Makapili Rock
Crater Hill
Sleeping Giant 3x
Nonou Mountain 3x P900

Sat, Jan 4, 2020

With: Tom Becht
Iris Ma

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX
Sleeping Giant previously climbed Sun, Dec 23, 2007
Nonou Mountain previously climbed Sun, Dec 23, 2007


Today we drove north from Lihue to explore some on the north side of the island. We had hoped to go snorkeling but the ocean was far too rough for it to be enjoyable, so we settled on an effort to reach Makapili Rock and nearby Crater Hill. Afterwards we visited a few touristy waterfalls and then a repeat to Sleeping Giant, giving Iris a chance to visit this popular Kauai summit.

Makapili Rock / Crater Hill

We never made it to either of these points. We had driven to the end of the muddy Kahili Quarry Rd on the north side of Kilauea Bay, immediately finding that all the land above the shoreline around Mokolea Point was part of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for nesting birds. We had a fine time hiking along the rocky shore around Mokolea Point, but high tide and cliffs prevented us from getting anywhere close to Makapili Rock, which lies offshore between Mokolea Pt and Kilauea Pt. We climbed the bluffs above Mokolea Pt but turned back at a pig fence marking the boundary of the wildlife refuge, still some distance from the objectives. Crater Hill lies above Makapili Rock on the main island, also in the refuge. After returning to the jeep we drove around to the west side of these features at Kilauea Point just to be sure there was no access that we might have missed. There's a lighthouse out at the end of the point, currently $10 per person to visit. We thought that a bit too steep and skipped it, but there is a nice view of hundreds of birds nesting in the trees on a steep slope opposite the lighthouse and dozens of nenes waddling around the grounds where folks park.

Sleeping Giant / Nounou Mtn

Sleeping Giant, also called Nounou Mountain, is the prominent summit rising on the east side of Kauai above Wailua. I had been to it twice already more than 13yrs earlier while Tom had paid it a visit at the beginning of our trip before Iris and I had arrived. The weather continued to be wet, heavily overcast and threatening to unleash more than a few sprinkles at any time, and this seemed a good way to get a workout in without committing too much distance between us and our jeep. The hike to the summit is about a mile from the west, one of three trailheads that can be used. It was fairly steep and quite muddy today, a typical Kauai hike with a few dozen friends we picked up along the way. The trail reaches a sheltered picnic bench just before a short bit of class 3 i s needed to reach to the summit ridgeline. There are two lookout points, the highest where the benchmark is at the south end of the ridge. The northern one is a bit more exposed and a more picturesque site called "The Chin". Below the chin, completely hidden from view, is a neat little cave area with two arches, reached by a spur trail branching off the main one above the class 3 section. In typical style, I bonked my head on one of the arches as I was going through it. Doh!

After returning to the jeep, we paid a visit to Wailua Falls, one of the larger falls on the island easily reached by vehicle. It's terribly crowded with tourists with limited parking. Tom used the jeep to advantage, parking in a spot no one else dared to. Score one or the jeep.


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This page last updated: Mon Jan 20 12:16:00 2020
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