Ka'au Crater [PRIVATE PROPERTY]

HARD 598 reviews
#9 of 11 trails in

Ka'au Crater [PRIVATE PROPERTY] is a 5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rock climbing and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,020 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

rock climbing

forest

views

waterfall

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

scramble

private property

no dogs

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. Get out of your little car and you will see the hand lettered sign on the tree behind the mailboxes. The trail starts DOWN into the streambed / rain forest.

3 days ago

Better to be over prepared.
Great hike

7 days ago

Would anyone be interested in hiking this with me? Here until the 11th and could use a trail partner for this specific outing. richardhandley@live.com

10 days ago

With the amount of foot traffic, there should be some erosion prevention measures taken at the east rim side and also the section coming down to the HECO frames. Proper steps should be installed to prevent further erosion . Hikers should give this place and other fav hikes like Moanalua to Haiku and Koko Crater Stairs a break so that erosion preventive maintenance can take place.

11 days ago

definitely lots of mud, it helps a lot to have spikes. lots of roots, be careful with your footing, you can easily twist an ankle if you dont pay attention. watch for dog poop. you will cross a few streams. my first time, we only went to the second waterfall. it's only 5 minutes from the 1st to the 2nd waterfall, so pls continue. not much water flowing today since not much rain last night. and yes, dont forget to bring snacks!

hiking
18 days ago

I started at 0630 solo and didn't see a soul until I had started down from atop the crater and I was not short for sunshine for most all of the hike (except looking over the mountain to the east). LOTS of mud, LOTS of roots, and LOTS of rocks (and as the previous posts state, this was from the start). Once you get to the first waterfall they all come in quick succession. Try not to be in a big hurry and enjoy them.

hiking
22 days ago

Beautiful hike, mid November the waterfalls are roaring, the trail is also incredibly muddy but it’s definitely worth it. Fun trail, difficult climbing and not an easy trail to follow. The ropes felt more secure than on certain other trails on the island, but that doesn’t mean much. Definitely recommend this hike!

27 days ago

My favorite hike but a challenging hike. Anywhere from a 3 to 6 hr adventure depending how many waterfalls you cross. Most will do all 3 waterfalls but not the ascending ridge to the summit. The ridge should only to taken on drier days because the last 1/4 mile is dirt and becomes muddy on the wetter days and at the most 3ft. wide with steep cliff on both sides dropping down as far as 200ft. (2 women has fallen to their deaths within the last 5years) So be careful.

If this will be your first time on this trial you should be accompanied by an experienced hiker of this trail. Have at least a liter of water per person and some snacks because it will be awhile before you encounter civilization again. You will be utilizing every muscle in your body on this trail so be physically and mentally prepared.

Safe journeys to all.

29 days ago

amazing hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Wow! This trail is awesome. Dress to get wet. Bring about a camelback’s worth of water. Bring some high calorie snacks. Don’t wear shoes you don’t want saturated in rich brown mud. There are parts of the trail that made me wish I had cleats on my shoes. The lower part of the hike can be pretty hot, but the peaks are relatively cool because of the breeze. If it is overcast or raining then it will feel great, but the mud will be even slicker. Kids can make it to the waterfalls, but they would have to be pretty touch to complete the rest. Safe travels!

1 month ago

Just climb up from the base of the third waterfall, cross it a couple of times, and you will come to the crater rim.

1 month ago

Hiked it counter clockwise and got to the base of the third waterfall lost the trail from here and had to turn back the way we came. This trail is beautiful and quite rewarding, but is very wet, muddy, slow going, and can be VERY dangerous. Pack lots of water and snacks and start early. DO NOT hike this one alone.

hiking
1 month ago

Live here and a well experienced hiker

Simple tips:
- Research before going on this hike.
- Or go with someone that has done it before.
- Know the short loop back; so you don’t have to back track down the 3 waterfalls again (this is if you’re not doing the whole crater)

This is NOT a maintained trail. Be safe

1 month ago

Extremely muddy and super long.. not as rewarding as other hikes in Hawaii.

hiking
2 months ago

awesome hike. incredibly muddy and much harder going back down than coming up. trying not to slide all the way down was difficult.

2 months ago

Great but very dangerous yesterday due to weather conditions!

We went yesterday and although it was sunny in Waikiki it was raining on the trail. At first very very light rain barely perceptible, but as we hiked the rain got heavier. By the time we made it to the third waterfall it was pouring to the point of not being able to open ones eyes, and the waterflow was very powerful. We had trouble crossing the waterfall at the top due to the heavy rain and waterflow, but ultimately was helped across by another hiker who happened to be from the airforce. On our way back we had help from two marines who brought their own rope to cross the stream which was like a floodzone at this point.

Tl;dr if it’s raining heavily, turn back. In those conditions I would not recommend hiking this trail as the route up the waterfall and crossing the streams is very dangerous due to slickness, powerful waterflow, and deep streams.

2 months ago

This was an amazing hike, challenging, slippery, but so much fun. We went the wrong wY and climbed down all three waterfalls. One of the best hikes so far!

2 months ago

We did this last year. It was great. Thanks Scott.

hiking
2 months ago

I went up anti-clockwise, passing all the waterfalls. I started very late in the day, around 2:30 pm and by the time I finished the loop via the ridge back down to my car it was already 6:30. The going was very slow due to the amount of mud along the way ( in fact the entire trail is muddy except for the waterfall part ). Very good cardio workout and i sweat a lot due to the high humidity we are facing over the islands these past few days. Its best to do this hike early in the day in case something goes wrong. Not a good idea to be hiking in the dark and it gets very dark fast esp in the valley. In general, the trail has deteriorated a lot over the years from exessive usage.

Tip: Use a light traction device like microspikes or chainsen for added traction due to the very muddy slick conditions. It helps a lot.

2 months ago

This is a classic gorge hike i.e. multi-tiered interconnected falls that amass to hundreds of feet longer in distance to any other waterfall on the island. It makes manoa and lulumahu falls look like coy pond fountains. However , it is super easy to get lost and I learned the hard way what trails can completely to bypass the tricky, slippery descents ect. This trail is easy to only give lost with multiple divergent paths and the all trails app only shows general direction. I need to redo this hike tomorrow morning 7 am to reclaim my trekking poles and do the ridge portion. The falls are great right now and the path is moderately muddy but should dry up even more by tomorrow morning. If you plan on hiking this email me at justindavidsands@gmail.com. If it is on a different date I can possibly meet but depending on if I work that night I may have to do a turnaround after the falls. I have hiked dozens of trails here and this is the mist challenging when it comes to navigating but is 100% epic and totally worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Not recommended for beginners or the faint of heart. This was one awesome hike with three waterfalls and a great 360 of the island. Tricky at some parts during the summit, but worth the sweat.

2 months ago

Monday, 24 September 2018

2 months ago

This was such an amazing hike, we went the wrong way, ended up going down the waterfalls instead of up. So happy there were ropes and vines to hold onto. It was very muddy, but well worth it!

3 months ago

About 5 hours. Can get confusing. So read up a bit before you go. Nice emerald amphitheater at the top

hiking
3 months ago

Waterfalls, streams, ridge hiking, diamond head views and a hike around Ka’au crater itself. What’s not to love.
My favorite hike so far in Hawaii. I highly recommend climbing the waterfalls vs coming down them. This whole hike is a loop if you want it to be. We went up the waterfalls, around the crater to the right and then back down the ridge.
Use the all trails app so you don’t accidentally go backwards. We passed probably 6-8 groups of people that wanted to hike up the falls but took a wrong turn.
This place is always wet. Don’t worry about getting your shoes wet, it’s going to happen. As soon as you give into that, the easier and faster you will go.
There are 3 water falls you get to climb up over or around. The first two are tall drops. The third waterfall is very very long, a few hundred feet tall but a cascading waterfall not a drop. This waterfall you will cross multiple times.

Once you get to the top of the 3rd waterfall, you can start the crater hike if you like. Go right. If you want to take the ridge back, stay left.

The crater hike gets very steep and very slippery if wet. There are multiple sections that have nearly been washed out and need probably 70% rope/ weight usage. You will get dirty and it will probably rain on you. I loved it. The clouds came in and covered us about 50ft from the top, so most of the time we had and excellent views.

There is a small section when crossing from one peak to the other around the crater that is about 1 ft wide and drops off both sides. Look for this area and be careful if it is raining.

hiking
3 months ago

Muddy but enjoyable. Does require comfort with climbing with ropes. We loved it but our friend who is afraid of heights struggled.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely Beautiful and fun hike. Many river crossing, muddy trail, and crossing waterfalls. Can be very slippery and dangerous especially when it’s raining or after rain. Was very cold and windy on the top.

3 months ago

Jig injuries Debbie’s O’ahu debris omr kL
On U cute a wxzw dumb m me

hiking
3 months ago

Climbed waterfalls, slid down muddy trails on backside due to rain at peak! Great hike.

hiking
3 months ago

If you’re looking for an adventure then this is for you! You will go through 3 waterfalls and see a beautiful view of the crater. I will warn you that this hike is not for the weak minded. This hike will take patience and physical strength. Pack tons of water and electrolytes (snacks) but try to pack lightly. You will get down and dirty as the trail is ALL muddy. Ladies... try not to wear shorts. Some of the plants are sharp and can cut your beautiful legs. It took me and my girls about 5 hours to complete this trail. That’s with stopping at all of the waterfalls and taking in God’s beautiful creation. Get in the water! Definitely worth it! Another important tip, this trail is extremely slippery. If can bring hiking shoes. I wore my Nike’s which had ZERO traction and I slipped a handful of times. And please... be careful. It’s not a competition. Try to take your time and just enjoy the nature!

3 months ago

one of the best hikes of my life. best of all worlds: waterfalls, crater, summit, creek bed, and everything in between.

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