Nounou Mountain [Parking lot on Halelilo Road off of Hwy 56, in Wailua] is commonly referred to as Sleeping Giant and the land is steeped in legend. The mountain looks like a human lying down, thus the story of its creation was formed. A giant exhausted from over eating lies down, and has not yet awaken! The eastern trail up Nounou Mountain is certainly a legendary hike to take while visiting Kauai!
Just under two miles of switchbacks will get you just about to the summit, and head back the way you came making a four mile round trip hike. The trail mileage is marked, so you’ll have a good sense of how to pace yourself on this relatively steep hike as you gain 1,000 feet of elevation.
The trail can be muddy, wear good shoes. Once you get above the tree line, the views of the ocean, Wailua River, and Mt Waialeale are plentiful and fantastic!
The flora and fauna is as gorgeous as you would expect in Hawaii.
With approximately a quarter of a mile left till the top, the east trail is joined by the west trail. Be sure to take the left fork! Soon after you will reach the picnic shelter. Here you get great views of Mt. Waialeale, most likely covered in clouds as it is one of the wettest places on earth. The trail continues on back into the woods and pops you out onto a short, yet exhilarating ridge section of the hike. You will come to a sign that says the trail has ended, but that is far too premature.
The best views and summit are just a few feet further! The actual summit doesn’t have the most incredible views, but it’s always a goal to get to the top of a mountain for me.
Climb up the prominent chin of the giant
for some of the most spectacular views of the eastern side of the island.