Kaau Crater

HARD 96 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

trail running
1 day 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 ?

8 days ago

My favorite Oahu hike by far.

10 days 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).

11 days 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

18 days 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.

20 days 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.

30 days ago

1 month 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.

1 month ago

the best

2 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.

2 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!

2 months ago

difficult, muddy terrain but worth the hike!

2 months ago

Amazing jungle, waterfalls, ridge, crater and mountain peak

2 months ago

3 months ago

Amazing trail! This trail has everything you could want.
Most of the trail was muddy, waterfalls were gorgeous and make sure you leave early enough to make it back before dark. Wear good footwear, bring lots of water.
The trail was decently marked, although on the return there was a few moments I questioned myself.
Definitely not moderate! This trail will test you, but it's worth every step.

3 months ago

Dangerous! Tons of fun! Did it in the rain start to finish (yikes) a couple weeks ago just the loop portion not summit so a little short of a 5 mile hike. Wore my Virbram Spyridon shoes!Comfort is important!! Not a fast hiker but me and my friend took just under 5 hours to do it with probably a 5 minute break at the first waterfall and a 2 minute break after the third. Gorgeous!!! Different terrain, rope climbs, super muddy. Fell and slipped several times. You really need to focus and be cautious on this trail. Definitely NOT a beginner hike!! Felt super proud I accomplished it! Said I would never go back lol.

3 months ago

Definitely NOT a moderate trail! My friends and I aren't the fastest, but it took us almost 8 hours to do the entire loop (8:45am - 5:00pm). Would not recommend doing the whole hike if you're afraid of hikes or are not properly prepared (good hiking shoes, lots of water, etc). Turn around at the third and last waterfall if you need to.

Aside from that, probably some of the most breathtaking views on the island if it is clear out. It is a hike that should be done at least once in your life. Oh and make sure you bring bug spray.

3 months ago

Forecast rain. I figured its a moderate trail, i should be ok. Wrong. This trail was hard and potentially dangerous in places.

At first i was a bit disappointed. Following a pipeline was not so much fun. Then the first waterfall. Gorgeous. Now im happy. Then more waterfalls. :-) Going up the long one was easy because of my boot spikes. Wouldn't want to do this trail without them. As I reached 1700 feet, it was windy and the view was breathtaking. It was nearly vertical in the mud from there. I was glad for the ropes. Even the steel spikes were slipping. At the top 2440 ft, I couldn't see a thing. Clouds and wind. A lot of it. After the power lines, the trail forked. Left is the right way. Right is for another day. The descent was very dangerous. By that time (it's raining) water was running down the trail. Many potential places to get in serious trouble. No traction in most placed. Mud mud mud. Lots of soft and hard mud.
Just before i reached the road, I stopped to clean up in the river. I had thick mud up to my knees.
It was a hard trail. The view of the crater was very cool. I wish the clouds would have let out for a bit.

3 months ago

Slippery so be careful, gorgeous views though and an abundance of fruits and avocado along the way. One of my favorite Oahu hikes!

3 months ago

I did this hike on July 4th 2016 I started at about 6 15 am and it was my first time doing the hike and I really had no idea where to go or how it was going to work out. But the hike was amazing I really underestimated how difficult the trail was going to be once I got up to the crater and proceeded to hike the loop because the weather was terrible and it was raining and very windy and I have forgot my backpack at home so I had no food or water and I slipped multiple times which is really uncommon for me. but the views are amazing I unfortunately didn't get a chance to enjoy that privilege considering it was incredibly cloudy and visibility was new 0. I definitely got lost coming back down the back way. and I wasted a lot of time wondering what I should do or which direction I should go because I always go hiking by myself. I did the hike in about three and a half hours which from what I hear it's pretty fast especially considering I didn't know the trail at all end I didn't have NE resources available. you can watch my YouTube video of the experience. channel name. jmacmalcolm... then look for ka'au crater video.