Ka'au Crater is a 7.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 7.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,211 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

scramble

no dogs

This site is open to the public although it is on privately owned land. This hike is challenging and can be slippery and dangerous. If you don't know how to navigate in the outdoors you should consider another trail that is well-marked OR hike the trail in a counter-clockwise route as far as the waterfall and return the way you came. This is an amazing hike with three waterfalls and gorgeous views of Honolulu, Kaneohe, Kailua, Diamond Head, and Ka'au Crater. This hike is not too challenging until the 3rd waterfall which you climb up to get to the ridge portion of the hike. This is where it got extremely muddy and a bit dangerous. The view from the top of the ridge is incredible! Pack more food and water than you think you'd need, it's very steep and tiring. The trailhead is cleverly hidden behind the mailboxes on left of the road at the end of Waiomao Road which is a right turn off of 10th Street. You will see the hand lettered sign on the tree behind the mailboxes and the trail starts DOWN from there.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
washed out
2 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
scramble
5 days ago

If you want to see waterfalls and 360 views this is the hike for you. Top 3 hardest hikes on the island. If you do the whole loop , climb up the 3rd water fall the alternate route is scaling the muddy mountain and it takes you a longer route. Took 5 hours with 30 min stop at the 1st waterfall (worth it) and several pit stops along the way.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
5 days ago

no shade
scramble
6 days ago

Did this for the second time the other day. If I were to reccommend one hike on the island to a tourist with average fitness level, it would be this one. The trail was way less windy this time, making the ascent very smooth. The back side was pretty muddy, but nothing to worry about if you have spikes. IF YOU HAVE SPIKES, BRING THEM.

hiking
9 days ago

One of the best hikes ever! This is not an easy hike... We took 7 hours to complete! Loved it.

hiking
bugs
muddy
scramble
9 days ago

We started this hike today while it was sunny and beautiful but just as we were about to start climbing the 3rd waterfall, it started to absolutely POUR. And the rain didn’t stop for about an hour. This severely affected the conditions on the trail. It took us 7 1/2 hours to complete the entire hike (and we are avid hikers) due to the muddy conditions. I was wearing hiking boots and spikes and it was still incredibly difficult to avoid slipping in some areas. The ropes (that you heavily rely on at some points on the trail) were covered in mud and became very slippery. The rain definitely created some dangerous situations on the ridge part of the trail. I could absolutely see someone slipping and falling to their death in some places on the ridge trail. But if you are a very careful hiker that knows where and how to step, you will be alright. The moral of the story is: regardless of the weather conditions at the beginning of the hike, prepare for rainy and muddy trail conditions. This is an amazing and unique hike that I would absolutely do again!! Just a note: Our watches showed that we hiked 9 miles including a short walk to our car off of the trailhead. So bring enough water and snacks for 9 miles just to be on the safe side!

hiking
muddy
10 days ago

Difficult hike but amazing views. It’s takes a while so start early, bring plenty of water, a change of cloths and some food. You may want to wear pants and gloves and good hike boots if you have them. Lots of slippery ridges to climb and there’s not always a rope.

hiking
10 days ago

Was super muddy and it rained therefore it was scary as hell

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
11 days ago

Really tough trail! I’ve been working on hiking more difficult trails in Hawaii and this one was no joke. There were points where I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to climb up a section, lots of dangerous drop offs, and with the waterfall flowing zig zagging up the third one was scary and no easy feat. All that aside (to weed out the faint of heart), it was breathtaking! The rain forest, the amazing waterfalls, and the trip around the rim of the crater. I felt so strong and accomplished and took in all the best sights of Hawaii. Will probably do it again, but not for awhile. It definitely took it out of me

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
11 days ago

Hardest trail I’ve ever done, but worth it. Difficult hike and not for people just taking an afternoon to spruce their Instagram.

hiking
muddy
13 days ago

Waterfalls were awesome with cool ascents. The crater was cool but super sketchy...super slick on the back end. Overall, loved it!!! Even though I am completely covered with mud!!

hiking
no shade
13 days ago

Waterfalls were miniature, but gorgeous. Could sit and enjoy them all day. Beyond the waterfalls, the climb to the peak was pretty ordinary, with one difficult, sizable span of steep lunging. The view at the top was classic Ko’olau, from Honolulu to Kbay. The view of the crater was just aight. Wear pants

hiking
14 days ago

Awesome hike! When I went Saturday I saw plenty of people getting lost although I felt the trail was pretty easy to follow. Once you scale the last waterfall you can either loop back or head up the ridge for the real view and loop back down from the summit. Can be muddy, microspikes can be handy to have on various points of the hike. At minimum please wear proper hiking footwear though. Bring plenty of water for this one. Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @mike.karas for info about the hike. I’ve done most of the hikes on the island before. Also please pack out your trash! Too many litterbugs on the island sadly. Mahalo!

hiking
14 days ago

Hands-down one of the best hikes on the island; completed multiple times. One of my favorite hikes EVER, and I reminisce about it all the time 7 years later. I would not recommend attempting this by yourself (like I did) or in the rain, as it can make sections very dangerous. You're going to be pulling yourself up a waterfall with a rope and then you're in for a good calf burn after that -- and more ropes -- 100% worth it. One feature I LOVE about this hike is actually the entrance where you're descending straight down this pitch-black rabbit-hole and magically emerge in another world at the bottom.

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
15 days ago

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