When most arrive on Kauai, the beach almost instantly claims their hearts. However, the longer one stays on-island the mountains subtly begin to take hold. Many of Kauai’s iconic mountain ranges are easily accessible for hiking, others quite formidable and best experienced by helicopter tour.
Mount Haupu aka Black Mountain
Framing the south shore is iconic Mount Haupu (aka “Black Mountain” to those that live on-island), the apex of a long East-West ridge that divides Poipu from Lihue. The 2,297-foot summit is quite rugged with steep cliffs and dense vegetation and seemingly no public access trails to the top.
Mount Haupu viewed from the entrance of Omao Ranch Lands #2
Known as the weather gauge of the south shore, one can predict the incoming weather 15 minutes before it hits Kalaheo. If the top 1/3 of the mountain is covered in clouds and/or a rainbow is nearby, expect rain soon. If it’s nothing but blue skies on top, it’s going to be a sunny day.
Other well-known peaks are Kahili and Laauhihaihai. Both are hikeable with the trailhead beginning at Kahili Mountain Park, which is located within 15 minutes of driving off of Kaumualii Highway. The trail is fairly moderate to Laauhihaihai, but gets progressively more difficult onwards towards Kahili.
Quoting another blog, “the last quarter mile to the summit is a spicy bushwhack up extremely steep slopes.” (How great is that imagery?) The trail elevation is roughly 1,700 feet and 5.5 miles round trip. Also, located at the mountain park are rustic cabins available for rent.
Nounou “Sleeping Giant” Mountain
On clear visibility days and from certain vantage points, even the famous Nounou “Sleeping Giant” Mountain on Kauai’s east side can be seen. Depending on what trailhead is the point of origin (there are 3 trailheads: Kuamoo Road, Kamalu Road, and Haleilio Road), the hike is less than a 2-mile hike each way. The trail steadily climbs nearly 1,000 feet through forest to the mountain peak, ending at a sheltered picnic area and lookout point to view the Wailua River, Mount Waialeale, and the Pacific Ocean.
Me after reaching the top of Sleeping Giant
Want to Call Kauai’s South Shore Home?
Perfectly situated to take full advantage of the south shore mountain ridgeline is the Omao Ranch Lands #2 estate. This ranch-style estate located on 26+ elevated acres boasts sprawling ocean, mountain, and valley views. With five suites and six bathrooms, each suite is complete with a sitting area, spa-styled shower and bath, walk-in closet, and a private lanai.
View from the infinity-edged lap pool at 4825-P Koloa Road, HI. 96756 | (MLS# 279307)
Outdoor features include a 12-ft hot tub, infinity-edged lap pool, outdoor kitchen, flowering gardens, waterfall features, lanai, outdoor living and dining areas, fire pits, pasture lands, a natural flowing stream and valley on the back side of the estate with stocked fish ponds, gazebos, docks and landscape nursery.
From mornings spent watching the sun rise over the eastern mountains to evenings spent viewing the colorful western sunset splendor, this Omao ranch estate on Kauai’s south shore offers copious opportunities for one to interact with nature in every direction.