CROUCHING LION HIKE ON OAHU, HAWAII
Crouching Lion Hike is a short but steep incline hike that offers breathtaking views of Kahana Bay, the quaint town of Kaaawa, and the menacing cliffs of Pu’u Manamana.
I’ve been wanting to do the Crouching Lion hike since I first moved to Oahu back in June of 2015. So when the opportunity arose to hike Crouching Lion and do outdoor yoga at the top, I jumped at the chance to cross another hike off of the bucket list. Crouching Lion mini hike is next to the Kamehameha highway to the right of the old (recently closed) Crouching Lion Inn before you come across the trout pond. We recommend parking in the Crouching Lion Inn’s parking lot, as parking at the Trout Pond often results in people getting towed.
The trailhead itself is located in between a ‘Do Not Pass’ sign and a telephone pole. It isn’t marked and looks like it’s heading straight into the bushes, but once you get a few steps into the bushes you can begin to see the markings of a trail. When we did this hike there were quite a few other small groups along the way which reassured us that we were headed in the right direction.
Right from the start, this hike takes off at a steep incline. You will definitely work up a sweat as you climb over gnarled tree roots, and duck under stooping branches. As you continue to climb, the trail becomes more and more pronounced. There are parts that are very slippery due to the dry crumbling dirt but for the most part, the thick vegetation helps to stabilize the trail.
Coming across the first pill box of the hike, we decided to climb atop and check out the view of Kahana Bay. On this pillbox someone has painted a giant red, orange, and green ‘Aloha’. Up here we rolled out our mats and did a few acro yoga poses while taking in the bright blue waters of Kahana Bay. After doing flying front birds, double downward dogs, and downward dog pyramids, we decided to roll up the mats and continue on.
The trail began to level out but the sharp shrubbery on either side of the trail prevented us from moving too quickly.
After a few minutes of walking we began to explore some of the smaller trails leading to the rock formations and the cliff edge. We made it a mission to investigate a lot of these and also found a few cool little caves hidden on the cliff side of the formations. This is where the trail came atop a wide ridge offering gorgeous views of both Kaaawa to the left and Kahana Bay to the right.
Here, there is an abundance of little caves and overhangs that you can venture to. The rocks in this area are a bit crumbly though so if you do decide to climb out,use EXTREME caution.
If you are up for an extreme hike check out my post on Kaau Crater Hike!
In the midst of all the rock formations we came to a small clearing overlooking Kahana Bay. This would be a fantastic spot for some yoga with a small group. We decided to keep on going to the next bigger clearing so that our whole group could fit.
Crouching Lion is named for a rock formation along the hike that from the right angle, looks like a lion laying down. This rock formation comes up on your left as you continue hiking towards the bigger clearing.
Once we reached the clearing we stopped and took in the entire view. Despite the overcast sky, it was beyond beautiful. We rolled out our light travel mats on the rocky ground and began the outdoor yoga session.
The idea of outdoor yoga along the Crouching Lion Trail sounded a lot more magical than it actually was. The wind in the clearings was strong which resulted in our mats constantly threatening to blow away despite the little piles of rocks we tried to weigh the corners of each mat down with. And the pebbly ground was easily disrupted by the strong gusts creating a blinding storm of gravel.
Not willing to give up on the dream of an outdoor yoga session on top of the cliffs, we trudged on through a few sun salutations and balancing poses before closing our practice with a few calming breaths and corpse pose. As we came back to awareness over our bodies and sat up on our mats the flurry of small flying stones died down and the sun shone through the clouds. We slowly packed up and looked towards the Crouching Lion rock formation, realizing the spot we chose for our yoga session was the perfect angle to look at the Crouching Lion that this stunning hike was named after.
While there is a longer loop variation of this hike, we decided to head back down the way we came.
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!