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Oahu's Puu Manamana Crouching Lion Trail. I hike it.


Although most Oahu residents know about the Crouching Lion landmark, most are unaware of the amazing hike that leads up to it. When opportunity knocked to hike the Puu Manamana Crouching Lion Trail recently, I couldn’t pass up the chance of seeing the lion and it’s vast valley below from a whole new perspective. 

A warning before you go: the Puu Manamana Trail is not a walk in the park. With a relentlessly steep elevation gain, the trail’s ascent and descent should only be attempted by seasoned hikers. The trail also traces some narrow ridges, with steep drops on either side.


The trail begins just north of the Crouching Lion Inn on Kamehameha Highway. The trail is rugged and uneven, so your sturdiest pair of hiking shoes is a must. The first part of the hike takes you through thick foliage. After about 30 minutes, we arrived at our first lookout point. From here, we could already enjoy a closer look at the Crouching Lion, and a panoramic view of the reefs that interweave through Kahana Bay.

After a break at the lookout we continued on. Steep inclines and switchbacks quickly brought us to the 400-foot elevation of the ridge. At some points, the trail even involved some rock climbing.

Though quite a workout, the hike has a worthy award at its end. The views from the Crouching Lion are absolutely breathtaking, and on a clear day, you can see all the way from Kaneohe Bay to the south to Laie Point further north. The hike to the Crouching Lion usually takes about 90 minutes, depending on your pace.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
We pick 4 great Oahu hiking trails (and tasty end-of-hike rewards)
Hawaii's new baby sea lion
“Best of Hawaii” 2010: Our readers' favorite Hawaii hiking trails

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