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Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge

Kauai + Niihau, Hawai'i

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Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge

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  • You can see your destination from the parking lot.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • The trailhead is well marked.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Interesting flowers bloom all throughout the forest.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • The trail is subject to damage from flooding. Check current conditions before you head up.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Lots of rain means lots of pretty flowering plants.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Jelecote pine, an introduced species of tree.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Looking toward Nounou Mountain from the trail.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Flowers come in all colors, shapes and sizes.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • There's a place to rest and take in the view along the trail.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • You can see the ocean from here.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Much of the trail winds through thick forest.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Leaves make lovely patterns on the ground.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • Watch for giant frogs in the trail.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • An early morning hike will bring out lots of deep colors in the soil.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • If you choose to go beyond the official end of the trail, proceed with caution.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • An unofficial trail continues to a couple of big viewpoints on the Sleeping Giant's face.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • The view from the top is quite spectacular.- Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
  • - Nounou Mountain via the East Ridge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy access. Beautiful views.
Cons: 
Trail can get very crowded.
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Region:
Kauai + Niihau, HI
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
240.00 ft (73.15 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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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.

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