The pore-forming toxin cytolysin A (ClyA) is expressed as a large α-helical monomer that, upon interaction with membranes, undergoes a major conformational rearrangement into the protomer conformation, which then assembles into a cytolytic pore. Here, we investigate the folding kinetics of the ClyA monomer with single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer spectroscopy in combination with microfluidic mixing, stopped-flow circular dichroism experiments, and molecular simulations. The complex folding process occurs over a broad range of time scales, from hundreds of nanoseconds to minutes. The very slow formation of the native state occurs from a rapidly formed and highly collapsed intermediate with large helical content and nonnative topology. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest pronounced non-native interactions as the origin of the slow escape from this deep trap in the free-energy surface, and a variational enhanced path-sampling approach enables a glimpse of the folding process that is supported by the experimental data.