If you are looking for a place where you can take a breath from your busy life, then Crouching Lion Hike can be a great place to do just that.
It’s a short trail but perfect for hiking. There you will enjoy the beautiful scenes of Kahana Bay, Kaawa, the quaint town, Pu’u Manamana’s menacing cliffs, and many more. Not to mention, you can enjoy a great landscape view of Oahu island in Hawaii from the top.
Curious about the trail yet? Let’s get started.
Crouching Lion Hike Trail Options
The Crouching Lion Hike is divided into two routes. A short route and a long one.
Crouching Lion Short Hike
It’s a bit hard to find the trailhead. Because it is in the middle of a sign that says “Do Not Pass” and a telephone pole but not marked. You will see some bushes in front. If you get a few steps inside the bushes, you’ll start seeing the trail marks. It will be much easier if you find some other hiking groups there.
It’s a prevalent route that will take you to the viewpoint through the undergrowth. Being shorter than the other way, most of the hikers like to take this route. You’ll have to go left on the road that comes from Honolulu.
Crouching Lion Long Hike
The second route is a much longer hike. It is recommended that you park at Swanzy Beach Park. Then start walking toward Huamalani Road until you find the trailhead.
You may find some parts of the trail a bit difficult to follow. But there are plenty of ribbons to mark the trail way. It follows the ridge of Pu’u Manamana. The full route is known as the Kahakili-Manamana loop. Hikers need to spend 4-5 hours to complete their trekking here.
Keep in mind that the trail is not easy. It has claimed lives. Incredibly steep drop-offs make it a dangerous trail. So think twice and prepare yourself adequately before going out a hike on this trail.
The Hiking Trail
The Crouching Lion hiking trail takes off a steep incline from the start. You’ll break a sweat while climbing over the tree roots and going under the stooping branches. The trail will be more pronounced gradually as you move forward.
On the trail, you’ll get some sleeper parts due to dry crumbling dirt there. But, most of the trail is thick with vegetation that will help you much to stabilize yourself on the trek. Hiking shoes are always important before going out for a hike. Grab those hiking shoes for a good grip on the trail. Otherwise, you have the risk of falling.
Climb on the top of the first pillbox to see the full view of Kahana Bay. There you’ll see a giant “Aloha” in red, green, and orange painted by someone. It will take about 10 minutes to get to this point.
You’ll start exploring some smaller trails that will lead you to the cliff edge and rock formations. There are some hidden little caves on the cliffside. In this place, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of two places. On the left, you’ll see Kaaawabay. With Kahana bay on the right side.
You can venture to plenty of little caves and overhangs. But, you have to be careful with the rocks in this area. Because these are a bit crumbly. You should use extreme caution.
From the midst of rock formations, you will get a small clearing to overlook Kahana Bay. The name “Crouching Lion Hike” came from a rock formation that you’ll see from the right side. There, it appears to be a lion crouching down. Don’t stop your hiking there though.
Wait until you reach the more significant clearing. Once you are there, stop and enjoy the full view. It’s a fantastic view that you won’t forget.
Conditions of Hiking
Before going out for a Crouching Lion hike, know about the weather situation.
If you see rainy weather is on its way, put your hike off for a sunny day.
The trail becomes slippery and dangerous on rainy days. Moreover, you won’t have the same beautiful views on a cloudy day. So it is advised you avoid going for a Crouching Lions Hike on a rainy day.
Is Crouching Lion Hike Dangerous?
Generally speaking hiking on the Hawaiian island always has a certain level of danger.
Every year people die here on the islands. The main reason for deaths is flash floods that cause falling from the ridges. Some people also die due to hiking without proper preparation. The Crouching Lion hike is on the list of dangerous trails in Hawaii. Some see some fantastic photos on Instagram and decide to go for a hike there. But, no one should do this without having proper research about the spot.
Currently, the state authority closed this trail. So they are not currently maintaining the hike. You’re hiking at your own risk. If you are experienced in hiking, fit, and confident enough, then you can head to this trail. Otherwise, we would never recommend you to go there.
You can enjoy the first half of the trail with a good amount of safety. While still enjoying some beautiful views.
As we described above, we never recommend anyone hiking there on a rainy day. It becomes much slippery and muddy. It may fall you risk your life. Rather than enjoying scenic beauties. So be careful about planning when you hike on this trail.
The place is on the eastern side of Oahu. Which has a high amount of annual rainfall.
Many of the hiking trails issue a permission letter for hikers. The Crouching Lion hike is one of those trails. But, unfortunately, the authority of Hawaii has declared the track closed. So, you won’t be able to get permission from the administration. So, as mentioned above, you’ll be going there entirely at your own risk.
On The Way Up
The longer trail is strenuous at the start. It’s the initial part that is much steeper. You will be happy when you get past this part. You’ll also find some ropes here for help. The vertical incline is difficult for kids and seniors. Much easier for young adults.
After about 20 minutes, you will reach some of the most beautiful views of Kahana Bay. The vertical inclines end here. Moving forward you’ll enjoy more comfortable hiking.
If you feel scared of steep drop-offs or slipping down from the edge, you may stop your hike here.
At the end of the trail, you won’t find a better view. However, this part is much more dangerous. So move forward to the endpoint if you are confident enough.
You’ll get some pretty steep drop-offs in keep moving forward. Most of them are on one side. Move slowly and stay low.
The final third of the trail is pretty flat. You can move more easily there. But, at the end you’ll want to climb just a little more to reach the top.
Good luck reaching the top successfully. It is the most fantastic part of the Crouching Lion Hike. You’ll enjoy some breathtaking views on this trail. You can sit down there for a few minutes to enjoy the beauty. We can call this place dangerous beauty because it’s the most stunning point of the entire trail but most hazardous. You should stay low and move carefully as the wind is extreme here.
On The Way Down
You may choose any way to go up of the trail. But we will recommend you choose the short trail getting down. After getting up via the long route, you’ll be tired. So, it much safer to go a shorter route that doesn’t have any danger. You won’t see any steep parts in this way that make moving tricky. But it will take 20-25 minutes to reach your car.
Final Verdict on Crouching Lion Hike
Crouching Lion Hike is a beautiful hiking trail. You can enjoy a tremendous breathtaking journey here. But you have to be very careful on this trail.
As mentioned above, the trek becomes dangerous on wet days. So, find out a sunny day to enjoy the scenic beauty of this beautiful trail thoroughly.
You will never forget the memory of hiking in the Crouching Lion Hike.