Crouching Lion Hike

4.5 stars from 2 reviews
Address 52-180 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaaawa, HI 96730
A quick hike with a big payoff overlooking Kahana Bay.

• General: Cost: Free • General: Photo Opportunity
• Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Length: 1-2 Miles
• Hiking: Level: Moderate • Hiking: Major Elevation Changes
• Hiking: Out & Back Trail • Hiking: Ridge Hike
• Hiking: Rock Climbing • Sightseeing: Great Views

Full Description
The first thing to know about this Crouching Lion Hike is that it's not the same as the Pu'u Manamana Trail. While both hikes can take you to the same Crouching Lion rock formation with amazing ocean views, this is the easier and shorter of the two hikes. While this is no means an easy hike nor is it overly safe, it's not nearly as bad as the very dangerous and much more strenuous Pu'u Manamana Trail.

Since this is the easier way, this is often called the Crouching Lion Mini Hike and it begins near what was once the Crouching Lion Inn which is now closed. It's not named after that restaurant but the rock formation at the top that looks like a crouching lion. It's about a one hour round trip trek to a plateau with awesome views of Kahana Bay.

Before you head out, be sure to read up on Hiking Safety & Essentials. Bring plenty of water, it gets hot and it's easy to get dehydrated even though this is a relatively short hike. Keep the kids at home, there are plenty of areas where a fall can do some damage so this one isn't for them. Don't forget some real hiking shoes too, this one isn't for slippers (flip flops). If it has rained recently, skip this one entirely. It will be very slippery if wet.

While this hike isn't too difficult, there are plenty of steep parts that require a bit of climbing. It's a short hike with some fairly major elevation gains.

Next, you'll need to start by finding some parking. We've marked the trailhead on our map so you might be able to find some parking on the opposite side of the street. Just watch for traffic here when crossing the street (since they won't be looking for you) and make sure you've parked in a legal area. Another option is the lot at Kahana Bay Beach Park which will require a short walk to the trailhead, again be careful of traffic around here.

The trailhead isn't marked so look for the Do Not Pass sign on the mauka (mountain side of the street). It will be between that sign and the next utility pole to the northeast (to your left when facing the mountain).

The hike up starts gradually but then becomes steeper as you ascend. Some of the trail is covered with foliage and trees for shade, which is nice. Some of the tougher parts have ropes to use as you work your way up. Amazing views of Kahana Bay Beach Park are all around as you get higher up.

As you get near the top, you'll find a steep path that leads to a peak with a fantastic 360-degree view of the ocean and the Koolau Mountains. As you head to this peak you'll have to duck a bit to work yourself around a concave boulder. As you pass that things get a bit steeper until you're finally at the peak. Enjoy your reward, incredible views in all directions.

Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
Somehow I’ve missed this hike, although I’ve driven by it hundreds of times. It looks more intimidating than it actually is to get up to the top. On my visit, there were about a half dozen people waiting for others to clear out so they can capture an epic selfie with the turquoise water in the background.

The Crouching Lion hike is a moderate, short hike that isn’t too difficult. I saw few people in their 60s on the trail taking it slow but managing fine. Funny thing, as I descended the trail, I made it down without a hitch, then tripped on the lip on the asphalt by the road and ripped my pants. Was embarrassed, but thought it was ridiculous I made it all the way down then stupidly tripped on the road. Doh!
Mark A
Joined: Mar 2014
Reviews: 15
Likes Received: 3
Went on a showery day. Luckily there were many breaks in the rain and the trail was not soaked. Not easy by any stretch, so if your family is not up for a rigorous foray, then think twice. If you go, be ready to use your hands a fair amount. Good hiking shoes, water, and healthy motivation will pay off nicely when you reach the top.
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