Time: 1 to 2 HOURS
Distance ~1 MILE
Elevation Gain: 400 FEET
Foot Traffic: HIGH
Challenges: Steep slopes with loose dirt
Sights: Kahana Bay and Valley, Ko'olau Mountain Range, Ka'a'awa
What to Bring: Shoes with decent grip
A very short hike located in the more northern part of the windward side of Oahu. You gain elevation quickly as you climb through the trees, but soon, the trees will open up and you will be treated with beautiful views of the Windward Coast and the Ko'olau Mountain Range. Climb up the "Crouching Lion" located right on the ocean for even more impressive views. A very short, but stunning hike.
I was looking for a short Sunday afternoon hiking fix after having spent the first half of the day doing errands. After a quick scan of the skies, I decided to head to the northern part of the windward coast where the sky seemed the most clear. I decided to check out Crouching Lion, a short hike near Ka'a'awa, known for it's incredible views. I am pleased to say it really satisfied my hiking itch.
Here's an image of the hike. As you can see, it's an incredibly short hike right up the ridge to a beautiful lookout point AKA "Crouching Lion."
That dirt area on the right side of the road beyond the chain (around here) is the best place to park. This area can get pretty crowded on weekends, but it wasn't too tough for me to find a spot on a Sunday afternoon.
The entry is a short walk from the dirt lot where these signs are. I know what the signs say, but let's just ignore them. As soon as you pass the signs you will come to a fork in the road. Go LEFT.
You quickly come to another fork in the road. The obvious path seems to be right. This will get you to the ridge, but it is not the most direct path to The Lion. The most direct path is actually LEFT.
If you head left from that fork, you will come to this fallen tree. You must go over the fallen tree to continue.
After, you simply follow the path and the ribbons to the ridge. It does get steep, but luckily there's some rope to help you out. Once you reach the ridge, the lion will be to your left. Using this route, you can probably get up to the lion in about 20 minutes.
But alas, I did not go left at that initial fork, I went right. This path is a little bit tricky as it's steep and the ground is a little uneven.
But you will get some periodic glimpses of the beautiful Kahana Bay.
We've broken the tree line! This dirt area is probably the steepest part of this route. You may even have to use your arms for balance, which means you might even get your hands dirty.
But with the view of Kahana valley to your right, those dirty hands are worth it!
Seriously though, that view!
If you look to your left you will see the Lion. I actually haven't figured out why it looks like a crouching lion. You can see a very faint trail in front of the trees at the bottom of the photo. That's where that initial left fork will spit you out. After coming this way, I would definitely take the longer route, more time for views!
Continue along the ridge until you reach this large dirt area. The path to the Lion is off to the left. The path to the right where those two guys are going is the trail to Pu'u Manamana, one of the notoriously dangerous hikes on the island. This is what I really love about this area, there are so many different vantage points and paths to experience, you can really make your adventure unique. It's a hikers paradise!
There is some danger in paradise though. The dropoffs as you approach the lion get intense, so be safe!
As you continue towards the Lion, you will approach this large rock (not the Lion). There's a trail that goes around to the left that allows you to circumvent it... or you can climb it!
This is why you climb it, a perfect view of the Lion. The blues and greens of the ocean and ridge are simply magnificent! I actually spent 20 minutes or so up here, getting pictures of all the angles. But it's time to move on. To get to the Lion, simply follow that trail.
This trail does require you to navigate around this rock. But the trail is relatively wide, and shouldn't give you too much trouble.
And one final, steep(ish) climb.
Finally, Crouching Lion Summit! This is a shot looking all the way up towards the northern part of Oahu. I can't get enough of how beautiful this place is!
And one final shot of the Lion itself. If you look closely, you can see a man sitting there, embracing all the beauty surrounding him. I'm sure he would agree with me when I say, today, there's no place I'd rather be.
Check out my video of this hike!
Have you been atop the Crouching Lion? Share your story below!
Also Check Out:
- Hik3beasthhawaii's write up of this hike