By now, you know how much we love Hawaii and hiking. The other day, I was writing my parents, who are currently on holiday in Hawaii, and giving them some advice on which hikes to do and practical tips on how to get there, where to park, etc. I had to research everything as some memories were not that fresh in my mind anymore, and decided to write them down for the blog. So we will be putting a sort of “Hawaii hiking guide” together, documenting most of the hikes we went on!
The first one will be the Crouching Lion Mini Hike on Oahu. It isn’t an all day affair so it’s perfect if you don’t have the time to spend hours trekking. A 1.6-mile trek will reward you with great views of Kaawa and Kahana Bay, like this:
The entrance to the hike is on Kamehameha Highway. When you’re driving north on the road, you will pass the Crouching Lion Inn (try to look out for mile marker 27 as the trail is right in front of it). About a third of a mile (500m) after passing the hotel, you will find a little parking lot on the right hand side of the street (if it’s full, resist the temptation to park on Trout Farm Road as it is a private road and your car risks being towed!).
Once you’re parked, you have to walk a few hundreds meters back towards the Crouching Lion Inn. The trail is on the other side of the road so be careful when you cross and walk alongside the road, as cars drive by really fast. You will first pass a speed limit sign, and then a ‘Do Not Pass’ sign. A bit further and before the telephone pole, you will see on your right a man-made dirt trail through the trees. Please be aware that according to recent feedback received, there are now two ‘Area Closed’ and ‘Hazardous Cliff’ signs!
DISCLAIMER: It seems that this is now a CLOSED trail. It wasn’t at the time we did it – the trail and activity descriptions given in this article have the sole purpose of showing the beauty of Hawaii. We are not in any way inciting anyone to attempt illegal hikes. If you decide to go, you are doing so at your own risk. It is the responsibility of the reader to use common sense and good judgment by using information found online to safely enjoy outdoor activities.
The trail is pretty much like making your way into a deep lush jungle.
You will have to climb up with the help of tree branches and ropes. We don’t recommend hiking when it rains or when it has rained, as the path will be very slippery and muddy! Hiking shoes are a must, and don’t wear your nicest outfit.
It is a short hike so you will gain elevation fast to get nice views of Kahana Bay.
When you reach the top, go left. Beware! We are talking about the Crouching Lion Mini Hike, which takes approximately 30-40 minutes to make it to the top of the Crouching Lion. The full Crouching Lion hike involves taking the trailhead for Pu’u Manamana (on your right) all the way to the summit of the mountain. It is considered as one of the most difficult hikes on Oahu and should not be attempted if you aren’t an expert hiker (Tibo and I haven’t done it).
I am just in love with Hawaii’s lush vegetation… This is the valley of Kahana State Park.
The last stretch involves going under a big rock in the middle of the trail. You get nice views of the small town of Kaawa from the top, as well as on the Pu’u Piei mountain on the other side of Kahana Bay.
And then you will see the top of the Crouching Lion! It is called that because, supposedly, when seen at the right angle, the rock formation looks like a lion sitting on its flank. To be honest, we never saw it hahaha.
Once done soaking up the view, just use the same path to go down.
As a general comment, be careful because albeit short, it is still a dangerous hike with narrow paths and steep drop-offs.
Address: 52/180-52/204 Kamehameha Hwy
Timing: 40 minutes to go up, up to 2 hours in total