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Koko Head Park, Hawaii, United States

Koko Head Crater Trail

A steep climb to the top of Koko Head Crater with spectacular views in every direction

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 (13 votes, 10 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 0.7 miles / 1.1 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
 
Overview: Koko Head Trail is one of those trails where you ask yourself, "Why am I doing this again?" I am not sure of the numbers of steps it takes to get up to the top but it's a lot. For the most part, the trail can be crowded later in the morning so it's best to go early. The people there range from the very fit to the "Sherpa Grandma/Grandpa." I saw kids and dogs doing this trail but don't let that fool you. You will be sweating and breathing deep about half way through.

The view from the top is breathtaking. You can, on a clear day, see all three Islands and the other side of Koko crater. There are plenty of places to hang out at the top but there were a lot of bugs when I was up there. The trail isn't very shady but there a few sections you can sneak a break.

Overall this isn't much a hike but a workout with a view at the end. Wear nice shoes (hiking shoes or Vibrams that grip) and take you're time going up and down. You don't want to hurt yourself by slipping or having a heart attack.

Afterwards I recommend getting some Shave Ice over at the shopping center. There's also a Jamba Juice or Teddy's Big Burgers. If you need a carb fix I suggest Boston's Pizza.


Tips: -There is a part of the trail where the tracks turn into a bridge with no bottom. I can be a bit scary/dangerous. There is a way around the bridge if you head to the right (shady section).
-Watch out for concrete parts of the trail. It gets covered in dirt and becomes more slippery.
-The road to the parking lot is usually closed from the Highway and you have to go through residential area (west side) to park.
-Go early when the suns not beating down on you.
-Take your time.
-Bring at least one water bottle.
-Wear a hat.
-Use sunscreen.
-Don't leave any valuables in the car or in plain sight of windows.

Points of Interest

Parking
map

Parking

Park in the parking lot near the baseball diamond and walk along the road towards Koko Head. Near home plate you will find a trail leading towards the stairs.
Junction
map

Start the climb

Begin the long climb up the stairs to the top of Koko head. Take your time and keep heading up.
Viewpoint
map

Koko Head Crater

You have reached the top! Turn around and look at the amazing view towards the beach and Honolulu.
Pictures in this guide taken by: chris, chris_bruno
Reviews
lavagal
What is really very important about this hike is that people actually know the name of it. This hike is Koko Crater. It is not Koko Head Crater Trail, but Koko Crater Trail. Koko Head is on the other side of Kalanianaole Highway, and that climb is above Hanauma Bay. Koko Crater and Koko Head are part of Koko Head District Park. If you want to do one climb or the other, you can park at the district park. Climb the hill and turn left to go up Koko Crater or turn right and climb Koko Head, after you cross the highway, which has a painted strip for pedestrians to cross. I live less than a mile from this park and both of these climbs that often have their names combined by people who do not do their research. Koko Crater is a very difficult climb and there are no facilities. Dogs have been known to die on this trail because there is no water on the way up nor at the top. Koko Head is a paved hike up to the point above Hanauma Bay. It is very hilly, and not that easy.
For more information on these two dormant volcanoes in my backyard, please visit http://lavagal.net/2014/10/27/you-just-climbed-koko-crater-not-koko-head-which-is-way-easier/.
Mahalo!

Visited on Nov 09, 2014

by lavagal on Nov 19, 2014
Starkel
This was an amazing experience that should be a part of everyones bucket list! This was much more challenging than I expected. Saw several families and people taking their small kids... All seemed to be happy and having a good time! Careful coming down! It is totally worth the view frpm the top!
Visited on Sep 07, 2013

by Starkel on Sep 08, 2013
cmanturuk
this is definitely a must do hike and invigorating workout! bring a camera for the views at the top. don't forget to apply sunscreen as you will be out in the sun for the entire trail.
Visited on Sep 02, 2013

by cmanturuk on Sep 05, 2013
bluegirl79
I recommend doing this early. Bring at least one bottle of water. If you have equalibrium or motion sickness issues be prepared with what ever you do to treat it. I didn't go prepared and my equalibrium issue bothered me. But I toughed it out and made it to the top. I don't recommend bringing kids. It's hard enough having to watch your own step and trying to find things to hang on to during the incline having a kid to worry about would be worse. I left my 12 and 14yr olds back at condo and I'm glad I did. This hike is sooooo worth it. Great workout and the most beautiful views. I cant wait to do it again. Watch your footing. The way down is worse than the hike up.
Visited on Jun 19, 2013

by bluegirl79 on Aug 29, 2013
jlbrown7892
This hike is deceivingly difficult. When you start you can clearly see the finish and it appears to be right in front of you. But before long you notice it is getting much close even and when you look back, you realize you have not gone very far either even though you heart rate and breathing have already picked up. Overall the view is worth the climb.
Visited on Jul 13, 2013

by jlbrown7892 on Jul 13, 2013
petersonmlp
Our family is into extreme adventures, and this one did not disappoint. Our 2 teenagers counted the steps. One counted 1000 and the other counted 1003. Everything was wonderful, except the gnats at the top. We listened to a local who said to duck down and that seemed to be better. The top was pretty crowded, but we are from a large city, so it did not bother us.
Visited on May 19, 2013

by petersonmlp on May 22, 2013
Polles
The place is nice to visit, no fear but you should have enough food :) Recommend this.
Visited on Jun 05, 2007

by Polles on Dec 07, 2012
JRLuker
Koko is a "no, no" for the week or weary.
This trail is really just a brutal set of steps going straight up the side of a crater. The “tracks” are heavily abused and can be crowded.
The view at sunset is spectacular as you can see diamond head/Honolulu from the ridge and in the same span look over your shoulder down the inside of the crater.

FYI…Going up is actually easier than going down (ouch-ie, my knees go crunch). However, if you plan ahead you can get back down the easier way if plan a lift from the botanical gardens on the northeast side of the crater.

Visited on Aug 13, 2012

by JRLuker on Aug 21, 2012
gregkthompson
I enjoyed this little hike when I first got stationed in Hawaii. It wasnt to bad and there were some awesome views.
Visited on Mar 01, 2010

by gregkthompson on Dec 16, 2011
Wads
This one is definately for those with some masochistic tendancies! The walk up is a very straight, steep, disused railway which never seems to end however the view from the top is truely awesome and with a bit of luck you will think the trip up worth it.

Take care on way down as it can get very tiring on the legs.

Don't do this hike in the heat or if your unfit.

Visited on Jul 20, 2011

by Wads on Aug 22, 2011

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chris
chris
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