Nounou Mountain is also known as the Sleeping Giant. This lumbering peak, located on Kauai's eastern shore, is said to resemble a giant sleeping on his back. Look closely at the mountain's profile to see the giants' face with a prominent chin and nose.
There are three trails that lead to a grassy meadow with a picnic table on the giant's chest. The East Trail gains a thousand feet of elevation over a series of well-graded switchbacks. Since the mountain receives quite a bit of rainfall and the trail sees a lot of foot traffic, some areas of the trail wash out regularly. Watch for these washed out areas and be mindful of confusing pig trails that can lead you astray.
From the trail you'll get a nice perspective of the cliffs below the mountain's summit. Beautiful flowers decorate the shrubs and trees in the forest. Look for hala trees, jelecote pine (Mexican weeping pine), and ōhi'a blooms.
The maintained trail ends just beyond the picnic table. Informal user paths continue from there to the summit and to a slightly lower elevation viewpoint on the giant's chin. These trails traverse unstable cliffs with steep drop-offs on either side. Proceed at your own risk.
For a truly unique hike, pack a headlamp and head up the trail before sunrise. If you time it right, the trail will be overrun with huge frogs that are totally accustomed to people! By the time you reach the top you'll catch a beautiful sunrise and be off the mountain before the real crowds begin hiking.