The Sleeping Giant Trail (Nounou Mountain Trail East)
This medium-to-difficult hike takes you up Nounou Mountain, known as Sleeping Giant (it really does look like a giant resting on his back), to a fabulous view. The clearly marked trail will gain 1,000 feet in altitude. (Be sure to stay on the trail.) The climb is steadily uphill (remember you are climbing a mountain), but the view at the top is well worth the constant incline. To get to the trail head, turn mauka (toward the mountain) off Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) onto Haleilio Road (btw. Wailua and Kapaa, just past mile marker 6); follow Haleilio Road for 1 1/4 miles to the parking area, at telephone pole no. 38. From here, signs posted by the State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife lead you over the 1.8-mile trail, which ends at a picnic table and shelter. The panoramic view is breathtaking. Be sure to bring water -- and a picnic, if you like.
Nounou Mountain Trail West
If you would like to venture up Sleeping Giant from the other side of Nounou Mountain, this trail joins up with the east trail. This trail is shorter than the eastern trail, and you're in forest most of the time. To get to the trail head, take Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) to Wailua. Turn left onto Kuamoo Road (Hwy. 580) and continue to Kamalu Road (Hwy. 581), where you turn right. Make a left on Lokelani Street and drive to the end of the road, where there's a parking area and trail head. This trail meanders through forests of Norfolk pine, strawberry guava, and, as you climb closer to the top, hala trees. About a quarter mile into the hike you will come to a fork with the Kuamoo Trail; veer left. Continue to climb and you will reach the picnic area and shelter.
Keahua Arboretum Trail
If you are looking for an easy hike for the entire family, this half-mile loop will take you just a half hour. It offers you a chance to swim in a cool mountain stream and maybe enjoy a picnic lunch. To get here, take Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) to Wailua. Turn left on Kuamoo Road (Hwy. 580) and continue past the University of Hawaii Agricultural Experimental Station to the Keahua Arboretum. The trail head is on the left just past the stream, across the street from the parking lot. This area gets nearly 100 inches of rain a year, and the colorful painted gum eucalyptus trees at the trail head couldn't be happier. Along the trail you'll see kukui trees (which the Hawaiians used as a light source), milo (popular among wood artists), hau, and ohia lehua. As you walk parallel to the stream, be on the lookout for a good swimming area. There are lots of picnic tables and shelters along the trail at which to stop and have lunch.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.