Hike the Crouching Lion Trail

4 miles 2000 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Thomas Burton

This is an awesome hike! There are steep drop offs all over the place and great views of the ocean. You are hiking through a rain forest most of the time

This trail is not for the faint of heart or those easily scared of heights. The crouching lion trail is a 4 mile loop with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. The elevation gains and losses are near the beginning and the end of the trail. The middle of the trail is where the dangerous knife-like ridges are. To get there, travel 25 miles on the drive from downtown Honolulu. Take the Pali Highway to get to the windward side of Oahu. Once you are through the Pali Tunnels, descend downhill, turning left on Kamehameha Hwy. About 2.5 miles later, turn left onto Likelike Highway. Turn right onto Kahekili Highway, which after 4.5 miles transitions to Kamehameha Highway (key landmarks there are a 7-11 store on the right and the Hygienic Store on the left). Continue on Kamehameha Hwy. for just short of 10 miles. Parking is available at the Swanzy Beach Park. Walk north up Huamalani Rd to the trailhead. The trail is between two properties and there is no reason to go up anyones driveway looking for the trail. After this, the trail is sometimes hard to follow but there are usually pink ribbons tied to trees to help with directions.

The trail follows the Pu’u Manamana ridge on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The full loop is called the Kahekili-Manamana loop. It took us about 5 hours to complete. The trail is difficult to find in places, and very overgrown. Multiple times we were basically crawling through the mud in order to get under the heavy overgrowth. I know that at least a few hikers who have tried to hike this have died, so make sure you stay focused while hiking this trail and watch where you are placing your feet. It can also be very muddy in spots which makes for a very difficult time.

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Great Hike but...

This was a great hike but the directions are not to the real trail head of Crouching Lion- this’d the Kahekili-Manamana Loop. Yes, you can get to Crouching Lion from here but it wasn’t originally the shortest or advisable route. Spoke to the local who owns the house at the trail head and he laughed about how many hikers he meets who think they are in the right place. The official trailhead is just around the next bend and only .4 miles but it’s closed, and for good reason, as these days most sections of the short hike are too slick to be passable. So if you want to get up there, it’s Kehekili- Manamana for you :) Anyway, you can still get to Crouching Lion from the end and the payoff is worth it. Pro-Tip don’t do this hike with younger children. You’ll just be asking to give yourself a heart attack when they get a little scared on some of the knife edge ridges. Other than that, wear shoes with some great traction. Don’t do this in trainers or sneakers. And if it’s been raining, wait and go when it’s dry. The views are amazing but it’s not worth your life- and I’m not a timid homer either, having done all three peaks of Olomana twice. Remember that weather on the windward side can change really quickly so if you see those clouds rolling in, beware you might get some moisture faster than you think, which can make the trail get slippery fast. Totally worth the time, just go slowly and enjoy the view.

Stunning views but pay attention.

This is an advanced hike that can be made even more difficult with the rain (muddy trial) and winds. The trail a straight climb with an immediate elevation gain, often times through washed out trail, loose rocks, exposed roots, & overgrowth. We climbed to the point and bunker and were advised by a local to not go any further past that because ”many people have died on the back loop. It's treacherous”. That said, the views are amazing & unmatched. It's worth it, just be mindful the entire trial.


This was such an amazing hike. So glad we came across this post to help us get there. Definitely stick to days where the ground won't be wet, it can get slippery. Amazing views. We did about a 30 minute hike up and it was perfect!


When I hiked it I only went up the the first area on the ridge, not the full on summit. The crouching lion mini hike is awesome! Super quick and not to difficult...as long as you watch your footing and don't go after it has rained.


My favorite hike during my Oahu visit. The trailhead was difficult to find, as it's off the street and you can miss it. You have to go through some trees and under a fallen one, as the trail head is not marked. It took me a while to find it, but once I did, I was so excited! I went alone, and was dropped off, so I have no recommendations of where to park. I would make sure you are watching your next step and make sure you are holding on to something, as it can get steep and you can fall down and hurt yourself. Especially windy once you're up top, so don't be too carefree.

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