As my all-time favorite sunrise hike, this vantage point offers sweeping views of the lush landscape, state park mountains and glass-like pond. Once you reach the lookout spot, you'll understand that, although extremely photogenic, photos don't do this place justice. When the sun rises and hits the mountain, the colors start to glow and you'll be blown away by the ethereal experience of seeing it for yourself.
Wide-angle lens (16mm)
How to get there
N21° 33' 23.6628"W157° 51' 47.0988"
This image was taken at the top of the Crouching Lion Hike. Although you can continue to walk up the ridge, you'll know when you reach the "end" when you see this path leading down towards the mountain.
If you're coming from Honolulu, make sure to get on the H1 East Bound freeway and take the Pali Highway cut off. You'll then drive through a small town called Nu'uanu and hit the Pali Highway. You will go through some tunnels and come out near the Pali Lookout headed towards Kaneohe.
After reaching Kaneohe, make your way towards Kahekili Highway to Kamehameha Highway. You'll pass Valley of the Temples as well as Kualoa Ranch and Mokoli'i Island (China Man's Hat) as you make your way towards the start of the Crouching Lion Hike.
Once you've passed Makaua Village, you'll reach a bend leaning towards the left. After you make that turn you've reached the hike, the parking lot will be a dirt lot on the side of the road to the right. Pull over and find parking. Make sure to bring all your valuables with you as there are a few break-ins here ONLY if there's something worth taking in the car.
Park and then turn on your flashlights as it will be dark and head across the road till you see two signs. Once you see the two signs, you'll head in towards the forest and to the left. Then, you'll reach a small hill that leads up the mountain where you'll have to bend over and through some tree branches to continue onto the path.
From there, you should see the path that leads up the hike! It should take you about 25-30 minutes to climb up and once you're there, climb up to the first look out and you'll have a choice to either go left up another little mountain or right towards the main mountain. Veer right and continue to climb up. You'll pass a rock that looks like a Lion Head (hence where the hike name comes from), but can only be seen from the end of the hike where this photo was taken.
Be careful, as it can be very slippery and a few people have fallen on the trail here. Enter the bushes and follow the trail up the mountain. You'll pop out of the shrubbery and then you'll find your way to the spot where the photo was taken. This is the "end" of the trail for most people; however, if you want to keep going you can continue to hike up along the ridge which I highly suggest after sunrise here.
If you're lost while on the hike, remember that you can always reference the GPS coordinates to find your way to the spot where I stood to get this west facing image.
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