• View of Wailua from Nounou Trail
  • Features

    Birdwatching, Forrest, Views, Wildlife

  • Difficulty


Nounou Trail or Sleeping Giant Hike starts out in a neighborhood known as the Wailua House-lots at the top of Haleilo Road near the water pump station. This east side trail has a rapid elevation gain of 1,000 feet and an ocean-view behind you the entire way up. This trail is drier and will have better footing during a rainy period, than that of the other Sleeping Giant trails is lined with flowering low lined shrubs compared to the shady forested side of the West Kuamoo Trail off Hwy 580. The east side trail will meet up with the west trail at about .25 miles before the top.

“Sleeping Giant Trail” is named so because the shape of the mountain is a giants profile lying down. The hike to the top takes you across the chest of the Sleeping Giant. This is seen more clearly from the Nounou East Side Trail or ocean side of the mountain.

Hiking Tips

Heading into Kauai’s interior and remote terrain offers dome of the most beautiful backdrops on the world. By doing a little planning and being prepared you will make your hiking trip one of your best Kauai experiences.

  • Hiking Plan Always tell someone where you are hiking (name and location of trail) you plan to hike and when you plan on returning.
  • Water  Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. Carry your water bottle in your hand and drink small amounts often. Make sure if you are drinking water from any streams or fresh water sources you purify your water with a purifier is certified to filter microbial leptosporosis or giardia (not all do).
  • Food  Carry high-energy, salty snacks as well as meals. The hike out is much easier when you provide your body with enough calories to support the extreme physical activity you are engaged in.
  • Weather Check the weather before you set off on your hike. Kauai Weather Forecast
  • First Aid It is important to know that cuts in tropical climates should be monitored closely. Don not expose open wounds or cuts to river water.
  • Proper Footwear There are a variety of footwear options to choose from. The best advise is to wear what is comfortable for you. Do not break in new shoes along a hiking trail.
  • Clothing  Dress in layers so you can protect your skin from the tropical sun. Wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen is recommended. A light rain jacket is recommended.
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Average rating:  
 3 reviews
 by Andrew Laker
Poorly marked

We got maybe a half mile up the east side when we came to a fork in the trail and a sign that read "For your safety stay on designated trail." It had an arrow that was faded, but someone had spray painted a pink arrow on a rock. The trail looked more like rock climbing instead of hiking, so we looked to see where the other trail went. It had another pink arrow spray painted on it, and this path didn't look any better. We probably could have managed to go up, but being unfamiliar with the trail and having lost confidence in what might come next, we decided it wasn't worth it and returned to the base. We saw a local who had been trail running up and down it repeatedly, so we felt we were probably being overly cautious, but Indiana trails aren't anything like that, lol. We figured better safe than sorry, especially when we were just on vacation. There are far safer trails with better views in Kauai anyway. Leave this one to the locals.

 by Michelle
Amazing view

My husband and I did this hike today and really enjoyed it. We found it challenging but doable and loved the many focal points along the way. The final ending was a breathtaking 360 panorama view of the East Coast.

 by Travelingtogether
Sleeping giant hike

This was a wonderful hike. Some steep rock scurrying. We hike regularly and appreciated the challenge, and the exercise we got. On Maui we have a few hikes that we do regularly just for the exercise, and while we were hiking the sleeping giant trail we saw many locals using this trail for there regular exercise. If I lived on Kauai I would do this hike often.

My husband and I made a video on the hike, and there are many more hiking Kauai videos on our youtube channel Traveling Together