadja Kroon

World traveler originally from the Netherlands. 

Download trail descriptions, maps, and guides in the Outtt app.

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