Koko Head Crater Trail

HARD 1393 reviews

Koko Head Crater Trail is a 2.9 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
2.9 km
ELEVATION GAIN
302 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

no dogs

This is a steep climb to the top of Koko Head Crater with spectacular panoramic views of the east Honolulu shoreline. The 1000 plus step-like walking track consists of abandoned railroad ties that run along the crater's west side to the top of Koko Crater. The military used them previously during World War II as part of an incline tram to transport supplies to a lookout post at the summit. A short drive from Diamond Head and Waikiki, this popular hiking trail can be accessed at Koko Head Park in Hawaii Kai. This is a great workout with a beautiful view at the summit - don't forget to bring water! Visitors might also be interested in the Koko Crater Botanical Garden at the top of the crater.

8 hours ago

HARD but worth it. Don't go unless you are in decent shape. Bring lots of water as there isn't any at the top.

hiking
2 days ago

Moderately difficult trail. Managed to do it with a 60lb Ruck and my plate carrier. Was a long journey to the top but was well worth the view

hiking
7 days ago

Awesome view, great workout. I saw like 50 people eat it so be careful. It’s pretty dang steep—but doable

hiking
no shade
9 days ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
10 days ago

This hike was what everyone said it would be - intense, hot once the sun is high, steep, pretty rough terrain, definitely a challenge. Definitely go as early as you can - I arrived around 8 (expect traffic!) and it was a great time to go up (I wouldn't go any later than that though). There were a few other hikers on the trail but it wasn't overcrowded, and it was pretty cool (temp.) until you work up a sweat. It took me 45 minutes to hike up, which seemed to be about the average time it took people, but it's not too bad as long as you take it easy and don't rush or push yourself. The wooden steps are old but as long as you're watching where you step you'll be fine. 100% recommend the bypass trail when you get to the bridge. I wouldn't describe myself as afraid of heights but I couldn't cross the bridge, especially on the way down when your legs are shaky. Bring snacks and enough water for the top and check out all the spots at the peak - the views are incredible and unlike anything else I saw on Oahu. It was super windy at the top when I got there so a great place to cool down. Going down was much easier for me, though others told me they found that a bit more nerve-wracking because it felt more unstable. I took my time going down and I still managed to get to the bottom much quicker than going up. It also was getting a little hot on the way down - going up any later would have been way too hot for such a trek. The other benefit to going earlier: on the way down there were more families (I even saw a couple of 4 year olds?!) that were harder to manoeuvre around and some obnoxious people playing music on loudspeakers. Please, don't be that person. Trails are for hiking, not for raves. I also saw some insanely fit people either running up/down or doing the trail 3 times in a row!

no shade
scramble
12 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

Hot so go early. It’s a very steep hike. If you are willing to take your time, the view is worth it. Bring lots of water and sunscreen.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful view! Be careful going up & down. Some parts are slippery due to dirt & loose gravel.

hiking
no shade
washed out
14 days ago

Do you love stairs, but get bored with uniformity? Then this is the trail for you! Straightforward enough, you are climbing directly up a very run down rail system with uneven and dusty wooden rungs that are in various stages of disarray. Pro's: zero chance of getting lost, 360 views at the top, some light breezes to cool you on your trek. Cons: slippery (dusty) at times, tough on short legs, minimal shade, 1170 ish feet elevation gain in 0.54 miles. Summary: quick hike (1 hour 30 mins with rest breaks going up and at the top). Pretty views of the east side of Oahu. Paired well with a morning snorkel at Hanamana Bay. Would not recommend for kids or in rainy conditions. A decent cardio and leg workout in short amount of time.

hiking
15 days ago

I did it! Proud of myself. I have run a few 5k’s but hills always get me. I had to stop multiple times. Finished my water and should’ve brought more. Worth the effort. Harder on the way down. Very slippery in some parts. Stepped aside a bunch of times as some people were basically running down it. Some crazy dude ran it carrying a cinder block. It takes all kinds!

hiking
no shade
16 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

So...first I was NOT prepared. I have visited many trails on the island but I saved this trail until my boyfriend came to the island. So today we decided to tackle what we believed was stairs on a train track to the top of a beautiful view...um....it’s kind of like that but extremely uneven, there are parts where there is nothing under the track (yes you can fall through) and basically just a big ass difficult mess lol! let’s start with preparation


I didn’t prepare lol! I literally didn’t drink enough water the day before, nor earlier this morning prior to the hike. My advice...drink a lot of water before you begin and eat something, and take water and also take some snacks!!! You’ve been warned.

***i fainted on the trail. Literally! I got light headed...then I sat down...then I got light headed again, lost all feeling in my body they laid me down and I passed out. I thought I was dying a slow calm death but I tried to focus on something so I wouldn’t lose all consciousness. Although everything went black and my body gave out, I did not die and I came to after people stopped to help us by giving me ice cold water which they spilled all over me and Powerade. This happened about 2/3rds of the way up. I stopped about 4 more times on the way up because that dizzy feeling came back and I did not want to faint again.


Once I got to the top i was blessed with gold fish and trail mix from people who saw me almost die earlier!!! Yay for good humans!!! The views were worth every difficult step.


The way down was a piece of cake! Took about 12 to 15 mins to get down. With all the stopping and fainting and dizziness and so on the way up, it took me an hour and then we chilled at the top for about 30 mins.


This trail is considered hard...but it is mind over matter and you can do it! Slow and steady is my advice! A little preparation is needed and bring a friend!


Kick ass out there!

You got this!

24 days ago

Be ready to sweat a little bit... hike is extremely fun and the views from the top are so worth it. Definitely would recommend and also bring water with you.
As well, dont be that person who sits down on the middle of the tracks to take a break. Makes it that much harder for everyone else. Move off to the side and let people pass

hiking
24 days ago

You are mainly walking up a used train track and it’s a straight shot to the top. It’s a steep climb so be prepared to burn your thighs. No winding turns, not a real challenge other than making sure you don’t stumble on the tracks. Only good thing is the view at the top.

hiking
no shade
25 days ago

Intense hike up with spectacular views at the top! Lots of people on the trail so be mindful. The hike down is slippery and more difficult then going up. Definitely worth doing this hike!!

hiking
28 days ago

I'm not in the greatest shape so this was by far the hardest physical challenge I've ever done. The view is well worth it. Take all the breaks you need. Trust me, I took 50!

hiking
30 days ago

We’ve done this hike twice, and it didn’t get any easier the second time. It’s very hard, but SO worth it. The views from the top are spectacular. Take lots of water and take your time going up. It’s not a race! I refuse to go over the scary “bridge” about halfway up, so I go around to the path through the bushes to bypass it. Love this hike!

hiking
30 days ago

Talk about working on that Kim K booty! Phew, feel the burn!!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

This is definitely a “difficult” hike due to the steepness of the trail. Most of the trail is on the abandon rail line up to the summit. For about 20 or so feet, there is a 8-10 foot open drop below the trail/bridge. If you stay to the right on the way up and keep looking ahead, it will not be an issue. Two thirds of the way up, it gets increasingly steep leaving you sweating and breathing very heavily.... After you reach the top of the tracks, stay to the right to climb to the peak. A tough climb but you will be rewarded by amazing 360 degree views from the top.

We hiked it in the late afternoon - a moderate crowd of hikers were going both up and down. We were able to catch the beginning of the sunset as we worked our way down the rail/trail.

1 month ago

The trail was nice! So worth it. Did not like dogs on the trail even though it says no dogs.

1 month ago

My Husband and I took our kids (10 and 12) this morning for a sunrise hike. We parked in the residential area as the park gates don’t open until 6:30am. We were walking toward the trail head by 5:30am. My kids were surprised by the number of cats that hangout in the park at that time of the morning. We probably saw 10 , I assume feral, cats. The hike was tough but had only one sketchy section where the track was above a 8-10 foot open area. We were all sweating buckets and were great-full for the cool morning air. The trail wasn’t too busy at this time will maybe 10 other people at the top. We took some pictures, enjoyed the view, then headed down to beat the crowds now coming up.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

This is HARD. I wanted to die within about 20 minutes. Do this trail EARLY in the morning or as the sun sets. The view is so worth it and you’ll be proud of yourself for finishing.

hiking
1 month ago

Very busy on a Tuesday afternoon around 2pm. Second time doing this hike, and it was more crowded than i remember. The shooting range nearby was also very active, which was giving my companions some added heights anxiety. Not sure a better time of day to go when it might be calmed down. Views worth it though!

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Overcrowded. Views wasn’t worth it to me. I love the challenge though.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery, but the overcrowding of the hike makes it more dangerous than it has to be. Also, the steep and awkward decline can be painful on the knees.

hiking
1 month ago

Tough hike. Pace yourself.

hiking
1 month ago

Stopped about ten times on the steep stairs up! Amazing hike ! Way easier on way down

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Was a great hike with my daughters, 18 and 14. Was no problem for them. It was a unique trail hiking on steep railroad ties! Definitely recommend! Great views!

hiking
1 month ago

Climb was worth the panoramic view. Less crowded than Diamond Head. Definitely do it again. Overcast and good breeze made it that much more enjoyable climb.

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