Crouching Lion is an interesting hike. I did a couple of hours of research on this and still couldn’t find all the details about it. Some sites talked about this trail taking 4–5 hours to complete, but I finally realized that they were not talking about Crouching Lion itself, but rather a couple of the other trails that hike the ridge above it, such as the Pu’u Manamana Trail or the Kahekili Trail from the other side.
Once I was finally able to find some good beta, it was clear that this was a short, simple hike with some great views from the top. The total round trip that I tracked was just over half a mile, and that included my short jaunt up the ridge a little further to get a different vantage point for some photos. It took us a little over an hour, with about 30 minutes of that hour spent on top.
I grade this trail as moderate, simply because the steepness is a little bit tricky. The trail is mostly shaded until you get to the top of the ridge, but then it opens up to some great views of Kahana Bay and Ka’a’awa!
From the south, take highway 83 north towards Laie. About 12 miles from Kaneohe, the highway will turn sharply to the west to go around Kahana Bay. You will see a long, wide parking area on the ocean-side of the highway for the trailheads on the opposite side of the highway.
From the north, take highway 83 south along the coast towards Kaneohe for about 8 miles. At about mile 7.5, the highway will turn sharply to the west to go around Kahana Bay. Once you get to the southern side of the bay, you will see a long, wide parking area on the ocean-side of the highway for the trailheads on the opposite side of the highway.
Google Maps will also navigate you directly to the trailhead if you search for “Crouching Lion Trailhead (Puʻu Manamana)”.
Park on the ocean side of the road, in a wide and long pullout for this purpose. Walk about 50 yards along the highway south to get to the trailhead.
Trail Map and Review
This hike is fairly steep, and it is a tough climb to get to the top of the ridge. That said, we met some people from Boston who were on their first hike in Hawaii and their first hike outside of Boston, and they did just fine. On our way down, I also saw a family from Oahu starting the hike, and the dad was wearing slides. Bottom line is, if you are willing to take it slow, then the steepness is not a real issue.
The trail is well-worn and easy to follow, but is covered in areas with some loose dirt, making traction a bit of a challenge. There are a couple of sections where ropes have been installed to assist hikers in ascending and descending.
We ran into a few others hiking groups, but overall the trail was not too busy. The views from the top were totally worth the effort to climb up!
Coming back down was slow, because of how steep the trail is. After doing the Koko Head Crater Tramway a couple of days earlier, my legs were not too happy with me when all was said and done.
This trail didn’t require much in terms of gear. Here is what we had with us.
- Northend Pack, 10L
- 2x 1 L Nalgene, widemouth water bottles
- Jackery 10000 mAh battery
- Outdoor Research Zip Sack, small