Several months ago a friend of mine posted a picture of themselves on this hike but wouldn’t quite give me a straight answer of where it was and how I could find the trail. After tracking down the info and
making the trek myself, I understand why he’d want to keep it a secret; this place is incredible! Stunning, sweeping views of the Kahana bay and the surrounding Ka’a’awa area await at the summit. This hike is by no means an easy one especially with my kiddo in tow. It’s steep, and often requires an almost horizontal position against the mountain at times as well as a strict 3-point touching rule. Lucky for me, I’ve been hiking with Sloane on my back since she was an infant in a hiking backpack until I could no longer carry her and then started taking her on hikes she could navigate on her own. I was most impressed when I took her on the Kalalau trail on Kaua’i (and she made it all the way to the first beach (which is about a 3 mile trek) without complaint and was only three years old! The trail starts out in a thickly forested canopy with low-slung branches, but it marked by ties on the trees. Sloane loved spotting the pink ties on the trees used to mark the trail. On the way up we also met a family with a daughter about Sloane’s age that gave us a rope to tie around her waist on the trek down. I am so grateful they did, because the trip down was a tricky one!
You gain elevation quickly and will be surprised at the amount of sweat pouring off of you, so bring water! Within 10 minutes, I had disrobed and ended up hiking in just my bikini. Yep, I was the hiking haole again, but there weren’t any other people on the trail, so I figured it was better to be comfortable. This hike took us roughly 45 minutes to reach the top where we rested, and took in the amazing views. It made things fun for her and made her feel very important to find each marker. About 2/3 of the way up, someone was kind enough to attach a 3 segment hiking rope that really to scale the last and steepest parts of the incline. Once you reach the summit of Crouching Lion, there is an option to travel on an connect with the Kahekili-Manamana Loop, but with an 8 year old in tow there’s no way I’d attempt it. When we got to the top a police helicopter flew over the top of us and hovered for a minute, followed shortly after by a rescue helicopter. Someone was stuck out in the Kahekili mountains, but luckily it wasn’t us. In total with resting and photo-ops, the hike took 3 hours and was worth every drop of sweat and minute spent.