Koko Crater Trail

MODERATE 354 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Koko Crater Trail is a 1.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

1.8 miles 1092 feet Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips




wild flowers


no dogs

A steep climb to the top of Koko Head Crater with spectacular views in every direction Koko Head Trail is one of those trails where you ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" 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. Turn left on Lunalilo Home Rd, then right on Anapalau St, which ends on Koko Head State Park Rd (this road can be accessed from Hwy 72, but is sometimes closed). Park in the lot and walk along the road to the trail, which is a 200 feet from the parking lot. The trail goes straight up the stairs midway up must cross trestle, which is dangerous if you misstep. This will get the heart pumping and is not for those with bad knees. Take WATER! and a camera! Great for training, lots of athletes use this for workouts, but the views of Koko Crater and surrounding area are spectacular. Crowded on weekends. Note there is another way up to the top via the ocean side ridge trail... past Hanauma Bay. The step-like walking track are the ties of an abandoned railway that runs along the crater's west side. This is one of the best trails leading to Puu Mai, the craters highest peak. The ties were for an incline tram used by the military during World War II, to transport personnel and supplies to a lookout post on the summit. Access to this trail starts at Koko Head Park in Hawaii Kai. The first part of the hike is over a newly landscaped hill behind Goeas Baseball Field to the bottom of the old rail track. Its an exhausting trip. But the real fun is still to come. Your next mission is a trek up the 1,000-plus steps to the top of Koko crater. The reward? A panoramic view of the east Honolulu shorelinenot to mention one heck of a workout. A note of caution: Parts of the decades-old railway trail are in disrepair, possibly unsafe and recommended for experienced hikers only. If you do go, prepare accordingly and proceed with caution. You'll find tips from The Division of State Parks for preparing for similar hikes here. 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 hiking shoes and take your time going up and down. You don't want to hurt yourself by slipping or having a heart attack.

3 seconds ago

31 minutes ago

I have done this one twice already. I had my husband and our 8 year old with me for the second time and our friends and their 2 kids age 11 and 6. The kids had to find some inner strength but they all made it up and back down with a few breaks. It was 90 degrees, sunny and not much breeze last time, which made the dirt dusty all over, we were covered in orange dust lol but nothing some baby wipes before lunch didn't cure! Take it slow on the way down and sidestep and wear good shoes and bring water!

18 hours ago

2 days ago

Good workout. Scenic climb. Did it in flip-flips, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend.

7 days ago

heavily trafficked...
Nice morning exercise

8 days ago

Great short hike straight up hill. Very gratifying experience hiking up the stairs. 360 degree views. Plenty of parking

9 days ago

10 days ago

Pretty damn fun trail to hike. My wife and I took our 10 year old daughter along. She had no problems getting up or down. Had a blast.

11 days ago

Koko head is a must do when you come to Oahu. I have done the stairs twice in the time I've lived here. It's not easy in my opinion but it is worth all the sweat it takes to get to the top. The view is incredible. I recommend going up before the sunrises.

My 13 year old beats me to the top but my 7 year old will not do it. If it has recently rained watch your step! It can be very slippery and people fall very easily.

rails trails
11 days ago

14 days ago

Make sure you bring GOOD hiking shoes with you on this one. It's the stair master on steroids and some of the wood can be slippery. I suggest going one hour before sunrise - it's not crowded and you don't have a flood of people coming down the other way.

14 days ago

One of my favorite stairs, anywhere. You get rewarded with some beautiful views at the top. Well worth the hike up to to top when visiting Hawaii. I plan to visit this hill at least once whenever I'm in Honolulu.
-EASY - NOT HARD. Do not believe what others are saying that it's difficult. If you plan to run up in 12-15 minutes (or go max efforts all the way up) then this can be a hard hill. But if you take it slow and make this a leisure hike because you're not a master of stairs and take breaks as you need along the way then this is an easy doable hike. My 4 and 7 year old girls did this hike with me with no issues.
-BRING LOTS OF WATER. At least 1 Liter per person. If you don't need that much you can dump them at the top before you come down. If you have children, please don't forget to bring some for them.
-YES IT'S CROWDED. It's a great place and it's popular so it's going to be a challenge to get a selfie without someone else being in your photo too but don't be discouraged by this. It just means there are many nice people to say hello to or even chat with along the way up or down.
-BRIDGE. There is a bridge section about 1/3 of the way up. There is probably a 10 foot drop to the bottom if you fall through between the wooden steps. Some people crawl on four points on the way up and scoot on their buttocks on the way down in this section. One of the days someone's dog fell down that section. IF you or your children gets scared of this section DO NOT cross it. Instead, look to to the RIGHT side of the track (looking up) and you will see a trail that circumvents this. For safety sake, take the trail. Don't worry you're creating erosion. The trail was created already.

ENJOY. HAVE FUN. TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS. Climb it back to back multiple times if possible and soon you will be the master of these stairs.

15 days ago

15 days ago


15 days ago

15 days ago

Not for the faint of heart! Definitely more of a work out than a leisurely hike, but totally worth it for the view up top and sense of accomplishment. Christmas tree was still up today. Yay for 2017!!

17 days ago

Great hike. Amazing view from
The top.

18 days ago

18 days ago

beautiful sunrise hike

19 days ago

Fun leg workout. Can't get lost on this trail! Great views from the top. Only complaint is the crowds. My daughter and I have done koko several times and it is always packed. This time was cool because some folks had lugged up a Christmas tree. Very merry.