216 ft / 66 m
2 / 10
Crouching Lion is our personal favorite hike on Oahu, Hawaii. Located in Ka'a'awa (Ka-a-a-va), this hike is in one of the more remote areas of the island. There is a fairly obvious parking lot on the bay side of the road. The trailhead starts on the other side of the road a little bit further north of the parking lot. If you find a sign that says somethign along the lines of "This is definitely not a trail," that means you definitely found the trailhead. The first part of the trail isn't terribly difficult. There are ropes that help you get up steeper sections, and you may need to use those depending on trail conditions.
Most people stop at the first (and worst) viewpoint, but the real juice is another mile up the trail. The first viewpoint veers off to the left after you break through the tree line. However, after checking out the first viewpoint, go to the right and scramble up some rocks to the viewpoint you see in a lot of these photos. The view is surreal, overlooking the bay. Additionally, If you make it to this point to catch sunrise, prepare to have your mind blown.
If that's not enough for you, continue on to the top of the ridge line. Im not going to say it gets better, but its a very close second. Take it far enough and you can get an almost 360 panoramic view of the entire island. Contextually to the rest of the island, this hike is really not as sketchy as it looks in photos. The opposite could probably be said for the majority of other hikes on the island, but if you take your time you can easily make it to the top.
This hike can get kind of crowded around the middle of the day, so it is HIGHLY recommended to wake up early and get there early. If you get there before 9am you should be fine, however as I said before, GO FOR SUNRISE. You will not be disappointed. If you're gonna wake up early anyway, you might as well get up another hour or two earlier and catch the fireworks. The lighting during and just after sunrise is flawless and will make you wanna quit your day job.
There are however a couple downsides to this hike. Being on a remote edge of the island means that most people, who are staying in more populated areas, will have a bit of a drive to get there, making it just that much harder to wake up early. Secondly, the parking lot is notorious for people breaking windows and stealing all your stuff while you're on the hike. So can't stress this enough, but lock your car, keep valuables out of site, and (if you can) don't drive an obviously touristy (haole) car. You will for sure be targeted.
Car Theft Possible
Lock your car and keep valuables out of sight
Do not stop after first viewpoint, it gets 5x better.