Kaau Crater

HARD 105 reviews

Kaau Crater is a 4.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Honolulu, HI that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November.

4.5 miles 2209 feet Loop



nature trips

rock climbing






wild flowers




old growth

over grown



This is an amazing hike with three waterfalls and gorgeous views of Honolulu, Kaneohe, Kailua, Diamond Head, and Ka'au Crater

9 days ago

13 days ago

14 days ago

Great hike, went prepared for 5 hours to do the entire loop. At the top of the rim ridge trail got hit with high winds and rain so hunkered down for :30, the trail got real snotty and I'm sure I would have looked hilarious if others could have seen me on my butt inching down to the saddle between the two highest rim peaks. So needless to say I was dead tired when I got back to trail head. Zero people on the trail today but it was truly beautiful. Head to toe mud probably would do again if I find an "expert that needs to be humbled"!! 4:50


22 days ago

Perfect but high level emotional! Really good to change your mind about your fears.

26 days ago

26 days ago

Wow this hike is amazing, muddy and challenging!

Starting in the wet muddy Palolo valley rainforest, you follow a stream until you scale 3 beautiful waterfalls (third being the longest). Once you reach the top of the third waterfall you have made it to the bottom of the crater. You can go right or left at this point, I would recommend right if you are going to complete the crater rim. Once you hike to peak/ridge you can see almost everything from koko head to ewa, Waimanalo to kaaawa (on a clear day).

I would advise checking the weather before starting this hike and bringing atleast two waters.

This hike took me 3.5 hours for the full loop and going back down the waterfalls.

1 month ago

Good hike! After the waterfalls was hard, I climbed up about 12 noon. The sun is up, it's difficult to climb when it's hot! Make sure you bring hat or hike early. The last 1.5hrs is downhill and muddy! Be careful going down. I had help with guava trees. The hike took me almost 4.5hrs.

1 month ago

This trail broke me.

1 month ago

It was awesome! The best hike I've ever did !

trail running
1 month ago

hey everyone in Honolulu for afew day as just came from maui doing xterra worlds. is there any keen runners wanting to join me tomorrow to blast this run out ?

1 month ago

My favorite Oahu hike by far.

1 month ago

This one was long and difficult but definitely one of the most thrilling hikes I've been on. It's muddy (and quite slippery) almost the whole way through and involves a good amount of rope climbing.

The three waterfalls are all amazing and relatively close to each other. Many people turn back after the first or third waterfall because the crater is quite a ways up from them.

If you're planning on the whole loop, I'd recommend setting aside 6 hours, at least 2 liters of water and good hiking shoes. Also, I'm really attractive to mosquitoes so I used bug spray and still ended up with well over 40 bites (still completely worth it).

1 month ago

Hey Guys,
I'm planning to do this hike in the next few weeks. This will be the first time for me to hike it. So I'm looking for someone else who wanna do this with me.
Would be a please to meet u guys.

Just contact me via Email chrishike8@gmail.com

2 months ago

Simply amazing! Everything you could ask for - little bit of adventure, danger, sweat, rock climbing, slipping, falling, waterfalls, crater, views, never get bored.
Terrain is VERY muddy, no way around it. Don't avoid it in the beginning just embrace it. 95% of the hike is mud.
Bring bug spray.
I brought 3 liters of water and it wasn't enough...
5-6 hours full hike.

2 months ago

Let's set the record straight – unless you are a professional rockclimber, this is not a "moderate" hike. We are experienced hikers and found this to be challenging. It was extremely buddy – we have no problem with that, but let's just admit, this makes it pretty challenging. If you want to do the full trail, you will be climbing ropes like it is your job. The third waterfall involves you scaling directly up the waterfall via multiple ropes. (I if you are a kind heart hiker, and think of it, bring a rope, and tie it off somewhere useful. I think this is the way that the trail is actually maintained by fellow hikers. And there is one in particular that is fraying right now and could use some love.)

Bring a lot of water. No question about it. We did the full loop, and it took us six hours.

We went to the right – I recommend that you do it this direction too. I think it would be sub-optimal to descend the waterfalls rather than climb them.

If you get hungry, here is a helpful tip: eat the berries! The red ones. They are strawberry guava, they are plentiful, and they will probably be smashed on the ground everywhere – and you can eat them, they're totally edible and they are totally yummy and thirst quenching too.

Also, I will comment that I was wearing my barefoot running shoes, and this was actually an asset. My shoes, I realized, are similar to rock climbing shoes, and this came in handy as I was scaling the rock surface in particular of the third waterfall. If you have shoes with massive platforms or treads, you will not feel the ground beneath you as readily and it may actually hinder your passage.

2 months ago

2 months ago

This is an amazing hike. I have done it twice once going to the left around the crater and once going to the right. I recommend going right around the crater. the 3 water falls are beautiful and the crater offers great views.

3 months ago

the best

3 months ago

Didn't make it all the way up to the crater as I got a late start but the waterfalls were awesome. The first one is just off to the right of the trail and you can swim in it, although it's not that deep. The second water fall is also amazing and the trail climbs up next to it. The trail isn't that well marked initially as you cross back and forth across the stream but once you're past that you pretty much follow the metal water lines.

3 months ago

Awesome island hike experience. The flora is incredible, the views of the city after you pass the third waterfall are incredible. Thanks to other hikers that took the time to strategically place ropes we were able to make it to the highest point of the hike. The trail is marked with pink and orange ribbons. As long as you follow the pipeline you should be able to make it to the 3rd waterfall without a problem. Things to know: there are A LOT of mosquitos so be prepared. Park on the street, the entrance is next to the mailboxes at the top of the road. Bring lots of water and snacks. Recommend to bring it inside a back pack. It can easily take 6-8 + to complete. Hiking poles were very little help. If you bring them make sure you can clip them to your bag as you will need both hands many times during this hike. Don't recommend for kids unless they are experienced
The hike to the falls is moderate with several hard areas. However, it is HARD all the way if you plan to complete the entire loop. Ropes help but it is still very demanding and scary at times.
I loved it!! It's a must do. You will get muddy!